In Australia, professional accreditation of entry to practice engineering programs is the responsibility of Engineers Australia, and is normally carried out on a five-yearly cycle.
Accreditation ensures academic institutions consistently meet national and international benchmarks, and engineering graduates of an accredited program are assured membership with Engineers Australia at the relevant career grade, and enjoy reciprocal privileges by equivalent professional bodies overseas.
Countries such as the USA, United Kingdom, Hong Kong (SAR), New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and others that are co-signatories to international agreements on joint recognition offer international recognition.
The Washington Accord, the Sydney Accord and the Dublin Accord recognise the substantial equivalence of accreditation systems and accredited programs across international boundaries at the Professional Engineer, Engineering Technologist and Engineering Associate levels respectively. The link to International Engineering Alliance (IEA) can be found at www.ieagreements.org.
One consolidated list of currently accredited and previously accredited programs at the level of Professional Engineer, Engineering Technologist and Engineering Associate are available below. The Professional Engineering list indicates the adoption of Bachelor Honours degree titles, which are part of the revised Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) that came into effect in 2015. As an outcome of the AQF, the “Honours” title is embedded in the program title and is not a separately conferred merit based distinction.
The dates quoted in the listings are cohort commencement dates. Thus, for a currently accredited program, study must have commenced during or after the commencement year quoted. For a previously accredited program (defined as no longer offered by the provider), study must have commenced within the inclusive range of years quoted.
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The primary objectives of the accreditation process are the maintenance of internationally benchmarked standards, the promotion and dissemination of best practice and the stimulation of innovation and diversity in engineering education.
Assessment of any particular academic program for accreditation is based on the following criteria:
- the teaching and learning environment;
- the structure and content of the program; and
- the quality assurance framework.
A generic framework for developing specific education outcomes for programs is provided in the generic attributes requirement of the Engineers Australia Accreditation Policy, and more specifically in the Stage 1 Competency Standards. The generic attributes recognise the broad nature of professional engineering practice in today's world.
The accreditation process does not prescribe detailed program objectives or content, but requires engineering education providers to have in place their own mechanisms for validating outcomes and continually improving quality.
Accreditation does, however, judge the appropriateness of educational objectives and targeted graduate capabilities, the integrity of the educational design and review processes and the means employed to deliver and monitor outcomes.
The Stage 1 Competency Standards were revised over the period 2009-2011 and approved by the Council of Engineers Australia in February 2011. A further minor revision was approved by Council in February 2013.
The Stage 1 Competency Standards define the competencies required to commence practice in each of the occupational categories of Professional Engineer, Engineering Technologist and Engineering Associate (Technician). These standards also provide the reference for the assessment of entry to practice for those with a qualification not accredited within Australia or recognised by the relevant international accord.
- Introduction and background to the Stage 1 Competency Standards
- Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Professional Engineer
- Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Engineering Technologist
- Stage 1 Competency Standard for the Engineering Associate
Engineers Australia has developed two documented accreditation management systems setting out policy, criteria and guidelines for the accreditation of engineering education programs at the level of:
- Professional Engineer;
- Engineering Technologist; and
- Engineering Associate (Competency Based)
- Engineering Associates (Curriculum Based)
These Accreditation Management Systems defining documents are intended as a resource for engineering education providers in the processes of planning, educational design, program review and continuous quality improvement. They are also intended to provide explicit guidance for the development of submission documentation in preparation for an accreditation visit.
The Accreditation Management System provides the definitive criteria, assessment and reporting framework for evaluation panels engaged in the accreditation process and for the Engineers Australia Accreditation Board in the process of decision making at the level of:
Accreditation involves an evaluation of undergraduate engineering education programs offered by universities and other educational providers and a judgment against designated criteria set down in accordance with the Engineers Australia accreditation policy. Consideration of engineering programs for accreditation is at the request of the specific educational institution and is not obligatory.
An accredited engineering education program is judged as providing satisfactory preparation for graduates to enter the profession in the appropriate career category and to gain admission to Engineers Australia in the grade of graduate Professional Engineer, Graduate Engineering Technologist or Graduate Engineering Associate.
Graduates of currently accredited programs are deemed to satisfy the Stage 1 National Generic Competency Standards defined by Engineers Australia for those commencing a professional career of engineering practice.
By providing an internationally benchmarked standard for judgment of undergraduate engineering education programs, the accreditation process publicly assures the competence of graduates and provides a guarantee of standing that is independent of the education provider.
This benchmarked reference is vital for educational providers, potential students, graduates and employers.
Accreditation is also a critical component of certification to governments, industry and licensing bodies.
The accreditation process and criteria provide a statement to governments and universities of the essential requirements and resources necessary for providing a program of engineering education.
Accreditation provides a basis for international comparability and reciprocal recognition, facilitating the mobility of engineering graduates.
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