Providers of OHS professional education may apply to the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board to have their programs accredited. Accreditation recognises that the program and the learning, teaching and assessment processes meet certain standards.
Accreditation of OHS professional education became available in 2012. A review of the implementation of accreditation was conducted in 2014. The recommendations from the review were incorporated into the revised criteria to be implemented from January 2017 to align with the implementation of the new Higher Education Threshold Standards.
OHS professional education programs eligible to apply for accreditation are those at the AQF Level 7 or above (excluding graduate certificate) and can demonstrate
- OHS as defined in the OHS Body of Knowledge constitutes at least 50% of the credit points and a minimum of one year equivalent fulltime study
- Objectives and learning experiences in the program directed to the achievement of agreed student learning outcomes derived from the OHS Body of Knowledge and demonstrated through assessment performance
- A process for ongoing consultation with industry-based personnel.
Benefits of accreditation
Providers of OHS professional education with accredited programs benefit through:
- Enhanced profile, reputation and standing
- Quality improvement through self and peer assessment
- Assessment linked to TEQSA standards
- Demonstrated evidence of external benchmarking
- Use of Accredited Program Logo
- Listing of programs in on-line Accredited Program Register
- Graduates meet the requirements for certification as GradOHSProf
- Nominate students for SIA OHS Education Awards
- Increased recognition within the university and alignment with other professional programs requiring accreditation
Accreditation information applicable from January 2017
- Information pack for universities apply for accreditation, 2017
- Application pack for universities applying for accreditation, 2017
- Fee schedule for accreditation, 2017
- Comparison mapping of criteria 2012-2016 with that for 2017 (for universities applying for re-accreditation)
Principles underpinning accreditation process
The Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board is cognisant and supports the Joint Statement of Principles for Professional Accreditation agreed in 2016 by Professions Australia and Universities Australia.
The agreed principles are embodied in the principles underpinning OHS education accreditation process as detailed below.
The OHS education accreditation process is based on the following principles.
- The accreditation process acknowledges that the academic quality and program standards are the responsibility of institutions through their internal procedures for quality assurance and thus requires evidence of the operation of such mechanisms for validating program outcomes and maintaining quality improvement.
- The accreditation process recognises that each institution and each program is unique and this is to be valued. Thus the criteria for accreditation are outcome-based allowing institutions the maximum flexibility in achieving the required standards.
- The accreditation process is intended to be constructive and to respect the expertise and academic autonomy of institutions providing OHS professional education. As a corollary the institutions are expected to be open and transparent in providing all appropriate information to the accreditation process on request.
- The accreditation process will, as far as is possible, be aligned with institution and other externally required quality assurance processes with minimal complexity in the application process.
- The accreditation process will be open to external scrutiny; conducted in a consultative and consensus-building collegiate fashion, transparent and fair, and balance academic priorities with those of the OHS profession.
- The accreditation process is based on self- and peer-assessment for the purpose of publicly and openly assuring adequate standards of education and training of OHS professionals and the constant improvement of quality in OHS professional education.
- Only full programs are accredited. The accreditation does not apply to individual courses or part programs
- Completion of an accredited OHS program is deemed as providing satisfactory evidence of having completed the knowledge component of the requirements for entry-level OHS professional certification.
The criteria on which accreditation is awarded reflect the Higher Education Threshold Standard effective from January 2017. The criteria are structured under the headings of:
- Student participation and attainment
- Learning environment
- Research and research training
- (Institutional) quality assurance
- Governance and accountability
- Representation, information and information management.
Download the accreditation criteria 2017.
For the benefit of those providers transitioning to the new criteria a mapping document is provided comparing the accreditation criteria for 2017 compared with that for 2012-2016.
OHS accreditation criteria mapping
Accreditation criteria 2012-2016
Application for accreditation
Information on accreditation and program development
Briefing on accreditation and the application
The Registrar of the Accreditation Board conducts briefings for universities on the accreditation criteria, the process of accreditation and the application. These briefings are conducted individually for each university and take the form of a presentation and discussion. It is preferable that these briefings occur early in the application process. Usually attended by the program leader, lecturers, teaching and learning advisors and in some cases Head of School, all universities who have applied so far have found the sessions constructive, informative and helpful in completing the application.
This presentation is posted as resource for those universities that have received a personal briefing. Universities wishing to arrange a briefing or discuss other aspects of accreditation should contact the Registrar. Click here to email the registrar.
OHS Professional Capability statements have been developed which reflect the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) learning descriptors for each qualification level. While these capability statements describe what the graduate should be able to do when they enter the workforce they should also inform program development and design of assessment activities.
Click here to download OHS Professional Capabilities.
Body of Knowledge learning outcomes
The OHS Body of Knowledge takes a conceptual approach which enables it to be applied in different contexts and frameworks. To optimise its value from an educational perspective, learning outcomes have been developed for each technical chapter. These learning outcomes describe what the new graduate should be able to do in the workplace. It is not expected that the learning outcomes will be specifically stated in the program documentation but they should inform program development and assessment.
Click here to download the OHS Body of Knowledge Learning Outcomes.
After consultation with the universities, accreditation fees will move from a single fee at the time of accreditation to a flat annual fee. The revised fee structure is explained in the Fee schedule 2017.
Download the Fee Schedule for Accreditation of University level OHS Programs, 2017
Accreditation Forum 26th November, 2015
Accreditation of OHS professional education has been available since 2012 with 10 Australian universities having a total of 18 accredited programs with a further 2 currently being assessed. A major review of the accreditation criteria and process was carried out in 2014/15. This workshop presented the outcomes of the review, the planned changes to the criteria and process and sought input on these changes prior to their implementation. Participation in the Forum was in person at RMIT University or online via Collaborate.
Slides from individual sessions can be downloaded below.
|Welcome and introductions||Emeritus Professor Mike Capra
Chair Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board
|The role of TEQSA and its relationship to professional accreditation
Update on revised Standards for Higher Education
|Gary Brook, Director
Provider Assessment and Engagement Team, Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency
|The present approach to OHS education accreditation and the priorities||Pam Pryor
Registrar, Australian OHS Education Accreditation
|The review of OHS accreditation and the general findings||Associate Professor Tim Driscoll
Dr Margaret Cook
Accreditation Board members
|Specific recommendations for change – education||Emeritus Professor Bruce King
Education advisor to the Accreditation Board
|Summary and close||Emeritus Professor Mike Capra
Chair Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board