When my students ask me about what IACET is and what being an Accredited Provider (AP) means I usually start with a conversation about transparency. IACET providers intentionally inform students about several key aspects of a course before ever setting foot in the classroom. Sometimes, awarding IACET CEUs is attractive to students who are looking to apply their CEUs to an advanced degree program as well as those who just want the peace of mind that the course they are paying to attend issues CEUs recognized by a governing third party. In reality, at least with regards to our students—who are mostly degreed professionals seeking professional development— these two factors are rarely ever encountered. In our experience, it does not seem that students seeking professional development find our status as an Accredited Provider to be critical, in other words, it’s not a deal breaker for them, although it should be. What I tell students, as consumers of education, is that IACET accreditation provides transparency from the provider to the student and demonstrates a high quality continuing education program that meets the IACET standard for professional training.
As an IACET Accredited Provider we are required to list the experience level of the instructor, student learning resources (what equipment will be used during the course), the necessary requirements to receive a student transcript, the expected learning outcomes, collect program evaluation forms for continuous improvement from each student who completes our course, and provide IACET with evidence that student feedback is considered in a meaningful way. Becoming an IACET AP is a rigorous endeavor that forces training providers to develop and execute quality training that is reviewed and monitored by IACET to ensure alignment with IACET’s reputation for excellence. For these reasons, the IACET approved CEU is the hallmark of quality in the training community, and complying with their standards provides a framework to deliver high quality training programs. Since becoming an Accredited Provider, I have begun to key-in on these important elements of transparency when evaluating course offerings from non-approved IACET providers. These unaccredited providers often leave out an instructor’s bio, or an adequate listing of the student’s learning resources. Imagine carving out a week of your time, paying course fees and travel expenses only to find out that your training provider is not using the most current equipment, software, analytical methods, or even worse, has not practiced in their field of expertise for many years. At this point you can only hope for the best and try to make the most out of a less than ideal situation. Students seeking professional development are making an important purchase, while also investing time away from the office, family, and friends. Knowing what kinds of questions to ask your training provider can help students make an informed decision regarding their training. Understanding the importance of IACET Accreditation helps students make informed decisions about the training they are purchasing.
Positioning Your Company for Opportunities
What about the benefits beyond those of transparency for your students, what about your business as a whole, how can being an IACET AP position your organization for unique training opportunities with other organizations? Knowledge has become a most important resource, and requires training providers to continually develop in an effort to remain viable in an ever increasing competitive landscape. Beyond the benefit to those seeking professional development, the reputation associated with IACET accreditation opens up potential collaboration opportunities between training partners. As an IACET AP your organization is favorably positioned for collaboration opportunities among grant solicitations, academic cooperative agreements, and requests for proposals within a wide variety of government entities who seek excellence in training programs. Many such programs encourage partnerships with private groups and organizations who can deliver specialized training within the context of a generalized group such as the National Science Foundation. The reassurance that an IACET accredited Accredited Provider can deliver a quality training program definitely increases the odds that your program will win a competitive training opportunity over providers who lack such a certification, and commitment to excellence.
Charles A. Zona, Vice President & Dean
Hooke College of Applied Sciences, LLC