College Credit for Your Military Training

military online learning

Did you know that beyond military benefits, you could also earn transfer credits through your military training? Transferring credits lets you get the most out of your time spent serving in the armed forces.

Non-traditional Transfer Credits

Credits earned through the military are considered non-traditional credits because they are not earned through a standard college classroom setting. Accordingly, colleges and universities differ in how these experiences are evaluated. Most commonly, schools recognize the American Council on Education (ACE) Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services. This guide more clearly delineates the significance of scholarship acquired during military service. Then, if the experience is recognized and applied toward your degree, you save time and money with a faster date for graduation!

What Will be Accepted?

The number of transfer credits accepted and the manner in which they are applied to the program is at the discretion of the chosen university. For example, credits for a Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) can be considered as a replacement for a required course within a major, a general education requirement, an elective, or merely for the purposes of waiving a prerequisite. Additionally, the maximum amount of transfer credits, and in particular, the maximum amount of non-traditional credit a school will accept becomes a very important question during the application process. Education providers partnering with the DoD are required to disclose their protocols on how credit is awarded for prior learning experiences up front.

The Benefits of a Pre-Evaluation

Requesting an unofficial pre-evaluation to see the extent and method of transfer is an astute course of action. Depending on your selection of schools, and even degrees, your credit will apply in different ways. For example, if you choose a military-friendly online college, you could receive a higher rate of transfer for your military service. Alternatively, electing a program with a larger elective pool might have the same result since many career fields are recommended by ACE as such. A pre-evaluation helps you grasp the differences so you can make the best choice for you.

How To Start

Request your Joint Services Transcript (JST) to see where you might maximize your past experiences! It is a standard document accepted by (and often requested by) many colleges and universities to validate your occupational aptitudes and training from the military. JST will replace Coast Guard Institute Transcripts, the Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcripts (AARTS), and Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART). Should you need additional information or need assistance, you can contact your installation’s education office or your respective Veterans Administration (VA) location.

It’s worthwhile to try to transfer credits you may not have known existed from your military training. So whether you are (or a friend is) hoping to earn a degree during or after your military service, don’t forget to transfer the credits you’ve earned.

Written by: Kathryn Looney
Kathryn is a Partner Education Service specialist with Ashford University.

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