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The Council on Aviation Accreditation (CAA) was established in 1988 in response to the need for formal, specialized accreditation of aviation academic programs. The first aviation programs were accredited by the CAA in 1992, and as of November 2007, the newly renamed Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) recognized a total 78 accredited programs at 26 institutions worldwide. Although the number of aviation academic programs accredited by the AABI has steadily grown, there are currently only 26 percent of UAA member institutions with AABI accredited programs.
In an effort to understand the current status of specialized accreditation in collegiate aviation and the reasons why so few aviation programs are accredited by the AABI, this study attempts to determine the perceived value of AABI accreditation from the perspective of four groups: administrators of both AABI accredited and non-AABI accredited aviation programs, aviation program students, and aviation industry employers. Eleven specific research questions were formulated for this research effort.
This study utilized a non-experimental, mixed method research design, with quantitative and qualitative attributes. Descriptive research and cross-sectional surveys were tools used to gather data. Data analysis was conducted via frequency distributions, content analysis, chi-square, Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and ANOVA.
Specific recommendations include: (a) AABI should seek enhanced collaboration with industry; (b) AABI should explore the intrinsic merits of accreditation to determine how beneficial AABI accreditation is and the degree to which AABI is fulfilling its original purpose; and (c) AABI accredited collegiate aviation programs should market their AABI accreditation status and the benefits of attending an AABI accredited program to potential students.