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Professionalism of occupational health and safety hit new heights this week with the Australian OHS Education Accreditation Board announcing the current status of accredited university-level OHS education in Australia.

Since the implementation of accreditation in 2012, 10 of the 14 universities with eligible programs have attained accreditation for one or more programs. Another two universities are engaging with the process, leaving only two yet to commit to accreditation.
For potential students considering OHS professional education this offers a choice of 3 accredited undergraduate programs and 10 post graduate programs at Graduate Diploma/Master levels including two universities only offering accredited Graduate Diplomas.

As part of their quality processes the Accreditation Board undertook an extensive review in 2014.
The outcomes of the review indicate that accreditation is impacting positively on the quality of OHS professional education in Australia. This impact varies from providing a stimulus for minor review and ‘tweaking’ to revision of whole courses within programs. Accreditation also creates leverage for obtaining resources within the universities and for implementing change. Major areas of change were made to content through mapping to the OHS Body of Knowledge and in tightening assessment processes. For a number of universities, the accreditation process also enabled them to articulate and build on strengths to establish their profile in the Australian OHS education context. Accreditation is seen as an important step in giving students confidence in the program and in improving the professionalism of the profession.

While the general consensus was that accreditation has had a positive impact on OHS professional education in Australia and that the criteria and process are fair and valid, a number of actions for improvement were identified.

As part of the implementation of the review and to seek further input from interested groups, an Accreditation Forum will be held in Melbourne on the 26th November. While face-to-face participation will be encouraged online attendance will be available. For more information contact the registrar.

This media release is also available as a PDF.

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