Approved Education Providers (AEPs) Program Overview
AACE International’s Approved Education Provider (AEP) Program is designed to provide cost and management professionals and their companies with a means of identifying suitable professional development courses. The program also identifies individual instructors whose past experience qualifies them to teach or supervise the course materials being presented.
AACE International's high standards for granting AEP status and its ongoing review of Providers’ activities, ensures that the course materials satisfy AEP programming and participants.
AACE’s AEP Program offers
A Provider approval system with standards that ensure that continuing education programming is serving needs of the Provider’s clients
Continuous course improvement through course review and ongoing support from AACE staff
Ability to award AACE Continuing Education Units (CEUs)
Course promotion and organizational recognition on AACE International’s website
AACE International’s AEP status is a win-win situation. You or your organization will benefit and so will your constituents. Why? The AACE AEP program offers an established and proven process for conducting quality continuing education programs, networking opportunities with other continuing education providers, less paperwork, and broad appeal.
Whether you are a consultant, professional trainer, AACE Section, university instructor, or you are experienced in the field of educating others – AACE International’s AEP status will benefit you and your organization! Continue reading to find out how!
An AACE AEP is entitled to:
publicize your organization as an “AACE International Approved Education Provider.”
use the official AACE International AEP logo appropriately in promotional and course materials consistent with AEP Program policies
list up to three qualified courses in a database of AACE International Approved Education Provider courses on the AACE International website at the base price. (Additional courses may be listed for $150 per course)
appear in the list and on the interactive map of Approved Education Providers on the AACE International Education web page (List of Providers).
have promotional material featured on the AACE website, with a description of the company, contact information, and a link to the company website.
Review and Approval
Companies or individuals wishing to become Approved Education Providers (AEP) must submit as part of the application process the necessary information to allow AACE to review the course content and presenters of the material. A review will be completed for each course submitted by the AEP. The review process will be performed by a review committee comprised of three subject matter experts appointed by the AACE Education Board.
The information provided by the prospective AEP will be distributed to the review committee. The material will be subjected to a detailed review. The review committee will evaluate and compare course content to the AACE body of knowledge, which is the Total Cost Management Framework, and provide an evaluation and assessment of the course material to the AACE Staff Director – Education and Administration, who will act upon the recommendation of the committee. The Staff Director will review the results from the Education Board review committee and inform the prospective AEP of the results of the evaluation. If the evaluation is positive, the AEP will be notified that they may begin to promote the fact that they are an AACE Approved Education Provider and begin to receive the benefits. If the evaluation is returned indicating deficient areas, the prospective AEP will be requested to provide additional evaluation information to assist in the re-evaluation of the course material.
A key for the AEP is the credentials of the person or persons teaching the class. In the case of a review course for an AACE certification, it is required that the instructor for the course must hold that certification.
Review Data to be Submitted
A prospective AEP will be required to submit the following for review. Since each course offered by an AEP will be mapped to the Total Cost Management Framework and Recommended Practice 11R-88, Required Skills and Knowledge of a Cost Engineer, the submission of the class materials by the AEP needs to be in sufficient detail to facilitate the mapping and evaluation process. The submittal must contain:
Summary of class (short overview). This will allow the review team to have a high level overview of the course.
Teaching objective. What will be the objective of the AEP to teach, what is it that they expect to teach.
Written definition of learning objective of the class, what will the student have learned from the course.
Written definition of how the course will support the learning of the intended community and who will benefit from the course content.
Class outline or agenda listing of the subjects to be covered, with the duration of the instruction as an indication of the level of learning afforded the student.
Syllabus (detailed definition of the class) which shows the breakdown into each of the teaching sections. This is an important section as this is the key document for mapping the course to the TCM Framework. There must be sufficient detail to fully describe the course offering. Power Point slides or other presentation media are not required at this point.
Identified instructor(s) including a resume or CV providing the qualifications to teach the course. If the course is for a certification review, the instructor must hold that particular certification.
Overview of the company offering the course. This must include the number of years involved in teaching the materials, number of employees holding one or more certifications who will be teaching certification review courses, resume of the company and its principals.
The data identified above must be submitted as part of the application by the prospective AEP. If needed, AACE will request additional information to be submitted in an expeditious manner. Delays in receipt of the requested data could delay the mapping and approval of the AEP application. The AEP is expected to forward the required materials to AACE Headquarters.
Audits of the AEP
Routine Audit: The AEP may be subjected to an audit of the particular course or courses included in their application for approval. The audit will be performed on a rotating schedule or as needed, based on a specific reason as determined by the Education Board Chair or other officer of AACE. The audit will be performed by Education Board members who were also a part of the review committee tasked with reviewing the AEP submittals.
Depending on the availability of the Education Board member and proximity to the class offering, an audit can be completed as an observer in the class by attending the closest class offering. There will be no charge to the person auditing the course, and they will not participate or receive credit for completing the course.
The live audit will be judged against specific criteria established by the Education Board in order to evaluate the class. These criteria will include:
Class materials displayed and handouts to evaluate accuracy and ease of reading and understanding
PowerPoint slides accurate and professionally completed
Instructor coming across as knowledgeable on the subject matter
Instructor presenting the material in a clear and concise manner
Sufficient time being allotted for questions and the questions that are answered correctly and accurately
A classroom conducive to this type of class
Other – to be determined
Special Audit: An onsite audit will be conducted if it is deemed necessary to determine that a given course is still of the quality as when it was originally approved. This audit may be accomplished one of two ways:
The Staff Director – Education and Administration will request a complimentary registration to the course in question for a member of the Education Board review committee or for an independent member of AACE who lives and works in the area of the class. The evaluation will be based on set criteria as defined by the Education Board.
The AEP will be required to submit their class materials to AACE in electronic or printed format. This would include, but not be limited to, PowerPoint slides or other presentation media, class handouts (or book), class schedule (agenda). The class materials will be reviewed and audited for a sense of completeness and quality of the materials. The review will include evaluation of:
PowerPoint slides – accurate and professionally completed
Class materials and handouts – evaluated for accuracy and mapping to the TCM Framework and the current version of Skills and Knowledge of Cost Engineering, and whether they are easy to read and understand
Detailed outline including allocated time for each topic – to determine whether time allocated to each section or topic is sufficient to cover the material being presented
Interviews and follow-up with selected participants for their feedback
When it is determined that an audit is needed, AACE Staff Director – Education and Administration will notify the AEP. Upon notification of an audit, the AEP shall submit all class materials to AACE. Once materials are received by AACE Headquarters, the ensuing audit can take from one to three months to complete. AACE understands that the material provided represents a substantial investment by the AEP, and will provide assurance to the AEP that the materials will not be copied and/or used by anyone on the review committee for any reason other than to conduct the audit. Once the audit has been completed all of the materials will be returned to the AEP.
When the second type of audit is performed, it will be done by the committee that had been charged with reviewing the original application, if possible. This committee will work collectively to compile the audit of the class and AEP. The audit will compare the submitted materials to the original comparison of the class to the TCM Framework and the Recommended Practice 11R-88, Required Skills and Knowledge of Cost Engineering. The review committee will be expected to complete their review and submit the results to the Staff Director – Education and Administration. Should the audit provide a negative result, a request for additional information will be submitted to the AEP. If an AEP’s course proves to be insufficient, the AEP will be expected to revise and/or upgrade the course. An upgrade to the course will need to be submitted for approval.
In addition to the audit being done on the class material, the AEP will be required to distribute a survey to students and share any results. The survey (Attachment C) ranks the class key objectives. Each objective will be assigned a numeric value which can be summarized to provide an overall rating. The resulting compilation needs to be an 80 or above to be considered a passing grade.
If over a two-year period a company ranks in the lowest 3% of AEP’s based on the survey, this will trigger a more detailed audit.
It is expected that AEPs will over time add to and/or improve upon the course material. This will keep the course current and relevant to the intended community. Should the course change content by more than 25%, this will require a re-submittal of the course material for another detailed review.
AACE International expects that the original review process and subsequent audits will add a greater level of scrutiny to the AEP program. When quality issues, misrepresentation of course, or misuse of AEP standing are brought to the attention of AACE, we reserve the right to review the continuation of the AEP status and initiate disciplinary action as needed for certain circumstances that might arise with an AEP.
These issues might include problems such as:
Implications of cheating on tests
Advertising and teaching a class not on approved list
Teaching of a certification review course by an instructor not certified for that particular certification course being taught
The steps in the disciplinary process are:
An email from the Education Board Chair followed by a written letter. This letter will clearly state the problem or deficiency in need of correction.
AEP will have 90 calendar days to correct the offense. During this period the AEP will be considered to be on probationary status.
AEP will provide proof of correction of the problem and petition to be removed from probationary status. Proof of correction will need to be sent to the Education Board Chair and Staff Director – Education and Administration.
Once the proof of correction has been verified, the Education Board Chair will send a letter to the AEP indicating that status has been reinstated.
If the AEP fails to resolve the question in the allocated time, the AACE Education Board reserves the right to revoke AEP status.
The AEP has the right to appeal the Education Board’s ruling to the AACE Board of Directors within 60 days by written appeal, disputing the findings of the Education Board.
If an AEP status is revoked and the appeal to the Board of Directors is denied, the AEP will not be able to resubmit an application for AEP status for a period of one year.
If a company or individual has AEP status revoked, all fees paid to AACE prior to the revocation will be forfeited, and the AEP must immediately cease and desist the use of the AEP logo and any and all AEP marketing.
Notice of the revocation of AEP status will be published on the AACE website and in the Cost Engineering journal upon final revocation.
Audit for cause
An AEP may be subject to an administrative audit of their company processes and actions. This audit will be performed by Education Committee members. An administrative audit may be initiated for number of reasons which include but are not limited to:
Complaint received from a past student
Determination that the AEP has been involved in action contrary to the AEP agreement
Finding that the AACE Logo is being used not in accordance with AACE use policy
Complaint received by Staff Director Education from an AACE member or other AEP
Complaint received by Staff Director Education from an staff member relative to actions of an AEP
The AEP will be notified by the Education Board Chair that a complaint has been filed after an initial review to determine the validity of the complaint.The Audit Committee established by the Education Board shall review the complaint and gather the information related to the complainant.The information needs to identify specific:
Instances of violation of the AEP agreement
Identification of the actions that were in violation of the AEP agreement
Review of the complaint and discussion with the person or group making the complaint
Gathering of all the documents related to the audit
The audit committee will evaluate the information obtained from the AEP and the complainant and determine if a violation of the AEP agreement has occurred. The committee shall prepare a very specific written report identifying the section of the AEP agreement which was violated. The report will in fact determine if a violation did occur. The Education Board will perform a final review before taking action. An affirmative vote agreeing there was violation will move the report to the AACE Board of Directors for further review and concurrence. If it is determined from the report and violation did not occur, no further action results and the AEP is notified.
If it is determined by the Education Board that a violation has occurred, it will be the responsibility of the Education Board Chair for the following:
AEP will be notified by a letter which clearly defines the problem or offense that is in need of correction. It will define how the required remediation. The letter will be sent to the AEP, preceded by an e-mail
AEP will have 40 calendar days to correct the offense
AEP will need to provide proof of correction of the problem or offense in order to get the correction letter cleared. Proof of correction will be sent to the Education Board Chair and the Staff Director Administration and Education
Once the proof of correction has been verified the Education Board Chair sends a confirming receipted letter (Registered or Express) and e-mail to the AEP indicating the matter has been resolved and the question satisfied.
Lack of response or lack of initiation of the defined corrective action will result in removal of the AEP Status
Removal of an AEP is a serious matter. If lack of positive action to correct the offense occurs, the Education Board will notify the AEP that their status has been revoked.
An AEP’s status to be removed will be based on a majority vote of the Education Board.
If an AEP status is to be removed, the AEP will be informed immediately by express letter and e-mail from the Education Board. The letter will detail the reasons for the decision, and the effective date of the removal.
If it is determined that the only means of correction is removal of AEP status then the Education Board will determine if there is recourse for the AEP be reinstated or if reinstatement is not an option.
If an AEP has had his status removed, fees are forfeited and no refund is given.
An AEP who has been removed will be informed if they are eligible for reinstatement, but will require the AEP to resubmit all required materials for approval and pay all current fees. An AEP who is not eligible will be entitled to one appeal of eligibility to be determined by Education and BOD. A period of at least 1 year shall be required before the reinstatement process can begin.
An audit of an AEP’s administrative processes is intended to ensure that the AEP program is able to maintain the highest standards. Further the intent is to ensure that all AEP’s participating in the program will be able to take advantage of the program on an equal and fair basis. It is important that all AEP’s accept and follow the agreed upon terms of the agreement.
Timeline (in calendar days)
Set up Education Board Review committee day 15
Committee Review information and make determination day 25
Issue first letter to AEP Day 30
AEP deliberation and response Day 70
Second letter Day 75
AEP Deliberation and response day 100
Education Board Chair meet with AACE Board of Directors Day 130