Military service members receive extensive training and experience, much of which has college credit potential. To avoid wasting and duplicating resources, service members and veterans need to know the college credit equivalent for their training and experience. Many colleges allow undergraduate and graduate credit as electives, to waive prerequisites or to meet program requirements.
American Council on Education
The American Council on Education, or ACE, reviews military courses and occupations using a rigorous process by a team of teaching faculty. ACE provides college-level equivalency for military occupation specialties, or MOS, and for other courses submitted by the service branches, who in turn use that information to generate transcripts. For many service members and veterans, the military transcript is the first step in transferring military experience and training into college credit, providing a carefully researched method of aligning college credit to military experience and training.
Joint Services Transcript
The Joint Services Transcript, or JST, validates individual service member's training and occupation for college credit. The JST is approved by the American Council on Education, replacing the Coast Guard, Army and the Sailor and Marine transcripts, providing a single uniform document. The JST relies on data from the military personnel systems to provide a civilian language translation of military schooling. Active duty and many veterans may register for a JST account, obtain a copy of their transcript and have copies mailed or transmitted electronically at no cost to the college of their choice.
USAF Air University
The Air Force provides its own transcripts of military credit through the accredited Air University. The university includes a number of schools, such as the Air War College and the Community College of the Air Force for enlisted members. The Air Force is somewhat different from other services, as enlisted members are automatically enrolled in the Community College of the Air Force upon enlistment. The Community College of the Air Force provides transcripts to enlisted members by a written request at no cost, or through a third-party credentialing service for a nominal fee. Officers receive their transcripts through the Air University, while those who attended the Air Force Institute of Technology receive their transcripts from the institute.
Prior Service and Exceptions
The JST system may have incomplete information for veterans who were in the military prior to 1994 or none prior to 1976. Enlisted veterans, other than the Air Force, may send their DD 214, or discharge papers, to Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps or Navy JST support staff, along with any justification, to update their transcripts. The USAF Air University Registrar Services only archives transcripts for 30 years, but earlier transcripts can be ordered through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education, or DANTE. Veterans, who need a copy of their DD 214 or other separation document, may order copies online through the National Archives at St. Louis. In addition, some training is not evaluated by ACE, such as correspondence courses and Army MOS skill levels 10 and 20. Service members and veterans will need to petition their college to receive credit for those trainings. Veterans and service members can also search their training and MOS college equivalency, from 1954 to the present, through the ACE Military Guide and use that information to directly petition their college for military credit.
- American Council on Education: College Credit for Military Service
- American Council on Education: College Credit for Military Service, Military Guide
- American Council on Education: College Credit for Military Service, Transfer Guide: Understanding Your Military Transcript and ACE Credit Recommendations
- The Air Force University: Transcript Procedures
- Air University: Air University Registrar
John Huddle is an Army veteran with enlisted service as general hospital staff and hospital chaplain's assistant. His career also included stints as a teacher, adjunct faculty, administrator and school psychologist. Twice, Dr. Huddle was a major party nominee for state office. He also served as a director on several nonprofit boards. Today he enjoys consulting and lobbying for underdog causes.