Learning is enough of a challenge without having to wade through subjects or topics that you’ve previously mastered. Not only do you spend precious hours having to prove that you already know what you know, but you’re likely spending money on classes that duplicate your experience.
It’s a frustration that many vets and active duty personnel face. But there is good news because of programs that recognize what people learn in their military careers, including specialties they may have developed. The American Council on Education has worked with the Department of Defense to match training to specific college credits.
The result is a document called a Joint Services Transcript, or JST, which the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard all use. Members of the Air Force contact the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) to obtain their version of a transcript. All enlisted personnel, officers, and warrant officers, whether active or veterans, are eligible. Here is how the DoD explains it:
It provides a description of military schooling and work history in civilian language. It serves as a counseling tool for academic and career counselors in advising service members and veterans. It serves as an aid in preparing resumes and explaining Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, National Guard and Navy work experience to civilian employers. It also saves time and money by awarding academic credits, which means less tuition to pay and less time spent in the classroom.
More than 2,300 universities and colleges accept the JST. However, the recommendations from the American Council on Education are only that: recommended. Each individual institution must review the JST and decide which of the credits can be accepted, which would need modification, and which must be dismissed. So before making final plans, it is important to have the schools that interest you review your JST to avoid any last-minute surprises. You can look at sample transcripts to become familiar with them before having to use them.
At that last link is a wealth of resources in the form of a military guide to the entire process and concept. You can search the courses or the related occupations. One important step is to carefully review all your transcripts, whether the JST or ones from previous college or training programs. Otherwise, you could find yourself spending money and time on courses that only duplicate what you had already covered.
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