Derek Reiss

As a military servicemember or veteran, there are multiple ways to maximize your college transfer credit. Taking advantage of these options will help you complete your degree faster and with less coursework.

Request Your Transcript

The first thing you should do when applying to programs is request a copy of your military experience transcript. This transcript will include college credit recommendations, courtesy of The American Council on Education (ACE). The American Council on Education collaborates with the Department of Defense to determine how to value military experience and training should as applicable college transfer credit. This transfer credit assessment will be included with your transcript when you send it with your college applications.

If you are a member of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, you should request a Joint Services Transcript (JST) directly from the JST system.

If you’re a member of the Air Force or Space Force, you should request your transcript from the Community College of the Air Force through the Air Force Virtual Education Center.

Choose a Military Friendly College

One of the best ways to maximize your potential military transfer credit is by choosing a Military Friendly® college. While your transcript will come with credit recommendations, it’s up to each individual institution to decide whether to provide transfer credit and how much to provide. This will largely depend on the school’s transfer credit policy, the program you choose, and specific degree requirements.

Military Friendly® colleges often provide more military transfer credit than some other institutions. Additionally, schools with this designation offer strong support for military students and flexible programs that fit into the busy lives of servicemembers.

Take Advantage of Credit-by-Examination Programs

Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) offers educational and career planning support for military service members.

Credit-by-examination programs allow you to earn college credit by taking an exam to display advanced knowledge of a subject. The exams are the equivalent of a final exam you would take in an undergraduate course. The tests can be administered on base, at an embassy, or on a college campus. Exam results are generally sent to transcript systems for easy transfer credit evaluation and access.

There are two DANTES testing options: College Level Examination Programs (CLEPS) and DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST). As an active duty, guard, or reserve military member, your first attempt on any CLEP or DSST exam is funded by DANTES.

You can take any exam at an on-base or on-campus facility. More than 500 military installations deliver Internet-based DSST exams across the globe, making it easier than ever for service members to gain valuable educational credentials while on active duty. All others must pay a fee starting at $85 per test.

College Level Examination Programs (CLEPS)

College Level Examination Programs are available at more than 2,900 universities, making them the most widely accepted credit-by-examination options. There are 33 different CLEP exams covering various subjects, and DANTES offers study guides to help you prepare. These tests generally cover knowledge that you would learn in the early years of your college education.

DANTES Subject Standardized TESTS (DSST)

DSST exams are similar to CLEPs. However, they cover knowledge that you would typically learn in the later years of an undergraduate program. There are 38 different DSST exams covering six different disciplines: business, humanities, math, physical science, social science, and technology.

Prior Learning Assessments

In addition to these standard methods for maximizing your military college credit, some colleges have more extensive prior learning assessment programs available. These colleges often have flexible transfer credit programs and commonly work with nontraditional students. This includes military servicemembers and working adults.

For example, our college recognizes over 200 validated training programs for viable transfer credits. We also work with employers and professional organizations to assess the transfer credit value behind workplace training and professional licensures and certificates.

These additional prior learning assessment options are another great way to gain college credit for your life experience and fast-track your degree completion.

Take Advantage of Potential Transfer Credit

As you can see, there are many avenues for military service members and veterans to earn college credit for their experience. Taking advantage of these different options can help finish your degree faster and with less coursework. It’s important to note that it is up to each individual institution to decide whether to provide credit for your experience, just like with other transfer credits.

If you’re not sure how your particular military training or college credit will transfer, we recommend connecting with military-focused academic advisor who can take you through your options step by step. This will help you make the transition into your degree program a seamless experience.

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