How to Translate Your Military Training Into College Credits
veterans heading to school can get college credit for their military training
and experience, including leadership development courses. Coupled with classes
they may have completed during active duty, this could give some student
veterans a big head start on their post-military education.
transfer policies vary widely by state and institution, so it is critical that
service members planning to attend college when they separate start the process
early. Transitioners must understand the credit transfer policy at the schools
they are considering and should ask the schools to review their transcripts.
organizations offer assistance to service members pursuing a degree during and
- The American Council on Education (ACE)
evaluates how much and what kind of credit to award for military
training and occupations. www.acenet.edu
- Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges consortium (SOC) award credits for military
training and academic testing. www.soc.aascu.org
- Defense Activities for Non-traditional Education Support (DANTES) manages the
work of the SOC and offers several specialty education programs. www.dantes.doded.mil
of the biggest challenges is for the service member to understand credit
transfer policies at an institution,” said Michele S. Spires, ACE’s assistant
director of military programs and an Air Force spouse. “It’s a whole different
language.” Spires is the lead member of an ACE team that evaluates military
courses and occupations for a match in civilian higher education.
a current service member whose MOS is in the engineering field, Spires said.
Given this experience, he may want to add an engineering degree to his résumé.
Some institutions of higher education will carefully evaluate the Soldier’s
specific military training and MOS and find the matching credits in their
engineering curriculum. Others may not allow any ACE credit recommendations to
count toward an engineering degree. Instead, the institution may sweep them
into the general education category.
while this service member may believe
he is eligible for a certain number of engineering credits – turning his
military experience into completed courses in his major – some universities may
not allow that to happen. See the “ACE Checklist” to make certain the credit
transfer process is clear from its earliest stages.
helps veterans and current service members by creating easily accessible web
transcripts of their military training (www.militaryguides.acenet.edu).
“That transcript also helps the service member articulate their experience in
civilian language,” Spires said.
also publishes A Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcripts and
ACE Credit Recommendations (www.acenet.edu/militaryprograms/transferguide).
would encourage military students and veterans to take ownership of their
educational experience by setting up an advising meeting with their evaluator
or academic advisor to discuss where their military training courses and
experiences might be comparable to required courses in their degree plan,” said
Dr. Kathy Snead, SOC president and director. “Students may need to explain to
the advisor exactly what topics, skills and subjects were covered in their
military training and to describe instructional delivery mode and length of
resources, from the transfer guide to an individual’s web transcript, will also
aid the process here.
also recommends the following service-specific sites:
- GoArmyEd (www.earmyu.com)
- Navy College Program (https://www.navycollege.navy.mil)
- Air University’s Associate-to-Baccalaureate Cooperative (www.au.af.mil/au/ccaf)
SOC helps current and former military complete a degree, rather than simply
taking course after course without a clear path to graduation. Colleges and
universities that are members of SOC’s Degree Network System (for active duty
and adults in their families) provide a number of services, including:
- Acting as a home college that allows students to execute a “Student Agreement,”
which outlines a degree plan that is transferable to other member colleges
- Easing credit transfers from school to school within specific disciplines, such
as computer studies or business
- Offering credit for military occupations and service schools
- Limiting the number of courses needed on the ground, for those attending
notes that university officials can counsel and advise service members to
determine where their transcript will take them – how to leverage their
existing MOS and credits.
uncertain how many veterans fail to take advantage of their ACE credit
recommendations. In recent talks with service members, Spires’ ACE team found
that some were able to apply their ACE credits successfully; others could not,
but were not seeking a degree that related directly to their MOS; and yet
others felt that their university or other higher education institution didn’t
do a good job of matching service to college.
the end, making sure credit is awarded properly will always be up to the
individual student. “There still is a need to communicate to veterans and
service members the value of their military transcripts,” Spires said.
the best way to make certain you get the
educational credits you deserve? The American Council on Education offers this
- Do your research: Make sure the school you choose to attend gives you the
maximum credit for nontraditional learning methods.
- Every school is different: Learn how they handle credit transfers before you
ask them to handle yours.
- Check your military transcript early and often online. Refer to sidebar on page
- Ask your school to review your official transcripts (including those from other
schools) as early as possible.
- Avoid unnecessary classes by consulting with an academic adviser early on. Be
sure to have a copy of your transcripts and your DD-214.
- Take charge:
follow up with all the academic departments handling your credit transfers.
How to Get Your Transcripts
The Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Navy are now producing a Joint Services Transcript, which you can access at: https://jst.doded.mil/official.html
Force/Air National Guard
College of the Air Force transcript
5 Steps to CLEP®
- Find out if your college accepts CLEP. Use the CLEP college search and talk to
your admissions office, test center or academic advisor.
- Read descriptions of all 33 exams and decide which one to take.
- Register to take your exam(s) by contacting a CLEP test center and making an
- Start studying. Get a college textbook and review sample questions.
- Take your test!
information on tests administered by DANTES, visit www.dantes.doded.mil
Save Time & $$$
College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional
Education Support (DANTES) offer standardized tests that allow service members
and veterans to receive college credit for what they already knaow. The tests,
which are available in 33 areas such as math, science, English, foreign
language and history, can save time and money.