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Do Military Credits Earned on Active Duty Count Toward My Degree?

Do the courses you took during military training count toward your civilian degree?

The short answer is, maybe.

For military members who are working toward earning a degree, the first step to transfer military classwork is to request a joint service transcript. Members of the Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines can visit this DOD site and follow the step by step process to order their transcript.

While there are no limits to the number of transcripts you can order and have delivered to schools electronically, transcripts printed and delivered by the postal service are limited to two every 30 days.

Air Force members must request their transcript from the Community College of the Air Force. You can find that request form at this official site.

Individual schools do not determine what credits on those transcripts transfer to a civilian degree.

Instead, the American Council on Education evaluates every single course offered by every branch of the military. The organization sends professors from different colleges to sit through the military course and evaluate it.

The process takes time. And, in the last decade the military has re-aligned many of the MOS descriptions, and the accompanying course structures. Those new courses have yet to be evaluated and have no credit associated with them that can be transferred.

“It’s a lengthy process to quantify military training experience, put it into correct language and validate it so colleges will accept it,” explained Ed Dennis, Military and Corporate Relations Manager with Bryant & Stratton College Online.

Veterans should keep in mind that if they are studying for a degree that is different from their MOS, most likely, very few of their military credits will count for their degree.

The smartest way to reduce your out of pocket expense is to not rely on transfer credits, but instead, to use the GI Bill, Dennis said.  Military members who know they are getting out should begin working on their college degree while still in uniform. That way they are using funds from the tuition assistance program instead of dipping into the money the GI Bill allots them.

Many students can complete up to two years of their degree by following this plan.

Once they leave the military behind, the GI Bill may pay the remainder of the bill for their degree program.

Dennis said making a plan early on, before you leave the military, will help you earn that degree and spend less of your own money doing it.

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