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Academic Standards


Academic standards at colleges and universities help ensure high-quality graduates ready to contribute to the occupational safety and health professionals and to help elevate the value of the profession overall.

Why Academic Standards Matter to the Safety Profession

Education is the basis of all professions. Education standards define the intellectual and practice scope of a profession. University and college programs rooted in objective, unbiased, science-based approaches translate into well-run, effective and measurable occupational safety and health (OSH) management systems for businesses. When business leaders see proof that safety and health programs contribute to the sustainability of their organization through enhanced productivity and competitive advantage, it elevates the OSH profession — reinforcing the value of workplace safety and health and the need for qualified individuals to spearhead OSH efforts.

Read "Model Curriculum" PSJ article

How ASSP Contributes to Academic Standards

We know organizations will only see real returns on their investments in workplace safety and health if they engage in evidence-based OSH approaches like risk assessment and prevention through design. That’s why ASSP has helped develop safety and health curriculum guidelines for university programs that integrate these concepts, among others — ensuring higher education keeps the OSH profession relevant within the business community.

ASSP Safety and Health Curriculum Guidelines 

We have worked with AIHA to develop guidelines to help universities development safety and health curricula. These outcomes-based criteria suggest baccalaureate safety and health programs must demonstrate through assessment that their graduates are competent in the following seven knowledge domains:

  1. Evidence-based practices
  2. Professional communication
  3. Risk assessment
  4. Business systems
  5. Informatics
  6. Leadership
  7. Professionalism
View our detailed guidelines

Why Accreditation Matters

Accreditation is critical factor that prospective students should consider when selecting a degree program. Choosing an institution with inadequate or no accreditation could jeopardize a student’s financial aid, transfer of credit, and even job or graduate school prospects. Institutional accreditation (that is, for a college or a university) is awarded regionally (usually considered as more rigorous) or nationally. Program accreditation involves evaluation of academic programs meant to help a student enter a specific profession.

Any program you are considering should be at an institution accredited by a Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)-recognized accreditor.

ASSP helps define the standards for safety and health program accreditation through its relationship with ABET Inc. Several safety-technology-related programs are also accredited by The Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE). 

Find an accredited OSH degree program

The Importance of Program Accreditation

Program accreditation indicates a professional academic program has been subjected to rigorous external review. It is the highest accolade an academic program can achieve, and is a universal signal about the quality of the faculty, institution and curriculum. This is a benefit to employers who want to hire competent and appropriately trained and educated professionals, and to students looking to attend the best programs, When organizations hire competent, ethical OSH practitioners, society also benefits.

ASSP works with ABET to accredit safety and health programs through ABET’s Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission. We also works with AIHA through ABET to review and determine criteria for environmental health and safety programs. As noted, ATMAE also accredits several safety technology programs.

Programs that adopt ASSP's safety and health curriculum guidelines are well positioned to apply for — and upon successful peer review — receive ABET program accreditation.

Learn about ABET accreditation


ASSP connects you to resources to identify high-quality academic programs that address the core fundamentals of the OSH profession. We can also help you put your institution on the path to accreditation.

Other Questions?

Please contact ASSP’s Professional Affairs staff.

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