College Credit for Military Experience

Post date: Mar 15, 2012 2:52:50 AM

Your military service has likely earned you college credit. Many schools and colleges award military students credit towards a degree based on training, coursework, and occupational specialty. You've worked hard in the military -- now you can save tuition dollars and classroom time!

DANTES Military Evaluations Program

Pursuing your college degree can be the best career move you can make, but it can also be very expensive and time consuming. That's why claiming credit for your military experience is vital. Applying your military experience credits could save you as much as $600 and 5 months on a typical 3-credit college course. Best of all, using these college credits costs you nothing; you've already earned them!

The American Council on Education

The American Council on Education (ACE) was created in 1942 to recognize the educational value of military training and experience. Since that time ACE has continuously evaluated military schools, correspondence courses and occupations to determine the amount and level of academic credit each should be awarded. Through ACE, you can take academic credit for most of the training you have received, including Basic Training. The ACE military evaluations program is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and coordinated through DANTES.

Visit the ACE Military Programs website to see how much credit you may have earned.

Getting ACE credits

The first step to claiming the credits you have earned is to request a transcript from your military service. Each service will provide unofficial personal copies and send schools an official copy of your transcript at no charge. Each service branch has their own system for recording your military education and experience credits:


Navy and Marines

  • The Navy and Marine Corps use the SMART system. This system automatically captures your training, experience and standardized test scores. SMART Homepage

Air Force

  • The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) automatically captures your training, experience and standardized test scores. Transcript information may be viewed at the CCAF web site.

Coast Guard

  • The Coast Guard Institute (CGI) requires each Servicemember to submit documentation of all training (except correspondence course records), along with an enrollment form, to receive a transcript.


  • Under most circumstances, Veterans are eligible to use their former service branches transcript program. However if you are not eligible for AARTS, SMART, CCAF, or CGI systems, you will need to fill out form DD-295 and provide your DD-214 Discharge Document to receive credit or your experience.

Applying Your ACE Credits

In most cases, ACE recommended credits will be used to fulfill your free-elective requirements, but each college determines the number of credits they will accept, and how they will be applied toward your degree. In fact, some schools may even choose not to grant any credit for military experience. That is why it is critical to shop around for the most "military friendly" school available.

One Last Money-Saving Tip

Have all of your official transcripts from previous colleges and service branches sent to your new school for evaluation, before you start taking any classes. Many students waste valuable time and money taking classes that are unnecessary duplications of previous courses, because they signed up before their military and prior college transcripts were completely evaluated.