Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by deltondm, Aug 26, 2009.
How good is an unaccredited program from a regionally accredited college?
How does that happen? If the college is regionally accredited, then the programs are accredited.
A program can be regionally accredited, yet simultanously "unaccredited", if you mix up regional accreditation (RA) and professional accreditation (PA). Perhaps that's the issue here.
Sometimes a regionally-accredited college or university will have a specific program that lacks the associated form of professional accreditation (PA). In this case, the program in question will be "accredited" (in terms of general regional accreditation) and yet at the same time "unaccredited" (in terms of specific professional accreditation).
Professional accreditation is vital in some fields, and totally optional in others. So the value of an RA-accredited/PA-unaccredited degree varies accordingly. The absence of PA could be a severe handicap, or it might make no real difference, depending on the field.
One such school that fits into CalDog's premise is Concord Law School which has RA, but not PA by the American Bar Association. Concord's lack of ABA accreditation "severely handicaps" it's students because most States require applicants to have an ABA law degree before they can sit for the Bar exam.
Depends on the field/discipline. If said field/discipline has PA requirements--like psychology, nursing, and other professional fields--then PA can be vital. For other academic disciplines, like business, not so much.
The specific case is with Excelsior College. They have RA.
Their Electronics and Nuclear engineering programs are accredited by Technology Accreditation Commission (TAC) of ABET, see https://www.excelsior.edu/Excelsior_College/About/Accreditation
Their Information Technology program is not mentioned. What should I think?
As a point of clarification, you are interested in Excelsior's Information Technology program, but it is not programmatically-accredited by ABET or any other accrediting body. Is that correct?
Thats correct Dave
ABET is best known for professional accreditation of engineering programs. Traditional engineering programs typically do have ABET/EAC accreditation, and an engineering degree without such accreditation could be a liability. Incidentally, the Excelsior programs are actually "technology" programs (not "engineering" programs), and are accredited separately by ABET/TAC.
But the situation is quite different in computer science and information technology. ABET also offers professional accreditation (known as ABET/CAC) in these fields. But it has relatively little real-world value. Many well-known schools -- not just Excelsior -- have no professional accreditation for their CS or IT programs.
The CS/IT field is essentially unregulated. So professional accreditation has zero value as far as state licensure is concerned. It's not perceived as particularly valuable by employers or grad schools either.
For example, you can search for ABET-accredited IT programs at the ABET website. There must be hundreds of IT programs nationwide, yet there are only nine programs that are ABET-accredited in IT.
ABET professional accreditation is vital in a field like civil engineering, which is heavily regulated. But it is not important at all in IT. I would bet that the vast majority of IT professionals have never been asked whether their degrees are ABET accredited.
I understand what you are saying. Thanks for the explanation, much appreciated.
You might ask in the "IT and computer-related degrees forum" of degreeinfo if the ABET "seal of approval" adds any particular value to a CS or IT degee. But I would bet that the answer is "no". There are, of course, many certifications that do have value in this field, but I'm guessing that ABET/CAC professional accreditation is not one of them.
Finally, don't forget that any Excelsior degree is RA, regardless of whether or not it has applicable PA.
Will check that forum, and thanks again
Since ABET only recognizes 9 Information Technology programs
Brigham Young University
University of Cincinnati
East Tennessee State University
Georgia Southern University
University of Missouri-Kansas City
Purdue University at West Lafayette
Rochester Institute of Technology
University of South Alabama
United States Naval Academy
It may not be all that critical right now.
Separate names with a comma.