What type of credential do you need to accomplish your career goals, and how long will it take?
Certificate: About 1 year
Associate’s Degree (AA or AS): 2 to 5 years
Bachelor’s Degree (BA or BS): 4 to 6 years
What if you have a degree or credentials from another country?
If you have a degree or credentials from another country, it may not be easy to verify your educational and work background or your job skills. You may need to be “recredentialed.” This means having your foreign degrees, credentials, and work experience evaluated to determine whether or not they qualify you for U.S. degrees or credentials. Some professions, such as nursing and medicine, require that you take a board test and get a license. It can be a little easier for people to qualify for credentials in other professions where it’s possible to show your skills.
Private organizations will do credential evaluations for a fee. You can search on the internet or in the phone book under credential evaluations for these businesses. Here are two good sources for such businesses:
Here are some points to keep in mind:
- U.S. employers evaluate job applicants on an individual-case basis, and they look at many factors in making a decision, not just your diplomas.
- Educational qualifications do not automatically serve as professional work or licensing qualifications in the United States.
- Credential evaluation services do provide procedures to appeal their determinations.
The types of documents you may be asked to bring with you to your recredentialing appointment include:
- Copies of your diplomas and transcripts from high school and college or university
- Copies of other certifications or licenses
- A professional résumé showing your work experience in your profession, if you have any
- Syllabi, catalogs, bulletins, or course descriptions from your prior educational institutions, if you have them
These materials could have useful information to document your education and work background.
You may also consider taking one or two courses in your field from a U.S. educational institution, to refresh your knowledge and to show employers that you have educational experience in the U.S. related to the job you’re looking for.
Other Ways to Get Credit
Weekend College Study Option
- Online courses
- “Hybrid” courses that combine classroom instruction with online instruction
- Individualized self-paced courses
Prior Learning Assessment
If you have knowledge and skills earned from experience and/or training but have no credits to show for it, you might be able to receive college-level prior learning credits. Often colleges and universities recognize experiential learning by awarding college level credits from learning gained at the workplace, in the military or through public or community service – when awarding college credits. To receive credit you will be asked to prove your knowledge by demonstrating of your prior learning in a given subject area.
Take a look at the Student PLA video created by the NCTN on Vimeo to learn more about this option.