What Is ABET?
ABET stands for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. As stated on their website, ABET is “a not for profit, non-governmental accrediting agency for programs in applied and natural science, computing, engineering and engineering technology and we are recognized as an accreditor by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation... ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards of the profession for which that program prepares graduates.”
Why Is This Important?
Companies looking to hire new graduates in engineering fields may look to see if the school the applicant is graduating from has the ABET accreditation. The accreditation gives them a better understanding of the curriculum of the applicant's program. This will help gauge whether the applicant has the skills required to do the job they are looking to fill and will be able to meet current and future needs. ABET has high standards in place that the institution must meet and maintain for their program to have ABET accreditation.
From the student's perspective, ABET accreditation ensures that the curriculum at that school meets the current standards of the industry. The student can be reassured that they will be taught the background and skills necessary to compete in that profession today and in the future. ABET accreditation is recognized world wide. ABET also states that licensing, certification and registration in a technical profession often requires graduation from an ABET accredited program as a minimum qualification. In addition, choosing an ABET accredited program helps to establish your eligibility for many federal grants, loans or scholarships.
Do All Engineering Schools Have ABET Accreditation for all their programs?
No. The accreditation is voluntary. Schools are not required to do this. In addition, the agency accredits programs, not institutions. It is possible for a school to be accredited in one program of study, but not all of their engineering programs.
Should ABET Accreditation Determine Your College Choice?
ABET accreditation should not be the only criteria used to decide which colleges to look at. Many schools have quality programs, but not the official designation, and may be a better fit overall for you. The process to get licensed in a technical field is not hinged on whether you graduate from an ABET accredited program. There are other requirements that can be used instead of it. The accreditation can just speed up the process. In addition, there are many educational programs currently undergoing the process for ABET certification, but haven't reached it yet. One would expect the programs working toward ABET certification to be structured to follow ABET requirements as they are going through the process. A degree from that program will have the benefits of ABET accreditation once it is attained, in some cases even if it is after the fact. In short, ABET accreditation is just one of the things to consider when choosing a college for a degree in engineering.
To find out if a school you are considering is ABET accredited, check out this link for the ABET website. https://amspub.abet.org/aps/name-search?searchType=institution