Fire Protection Degree Receives ABET Accreditation

Published on August 20, 2015

Eastern Kentucky University’s bachelor’s degree program in Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology (FPSET) has been accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the global accreditor of college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

The FPSET degree is offered online and on-campus, making it the first ABET-accredited online program, and only the third fire protection engineering technology program in the nation to receive such distinction.

Officials say ABET accreditation assures that programs meet standards to produce graduates ready to enter critical technical fields that are leading the way in innovation and emerging technologies, and anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.

“We are honored that ABET has accredited our FPSET degree,” said Dr. Victor Kappeler, dean of the College. “This highly prestigious accreditation has many benefits for the students pursuing this degree.”

Those benefits include direct entry into a technical profession and continued professional growth in the field through the many licensure, registration and certification programs that require graduation from an ABET-accredited program as a minimum qualification. The ability to take the Fundamentals of Engineering exam for eventual licensure as a professional engineering is one such example. 

Sought worldwide, ABET’s voluntary peer-review process is highly respected, officials say, because it adds critical value to academic programs in the technical disciplines, where quality, precision, and safety are of the utmost importance.

“Having an ABET-accredited program at EKU is great news for the fire protection profession as it provides assurance that the program meets the quality standards of our profession,” said Chris Jelenewicz, PE, FSFPE, senior manager for engineering practice with the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. “It also reinforces that fact that EKU graduates will continue to have a solid educational foundation and the tools needed to be the future leaders of our profession.”

Developed by technical professionals from ABET’s member societies, ABET criteria focus on what students experience and learn. ABET accreditation reviews look at program curricula, faculty, facilities, and institutional support and are conducted by teams of highly skilled professionals from industry, academia, and government, with expertise in the ABET disciplines.

“Professionals that go on to achieve their Professional Engineering licensure see a 20 percent increase in their median compensation,” said Greg Gorbett, program coordinator and associate professor at EKU’s College of Justice & Safety. “The median compensation for fire protection engineers as of 2014 was $110,000 and as such, is a lucrative and rewarding profession.”

ABET is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. It currently accredits almost 3,500 programs at nearly 700 colleges and universities in 28 countries.

More information about ABET, its member societies, and the accreditation criteria used to evaluate programs can be found at Official recognition of EKU’s degree program will be on the website effective October 1.  

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This accreditation adds to the longstanding accreditations of the various degrees in the EKU Fire Protection Program by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and EKU’s regional accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, both of which are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education’s Council for Higher Education Accreditation. Eastern Kentucky University is an accredited, brick-and-mortar institution celebrating more than 100 years of student success.