SH&E Degree Accreditation Facts

At the February 12, 2005 Society Board of Directors meeting the Board unanimously approved a motion regarding the Society's position on accreditation of institutions of higher education. This Society position statement (see below) highlights the importance of educational rigor and quality, which noted accreditations help to substantiate.

In addition to the information contained in this position statement, potential students, members and the public should also look at the U.S. Department of Education website as well as the State of Oregon website. Both of these websites offer additional information for those wanting to confirm a particular institution or program meets accreditation standards.


Questions regarding the quality and integrity of safety degree programs offered by institutions of higher education are frequently directed to the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). The ASSE Educational Standards Committee is aware of this issue and developed the following position for the Society regarding safety programs:


It is the position of the American Society of Safety Engineers that the public should be aware that institutions of higher education should be recognized by the United States Department of Education through the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and accreditation bodies recognized by CHEA. This institutional recognition will be in one of two ways:

Institutional Accreditation

  1. Colleges and universities may be regionally accredited by one of numerous regional bodies recognized by CHEA. Regional accrediting bodies accredit public and private, nonprofit and for-profit two- and four-year institutions. This is a comprehensive review of all institutional functions.
  2. Colleges and universities may be nationally accredited by a national body recognized by CHEA. National accrediting bodies accredit public and private, nonprofit and for-profit institutions, frequently single purpose institutions, including distance learning colleges and universities, private career institutions and faith-based colleges and universities.

Institutional accreditation serves the following purposes:
a. It assures a level of quality.

b. It is required for student access to certain federal funds such as student aid.

c. It eases transfer. At the time of this writing (1/05), many regionally accredited colleges and universities will only accept transfer credit or admission to graduate school from students from regionally accredited colleges or universities.

d. It engenders employer confidence.

Program-Specific Accreditation

In addition to regional and national accreditation CHEA also recognizes specialized and professional accrediting bodies that accredit schools or specific programs including law, engineering, medical, and safety. Program accreditation is a process normally taking place in addition to accreditation of the institution. Program accreditation also assures a level of quality and serves to engender employer confidence in the educational content of the program and its delivery. ASSE has worked through the Applied Science Accreditation Commission (ASAC) of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technologies (ABET) to establish outcomes for graduates of ABET-accredited safety programs within accredited colleges and universities.

Please review the websites at for information about accreditation in general and at for information about ABET program accreditation.

The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) founded in 1911, is a global non-profit organization, dedicated to advancing the safety, health, and environmental (SH&E) profession and advancing the technical, scientific, managerial, and ethical knowledge and skills of occupational safety, health, and environmental professionals.

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