How Can I Convert my Military Experience into College Credits?

The military experience that you gain while as a member of the armed forces may let you get some college credit before you take a single college class. All branches of the military require that personnel go through intensive training before handling guns, working in jobs on bases or even fighting overseas. All of the experience that you gain can help you when you decide to take college classes later or enroll in college while still in the military. There are a few ways in which veterans like you can get credit for previous work.

Ask About Placement Testing

Before classes start, ask the college or university about placement tests. Placement tests cover subjects like math, science and English. When you take one of these exams, your score determines where you start out within each subject and whether you need to start at the introductory level or if you can move on to a higher level class. Placement tests may help you test out of some subjects and limit the number of classes you need to take. If you place out, you’ll get credit for those classes.

Submit a Resume or Portfolio

Consider taking a campus tour and meeting with an admissions counselor before you enroll. Ask if the college accepts a resume or portfolio that shows your military experience and if you can get credit for the experience you have. Many colleges that cater to military students offer this option. Your portfolio or resume should show all the classes you took while enlisted, any achievements or awards that you won and all of your accomplishments. That experience may let you skip over some of the introductory courses required and let you meet some of the requirements for a degree in military history or a similar subject.

Related Resource: Can Medics Receive Course Credit for Nursing Skills Learned in the Military?

Take Classes While Enlisted

Though you might think that colleges won’t let you enroll while enlisted, many schools now offer programs designed for active duty personnel. These programs let you take a wide range of classes over the Internet, and some let you do work without an Internet connection. You do workbooks and assignments in the field that you mail back to the college. You may also find colleges that have branches located right on your military base that let you get credits that you can transfer to another program later.

Contact the American Council on Education

Contacting the American Council on Education (ACE) is the best way to gain college credit for your time in the military. ACE helps anyone who enlisted in the Navy, Marines, Army or Coast Guard get a Joint Services Transcript, which shows colleges the classes and training you went through in the military. More than 2,000 colleges now accept this transcript and use it as a way to determine how many credits you’ll get for your military service. ACE can also help you find out how many credits you might get, which colleges accept this transcript and how you can submit that transcript when applying.

Enlisted military men and women spend years fighting for the freedom of others and defending the nation. Those former military personnel deserve credit for their experiences. You can now get college credit for your military experience through placement tests, by contacting the American Council on Education and through other methods.