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GeoP

ABET Accreditation Unlawful/Unjust Cutoff Date

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I graduated from the UK with an honors degree in 1988.  Since residing in the US I have experienced difficulties progressing my career as a direct result of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) unfair and unjust cut-off date for accrediting graduates.

ABET with other signatories setup the accreditation system under the Washington Accord in 1989, which happens to be one year after I graduated.  My degree is accredited in the UK by the Engineering Council; ironically they were one of the signatories who together with ABET set up the Washington Accord.  It beggars belief that ABET has intentionally left earlier graduates out of the accreditation process...makes me wonder who they are protecting because it can’t be the employers after eliminating thousands of experienced engineers!  So who is it they protected when they excluded all those before 1989?  ABET would have reasonably known that immigrants of earlier graduation years will be arriving in the USA to work. ABET should have at least issued employers with an advisory explaining that their accreditation system is limited and nonexclusive, also touching on age discrimination.  Other graduates from many years before me should also be considered when a system was being set up and monopolized by an organization.

I have suffered emotionally and financially because employers incorrectly believe ABET is a fair assessor of qualifications.  I am still struggling to progress my engineering career and would like others in a similar situation to help me start a class action lawsuit.  If you know how I should go about this please let me know.  Also, do you know where else is suitable I could post this message?  Please email me on abetaction@piotha.com Thank you, George

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Welcome to EB.com! I'm sorry to hear about your situation, but I hope it improves in the future.

Please don't post the exact same post in multiple locations around the site.

Thanks!

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I am so sorry I mean to delete the others but couldn't.  Kindly correct the spelling of words Accreditation and Cut-off in the tittle.  Thank you.

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GeoP:  It is usually a good idea to join a site, engage for a bit, let people kinda get to know you, get to know the layout of the site and such then post your opinions about such topics in the relevant part of the board to generate thoughtful discussion.  When you join a site, post a long, angry rant in the introduction (and apparently other parts of the board) you immediately present yourself as a troll and will not be taken seriously and may even face moderation consequences.  Regardless, welcome.

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I appreciate the feedback.  Although I am computer savvy, you are still talking to someone who can't navigate through Facebook or Twitter.  I will take your comments on board, Thank you.

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Message to the forum Admin; is it possible you could correct my terrible typos or would you delete all my messages so that I can republish them without those errors?  Your assistance will be much appreciated.

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On 12/22/2017 at 7:47 AM, Sapper PE LS said:

GeoP:  It is usually a good idea to join a site, engage for a bit, let people kinda get to know you, get to know the layout of the site and such then post your opinions about such topics in the relevant part of the board to generate thoughtful discussion.  When you join a site, post a long, angry rant in the introduction (and apparently other parts of the board) you immediately present yourself as a troll and will not be taken seriously and may even face moderation consequences.  Regardless, welcome.

it is pretty clear from the "rant" that he is looking to get other engineers in the same situation to join a class action lawsuit. He even posted contact information to help with this.

Did you simply call him a troll to be offensive? He wasn't insulting anyone on here like you did (which is what trolls do, fyi)

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GeoP: If you care to share, please tell us more about your situation?  Is this hindering your ability to get a PE license?  What field are you in and how much experience do you have in that field?  I am only trying to understand why ABET accreditation would be such a hindrance for so long? As a young engineer, I also do not know very much about the history of the licensing and accreditation process, so I am interested to learn more.

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Hi Wade, it seems there are decent considered people here, just what I am used in our line of work.

Originally I arrived in the US in 2010 after a very long wait for immigration documents. I came with the family to fulfil a promise to my American wife who I met in the UK, so that she can be closer to her family.  Also 2010 is when I first realized that my aspiration to become a US professional engineer will be hampered because of ABET.  However, 2010 was also a bad recession year and with the response from ABET scaring me I decided to take up another job offer overseas to at least see the recession through.  I retuned in 2013 and tried again to get my degree accredited.

So a little background; in 1989 the Washing Accord was established by six signatories from six countries.  Two of them were ABET and the UK Engineering Council (UKEC).  I graduated in the UK in 1988 where we already had an accreditation system.  My degree is recognized by the UKEC who worked with ABET to set up the Accord in 1989.  After the Accord was set up my degree remained accredited, so how is it ABET won’t accredit it here in US?  This really doesn’t make sense because what about all those earlier graduates who have accreditations from their signatories?  I am presuming ABET were influenced to exclude every graduate before 1989!  Incidentally, I am also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK, which would be like being a graduate member of NCEES and is possible because my degree is accredited.  I am also a professional engineer in other regions such the Middle East where I worked for a few years.

Without the accreditation it proved difficult to find a board that allows the FE exam.  Texas though was above all the unreasonable obstacles and I will forever be indebted to them.  But, I still have to pass the FE exam at 53 years old.

I am taking this more personally than earlier because recently I received a conditional job offer from a respected state department.  The offer was not seen through once they noticed my degree is not ABET accredited.  [The problem is employers don’t realize that ABET won’t accredit graduates prior to 1989.  If they did employers would revisit their equal opportunity policies and would make provisions.  ABET should have made it clear to employers that they are not inclusive in their assessment of qualifications].   So understandably the State in question asked me for an EIT certificate in lieu of the accreditation, but I had to go through the explanation that in my case the two go hand in hand and told them about the bumps I’ve been facing.  Their HR must have thought here we go another fraud, but since then I think they realize my story is genuine and maybe even support me in some ways.  Unfortunately time is passing and I guess they gave the job to someone else.  In reality it will take me a while to produce an EIT certificate.  Had ABET accredited my degree I would be working now in that dream position, which I was very excited about. 

It does make me wonder, how many of the earlier graduates suffered at the hands of ABET.  I hope these graduates, even if they got over things now, will be in touch so together we can get justice.  I am puzzled how in a civilized society this kind of exclusion could be taking place.  I wish a lawyer out there can take on this case and show what an unreasonable and unlawful decision was made.  Also how the continued discriminating cut-off date is the cause of at least one engineer’s despair.

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GeoP, there appears to be much confusion about ABET and their accreditation.  ABET accredits the degree programs not individual people.  For graduates of foreign degree programs,  it is up to the individual licensing boards to approve you to take the exam. 

In regards to the Washington Accord it is valid when the members join the Accord. If they joined in 1989 they are under no obligation to recognize degrees issued before 1989 as being accredited.  

Regarding the job opportunity, they were probably looking for someone who already has their EIT or can obtain EIT certification within certain timeframe. ABET accreditation means nothing outside of the education and licensing boards. Employers can not discriminate against someone based on what school they went to.

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Yes, but what you are saying is just regurgitation of the existing system.  I guess you never questioned that it is an unlawful set up.  Then again if it hasn't adversely affected you why should you question the status quo.  Excuse the crude expression, but I ask that you put your foot in my shoe.

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Youngmotivatede...: in my reply to you I missed to say that ABET should have accredited my program not me as an individual.  Please have a look at my original posts again.

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GeoP,   I can imagine that that has been a frustrating road with a lot of roadblocks in between. I am not sure if you are still looking to reach your goal of becoming a professional engineer here or if you wanting to settle the score with ABET, but the latter seems like a lot of time and effort for little reward. According to the law in Texas (133.31), it would appear that if your degree is approved by the Washington Accord then it is considered an "accredited" degree.  Also, you may be eligible for an FE Exam waiver if you have the 8 years of experience.  Then all you have to do is pass the  PE exam, which is a cake walk. Just kidding about the cake walk but it is achievable.  Here is a link to the Texas laws. 10001.302 and 133.31 seem to deal with your case.  I don't know if you live in Texas, or have considered it, but it's pretty neat here. 

https://engineers.texas.gov/downloads/lawrules.pdf

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On 12/25/2017 at 5:52 PM, sayed said:

it is pretty clear from the "rant" that he is looking to get other engineers in the same situation to join a class action lawsuit. He even posted contact information to help with this.

Did you simply call him a troll to be offensive? He wasn't insulting anyone on here like you did (which is what trolls do, fyi)

Rule #2, do not insult the admin staff. And it also wasn't "pretty clear" to me either, hence the post from Sapper. The text from the post also appeared to be copy/pasted from another source here. Which typically is the result of spam generators and such. Trying to keep things tidy around here so ease up. Thank you.

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On 12/25/2017 at 6:52 PM, sayed said:

it is pretty clear from the "rant" that he is looking to get other engineers in the same situation to join a class action lawsuit. He even posted contact information to help with this.

Did you simply call him a troll to be offensive? He wasn't insulting anyone on here like you did (which is what trolls do, fyi)

Hmmm.  I felt that my response was in no way insulting.  I was simply making a point that the introduction isn't really the place to for it.  A quick perusal of your posting history tells me all I need to know about you though.  At least I didn't defraud anybody while legally stealing my home.

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Why do you think ABET is unlawful?  Even doctors from other countries do not automatically have the right to get licensed in the US - maybe you should have done a little more research before moving here?

 

I have a sister in law with a pharmacy degree from somewhere in Croatia but she cant get a license here, so she is working as a pharmacy tech while she goes back to school - which I believe is somewhat common..

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58 minutes ago, Sapper PE LS said:

Hmmm.  I felt that my response was in no way insulting.  I was simply making a point that the introduction isn't really the place to for it.  A quick perusal of your posting history tells me all I need to know about you though.  At least I didn't defraud anybody while legally stealing my home.

Not the only unethical issue he has posted on here.

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Wade, thank you again for being considerate.  I am definitely not intending to settle scores, but ABET have cost me more than just money, they are undermining my passion for being an engineer.  For as long as I am here I will always try to succeed in becoming a professional engineer so I can contribute to society just the way I have been since 1988.  Members like you only help to encourage me more.  I am merely trying to get ABET to be fair and reconsider what must be an unlawful stance.   Also, if I fail in my efforts to join the state department mentioned previously, then yes...Texas with its people is a beautiful place to be with my family.

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Road Guy:  please revisit my post.  My situation with ABET is in no way comparable to your sister's experience or the doctors you might know...thank you.

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1 minute ago, GeoP said:

Road Guy:  please revisit my post.  My situation with ABET is in no way comparable to your sister's experience or the doctors you might know...thank you.

I still don't understand how ABET is to blame for anything.  ABET does not certify programs from UK. Even so, it seems unreasonableto blame an organization from not certifying a degree you earned 30 years ago. Chances are your degree does not meet current standards which is the reason why all degrees are not grandfathered. 

I also highly doubt ABET is stopping you from a government job. The government may have a requirement for you to have EIT, PE, or be able to obtain either 1 in a certain time frame, but I've never seen someone require you to graduate from a specific college program.

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Youngo:..it was the UKEC that setup the Washington Accord with ABET plus four other signatories.  If a signatory accredits a program then ABET will accredit it too...now days there are far more than just six signatories.  My degree is accredited by the UKEC, which is one of the original signatories that set up the Accord.  My degree stayed accredited after the Accord was set up, meaning it didn't just suddenly not meet standards.   Now, why did ABET decide not to accredit thousands of graduates who have already been accredited in their own countries by professional respected signatories who took part in setting up the Accord?  Without spelling it out, who twisted ABET's arm to exclude thousands of experienced engineers, some of whom built iconic brides, skyscrapers, dams and roads around the world?  Who financially benefited from not allowing those qualified and experienced engineers to enter the US market and serve employers and the public?  It is what I hope a lawyer will find out.  Also, employers ask for ABET accreditation, but do they know that potentially they lost out on super-experienced engineers because of this requirement?  Well I know one State that didn't until I was heard.

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From what I understand, class action lawsuits will usually have a sponsor plaintiff that puts up the money for the experienced attorney, then you need at least 30 individuals who were also harmed by the defendant in the same manner. If you can find the 30 individuals you might have a shot. But it seems like you would dedicate more time and money for the lawsuit then to just re-take a portion of your college courses and get your EIT.

If you are interested in doing engineering-type work similar to your past jobs, I know many technicians that perform engineering type work in their private and public sector jobs under the direct supervision of engineers. Yes, those jobs generally offer less money, but at least it can satisfy your passion for engineering in the meantime. By the time you get your additional experience/education you can take and pass the FE and PE relatively quickly. Or at least quicker than trying to get a settlement out of ABET. Keep in mind ABET will likely spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to fight the lawsuit before they give in. Even if they settle I doubt they will change their policy. They will most likely just give you a check for the value of your assumed lower salary for the next 4 years (minus attorney fees, divided by all plaintiffs). 

Our justice system is very well designed to protect the big guys with deep pockets. It may be possible, but it takes a lot of money and time to change the tide.

 

I also believe this is very similar to other degreed/certified/licensed professionals like @Road Guy mentioned. I work with two guys that obtained their degrees 30 years ago in South America and their struggle was long and painful, but worth it to live in "Merica, drive oversized pickup trucks, and shoot guns.

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George, I made the spelling corrections you asked for.  I am also moving this thread to General Engineering as it doesn't seem to specifically relate to the PE Exam. 

A few questions....

What is it exactly that you are trying to accomplish that not having an ABET accredited degree prevents you from doing?  I ask because I know a few engineers who are (great) PEs and have no college degree. 

Also, what would it take to turn your non-accredited degree into an accredited one?  Retaking a few classes?  Retaking 20 classes?  

Have you been working in engineering since graduation?  

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11 hours ago, SE_FL said:

Our justice system is very well designed to protect the big guys with deep pockets. It may be possible, but it takes a lot of money and time to change the tide.

Sad but true with a lot of things.

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Was there some reason they chose 1988? Was there an issue with the schools in the area accreditation before then or was it just an arbitrary date?

 

Keep in mind there are US schools that are not ABET accredited also.

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