The College Credit You Deserve

Military Experience that Gains College Credit

college-head2One of the great things about military service is getting hands-on, real-world experience that cannot be gained in any classroom. That is why the American Council on Education (ACE) was created in 1942: to help those who serve earn college credit for that military service. Doing so makes it easier—and less expensive—for those in the Armed Forces to earn their college degrees.

You’ll need to start by getting a transcript of your military service to find out what military training and coursework applies to continuing education. Each branch provides you with an unofficial copy of the transcripts, and sends an official version to the schools you are applying to.

In the past, how your military experience was tracked differed by branch of service. Last year, however, the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps combined their systems into the “Joint Services Transcript” (JST), making the information and process more consistent. (The Coast Guard is working toward rolling its service, the Coast Guard Institute, into the JST, while the Air Force still utilizes the Community College of the Air Force.) You can see copies of the different types of transcripts at the ACE’s website.

One thing to keep in mind throughout this process is that each college and university has different requirements and standards. This means one college might accept some of your credits for free-electives, while another one might not—and some might not accept any of them. Because of this fact, it is critical that you take your time when trying to choose a school. Ask as many questions as you can about which credits will transfer and which won’t, and make sure the school is the best choice for the degree you’re pursuing.

Also make sure to send all military transcripts and those from previous coursework to whatever school it is that you are attending—and do so before you sign up and pay for any classes. The last thing you want is to waste both time and money on a class you already got credit for thanks to your military service.

No matter where you continue your education, make sure you’re getting all of the college credit you’ve earned while serving your nation. To learn more, visit the American Council on Education website at


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