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How to Get College Credits for Military Training

How to Get College Credits for Military Training

Veterans are forced to make tremendous personal sacrifices for their country. Many of the visitors to this blog have probably even been forced to put their educational goals on hold while they were serving on active duty, but did you know that there’s a way to get college credit for military service?

The experience you gained during your military career can save you both time and money during the process of earning your college degree.

Thanks to a program developed from a collaborative effort between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the American Council on Education (ACE), many schools now award college credits for military experience.

Once you receive your college credit for military training, you can utilize other veterans benefits like the Post 9/11 GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon Program to pay for the remaining courses needed to get your college degree!

Get College Credit for Your Military Training

When it comes time to transfer military training to college credits, the American Council on Education (ACE) is the organization that determines the amount of training that you can get credit for. ACE, created in 1942, works to evaluate military schools, correspondence courses and military occupations to determine the amount and level of academic credit each should be awarded.

The program will award academic credit for most of the training you have received, even for simple things like Basic Training. The ACE military evaluations program is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and coordinated through Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support, also known as DANTES.

How to Transfer Your Military Training to College Credits

The first step to claiming college credit for military training is to request a transcript from your military service branch. At no charge to you, each service will provide unofficial personal copies for you, along with official copies that they will send to your school.

Depending on the service you were in, they will have their own system for recording your military education and experience credits. Here is a breakdown of the different branches and the systems that they use for documenting your experience that can be counted as college credits:


Navy and Marines

  • SMART system: Automatically captures your training, experience and standardized test scores.

Air Force

Coast Guard

  • The Coast Guard Institute (CGI):  Each service member must submit documentation of all training (except correspondence course records), along with an enrollment form, to receive a transcript.


  • Typically, Veterans are eligible to utilize their former service branches transcript program. However, if you are not eligible for any of the branch systems, you will need to fill out form DD-295 and provide your DD-214 Discharge Document to receive credit for your military experience.

Getting College Credit for Military Service is Easy!

As standard procedure, ACE recommended credits can be used to fulfill your free-elective requirements, but the number of credits that you can apply to your degree program is determined by each individual college. Some schools may even refuse to grant any credit for military experience, so be sure to check out our post on  how to determine a military friendly college to make sure you are attending a school that will respect and award you for your valuable service.

You should also make sure to send all of your official transcripts from previous colleges and service branches to your new school for evaluation before you begin taking any classes. A lot of students make the mistake of beginning classes before their transcripts have been evaluated, leading them to end up wasting valuable time and money by taking classes that they could have already gotten credit for in the first place.

What about you? Have you had any experience with exchanging military training for college credit? Let us know about it in the comments section below.

  • http://www.facebook.com/EFLOW10 Jonny Phillip Wolfe Jr

    Those 1,000 hours of Correspondence courses don’t count for anything for college? Awesome! What a waste of my life!