Why Accreditation?

How Program Accreditation Makes a Difference

Validation

Program accreditation puts a stamp of approval on graduates: graduating from an accredited program indicates that graduates are expected to be ready to practice at a certain level.

Improvement

Accreditation provides educational programs with opportunities for self-definition and self-reflection, and with feedback on program content and direction.

Guidance

Accreditation affords the opportunity for continuous improvement of educational programs within institutions.


Demonstratable Standards

Program accreditation protects the interests of students, their parents, the academic institutions that offer the accredited programs, potential employers, and the general public by ensuring that the educational programs offered have attained a level that meets or exceeds standards that were developed by experts in the field. While accreditation does not ensure that every graduating student will become a successful professional, it does guarantee that the student has demonstrated a certain set of skills and abilities that are reflected in the accreditation criteria. It is not a sufficient condition for professional success, but in some disciplines it serves as a necessary condition.

Stakeholder Implications

When an accreditation body – such as ABET Inc. in the United States or JABEE in Japan – determines that a program complied with its criteria, that body grants it an accreditation credential. This credential is of interest to the following constituencies of higher educational institutions and programs: 

Who Benefits from Accreditation?

Why Accreditation Matters for Current Students and Graduates

Students use the accreditation credential to introduce their educational background to employers and to programs in other schools. They use the credential to satisfy entry requirements or gain advantage over applicants from non-accredited programs.

Why Accreditation Matters for Prospective Students

Prospective students use the accreditation status of a program/institution as a factor in their decision whether to enroll. An accredited program is almost always preferred to an unaccredited program. In areas where several accrediting bodies operate, the reputation of the accrediting body that has approved a program may become an important factor in student enrollment decisions.

Why Accreditation Matters for Professionals and Professional Societies

Professional societies use the accreditation process in order to assure relevance of the curriculum in their fields of interest. They do so by participating in the process of setting the standard for accreditation, by encouraging professionals to serve as accreditation program evaluators and by supporting accrediting bodies financially. In some countries the professional societies established the accrediting bodies and still control them. 

Why Accreditation Matters for Licensing Bodies

Licensing bodies often seek a mechanism to guarantee that individuals who present themselves to licensing body examination have had the necessary educational background. This background would encourage the future licensed engineers to practice in a manner that is consistent with the safety and welfare of the public, as well as with accepted professional norms. In many jurisdictions, licensing bodies address this objective by requiring that potential licensed professionals come only from programs accredited by recognized accrediting bodies. 

Why Accreditation Matters for Employers

Employers seek efficiency in the process of hiring and in training new employees. Often they find that by restricting hiring to graduates of accredited programs, they are able to recruit, on average, higher-quality employees than by allowing applicants from all accredited and non-accredited programs. Multinational corporations often resort to accreditation as a factor in hiring. This is especially true especially in new labor markets where the corporation may not have sufficient experience with graduates of various academic programs.

Why Accreditation Matters for Government Agencies

Some governments use program accreditation as a selection criterion of employment candidates. The government prefers graduates of accredited programs in roles that involve public infrastructure, standardization, and R&D. By hiring graduates of accredited programs, the government ensures that it may require them in the future to become licensed.  

Why Accreditation Matters for Professional Engineers

TO COME.....ave advantage in governmental decisions on public funding of research or educational infrastructure. The government often funds schools with accredited programs before it would accredit schools with unaccredited programs. In some cases, accreditation affects broader policy matters such as approving entry visas for out-of-country students who wish to enroll in a graduate academic program inside the country.

Why Accreditation Matters for Other Schools and Programs

Academic programs, especially graduate programs, require that applicants demonstrate sufficient academic background to warrant admission, and therefore tend to prefer students who graduated from accredited programs over other students.