ABET Accreditation

Hey all. I’ve read some other discussions on here regarding the importance of ABET Accreditation as it pertains to engineering majors. My question is this…if I complete my Associate’s at a non-accredited school, and my Bachelor’s at an accredited school, what affect will that have on me? Will my accredited Bachelors portion of study carry more weight than my non-accredited Associate’s?

If your bachelor’s program/major is ABET accredited, then you are fine for any situation where ABET accreditation of your degree matters. Note: ABET accredits specific programs/majors at the school, not the school.

Many students start at community colleges and then transfer to four year schools to complete ABET accredited engineering degrees.

I understand what you’re saying, let me rephrase my question. If I take my associates at a school whose program is NOT accredited, what are the chances that a school whose program IS accredited will accept my associates credits from the NON accredited program? I dont want to risk wasting 2 years only to find that a different school will not recognize my credits due to the fact that the program was not accredited.

You will have to reach out to each target school and ask about transfer credits. Many schools have transfer admissions officers who will look at your courses and make a predetermination of transferability.

Does your CC have articulation agreements with any 4 year ABET accredited programs? If so that would be an important consideration, and a good place to start.

Good luck.

“reach out to each target school and ask about transfer credits”

This is really important because even in a state like Ohio that has TAG courses (transfer assurance guidelines that ensure credits are transferable between Ohio publics for completion of general education requirements) there can be departments that do not award major credit or combine or divide requirements differently and courses need to be repeated even if the institution awards a general education credit. For engineering programs that require an application to major after matriculation there may be minimum credit requirements to be earned at that school to get into the major.

Nobody cares about your associates (or even if you earned one) once you have your bachelors. Transfer as soon as it is feasible.

If you spend two years at a community college completing GE’s you won’t have a very balanced schedule when you begin your engineering coursework. And your gpa doesn’t transfer so maintaining a good gpa is very difficult. Plus the course credit hours in engineering aren’t necessarily reflective of how much time is needed to do well.

Actually, your question really doesn’t have anything to do with ABET. If you’re transferring to a university, I assume the classes you’re taking are your general education requirements, right? Such as english, history, math, etc? Is that the bulk of your classes for your associates? If so, you’re fine because ABET doesn’t apply to general education requirements. It only applies to engineering and even those will still transfer if the university has an agreement with the CC. ABET accredits the program as a whole, not specific classes.

If you have an associates specifically in engineering and you HAVEN’T taken your general education classes, then you have a problem. Universities don’t accept vocational associates degrees. You’d have to start your bachelors degree from the ground-up.

A four year school may have an articulation agreement or transfer credit listing showing what courses at your community college are considered equivalent to its own courses. If so, you can choose courses before transfer to cover major preparation and general education so that you will not be behind (or too far behind) after transfer. Such listings are most common between community colleges and same state public universities.

If not, equivalency is typically only determined after matriculation, which can be risky, although you can guess what is likely to be needed and transferable (e.g. calculus, multivariable calculus, linear algebra, differential equations, the calculus based physics sequence, often chemistry, English composition, general education).

If you want more specific help, you may want to say which state you are in and what community college you are attending.

There are two questions being discussed here. The answer depends upon what you are going to take for your Associate’s degree in the community college. If you are attending the community college just for general education and the foundation science courses (e.g., calculus, physics, chemistry, humanities, GE liberal arts requirements, etc.), and not engineering courses ABET accreditation of the community college program is not a factor. ABET accredits only engineering programs within a school, not the school itself or its non-engineering or general education program. Many - or most- universities will accept transfer credits from community colleges that are regionally accredited as an institutional whole by the regional accreditation agency serving that particular state (e.g., Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges, Western States Association, etc.), which are the same regional accrediting agencies of the universities in their regions. Most community colleges are regionally accredited (I’ve never seen one that was not, but you should still check).

If you are taking an engineering Associate’s degree in a community college, then ABET accreditation of that CC’s engineering program is important. Many universities will not accept engineering courses from a non-ABET accredited program as transfer equivalents of its own courses. Many, but not all, community colleges have ABET accredited Associate level engineering programs. Be sure to check with the CC as to its ABET accreditation status for the particular engineering program in which you are interested.

In both cases, be sure to verify with the 4-year school(s) to which you plan to transfer that they will accept the Associate degree courses from the CC as transfer equivalents. In the case of public universities, many have transfer or articulation agreements with community colleges in their state that guarantee transfer of the 60 credits of an engineering associate’s degree. Some private universities may also have articulation agreements, but that is less common than with public universities. That is another thing to check, which schools have articulation agreements. The agreement usually mandates that you achieve a certain minimum GPA and grades in the core science and engineering courses in the CC for the courses to transfer.

If you are planning to start in a CC for engineering, I strongly recommend you start in the engineering program of the CC, not in a general education or a non-engineering associate’s program. That will provide the most transfer credit opportunity, and you will satisfy the fundamental freshman and sophomore science and engineering coursework of the four year school immediately starting as a junior in the four year school.

Another poster stated that universities will not accept vocational associate’s degrees as transfer equivalents. This is true in general. The CC in which I used to teach has a Engineering Science program which awards an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree which is ABET accredited. It also has an Engineering Technology program and an electronics and manufacturing technology program offering an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. The four year schools with which the CC has articulation agreements for the engineering program specifically state that the A.S. degree in Engineering Science is the only one that is acceptable for transfer to the Engineering program.

To reiterate, it is very important to check with the prospective four year school as to what courses they will accept as transfer from the CC you plan to attend. If there is no articulation agreement, the decision to transfer credits is usually made on a case by case basis by the four year school.

When you are checking with the 4-year, make sure you understand the progression (pre-requisite sequencing) of classes, not just counting up credit hours. A student can easily think they are halfway through a program because they have 60 credits and Junior standing, but actually be more than 4 semesters away from obtaining their degree.

If the program you are looking at doesn’t have a good flow chart then you’ll have to build one yourself so you understand exactly how your credits transferring in fit into the progression. Your flow chart will also help you prioritize which classes are most important to schedule.

And be sure to check the 4-year program you plan to attend regularly for policy changes.

Here are a couple samples for Mechanical Engineering:
Utah’s https://mech.utah.edu/files/2016/05/Visio-Flow-Chart-Engineering-Math-19-20-12.12.19-NEW.pdf
tOSU’s https://mae.osu.edu/sites/default/files/uploads/me_curriculum_map_0.pdf

^Excellent post. At one point during college, I was in a bind so they let me take a plumbing design class before taking fluid mechanics. Oof, not a good idea, ha.

It can’t be overstated, a flow chart is but one way to make it through a curriculum. You don’t want to get fouled up like @MaineLonghorn did by making a mistake, but you don’t want to be rigid either. In fact, getting off the path can be useful. My son found a very helpful way to visualize this. He printed a flowchart and then used colored pencils to draw in all the prerequisite paths. One, it helps to not miss a class that would delay progress, but two, it illuminates classes that aren’t tied to any prerequisite background. He took some of those much earlier than the chart indicated and some much later.

This looks like it has an 8-semester prerequisite sequence, unless the student can start in a more advanced math course with AP credit:

MATH 1151 → MATH 1172 → MATH 2173 → MATH 2174 + MECHENG 2850.01 → MECHENG 3670 → MECHENG 3671 → MECHENG 4900 + MECHENG 490X.01 → MECHENG 490X.02

Exactly. My D started at a community college that has an accredited ‘Engineering Technology’ degree. Her advisor there told her to move on to the 4-year as soon as possible. Other than the TAG GEs they had nothing for her except the first Calculus course. If she had completed the Associates there, she would have had 7 more semesters to go.