How Can I Get College Credit For My Military Service?

Pursuing a post-secondary education is an important goal for many people around the world. For current and veteran service members of each branch of the armed forces, the ability to transfer in experience and training from the military to apply toward academic credit can save both time and money while pursuing a vocational certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree.

The American Council on Education

Military training and experience can be translated into academic credits through the American Council on Education, which was created in order to determine and acknowledge the skills and knowledge that are acquired through the military. Funded by the Department of Defense, the American Council on Education issues recommendations for academic credits on military transcripts, and individual schools will determine the number of credits that can be applied toward degree completion on an individual basis.

A number of trainings and experience from military service are able to be evaluated for potential college credit. Basic training and standardized test completion are required of all military personnel, and these are eligible for academic credit along with specialized training.

Tracking Military Experience

Enlisted Army personnel are able to utilize the AARTS system, which automatically tracks academic credits based on service, training, and testing. In the Navy and Marines, the SMART system does the same, and the CCAF of the Air Force automatically logs training as well. In the Coast Guard, personnel are required to document and submit proof of training.

Access to these systems is available for currently enlisted military service personnel and veterans who were enrolled in the automated transcript programs during service. For veterans who were not enrolled in a system, forms to request credits or proof of experience will be required.

CLEP Testing and DANTES

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) is also available to assist current and military service members with gaining additional college credit for military experience and completed trainings. By assisting with funding and preparation for the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) test, DANTES offers administration of the test as well as help with determining which subject tests should be completed. For additional information, visit the DANTES website.

Transfer and Military Credits

Each university, community college, and vocational training institution has individualized policies on whether or not credit from military experience and training are eligible to add toward degree completion. The number of credits that will be accepted also varies. In addition, CLEP testing scores vary by institution. Before choosing a school, veterans and current service members should evaluate each institution’s policy on military and transfer credits.

The military provides so many opportunities for gaining valuable experience and skills for service members in every branch of the armed forces. The military and Department of Defense recognize the value in this training and experience, and academic credit is issued to be used to pursue continuing education. By taking advantage of these opportunities, current and veteran service members are able to save time and money while earning a degree or certificate from an educational institution.