6 Facts about Foreign Credential Evaluations

September 15th, 2017

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We recently heard a report on CNN about foreign medical doctors who are unable to practice in the U.S. and are driving taxis instead. We frequently hear about the plight of legal immigrants in the U.S. who find themselves with little or no information on whether their education from their country of origin is worth anything in their new adopted country. Many simply assume they have to start from the beginning, take the GED, enroll in a college, or apply for and accept employment in jobs below their level of education attainment. Many are not aware that they can have their academic credentials evaluated to receive the approximate U.S. educational equivalence to help them with qualifying for employment, a professional license or admission to a U.S. college/university.

According the U.S. Department of Labor: “Qualifying education from colleges and universities in foreign countries must be evaluated in terms of equivalency to that acquired in U.S. colleges and universities. Applicants educated in whole or in part in foreign countries must submit sufficient evidence, including transcripts, to an accredited private organization for an equivalency evaluation of course work and degree. You must provide a copy of the letter containing the results of the equivalency evaluation upon request. Failure to provide such documentation when requested will result in lost consideration.”

Foreign credential evaluation is a process where academic credentials earned in an institution outside the U.S. is verified and converted into the U.S. educational equivalent. Foreign credential evaluation service providers are typically private for-profit or not-for-profit organizations. Some state licensing boards, U.S. colleges and universities and professional associations also prepare evaluations of foreign credentials for their candidates.

Here are a few facts about foreign credential evaluations:

  1. A foreign credential evaluation provides the approximate U.S. educational equivalence of studies completed at an institution outside the U.S.
  2. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee that a level of education completed in a foreign educational system results in the same educational outcome. For example, if an individual completed three years of studies at a university outside the U.S., the U.S. educational equivalence for the studies may or may not be deemed comparable to a degree.
  3. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee employment but it will provide the employer with confirmation whether the candidate has met the educational requirements for the position.
  4. A foreign credential evaluation does not imply that the individual is qualified to practice his/her profession. In order to practice a profession such as medicine, nursing, engineering, dentistry, architecture, etc., candidates who have had their foreign credentials evaluated must also sit for the licensing examinations as required by the State in which they intend to practice. However, the evaluation will provide the professional licensing board the information it needs to determine the candidate’s eligibility for licensure.
  5. A foreign credential evaluation does not guarantee automatic admission to a U.S. school/college/university or transfer of credit, as each institution has its own specific admissions and placement policies. It will, however, inform the institution as to the level of studies completed in order to determine eligibility for admission.
  6. A foreign credential evaluation does provide the individual an understanding of his/her education’s comparability to the U.S. system so that he/she can pursue their studies or seek employment in a field in the U.S. that is compatible with their education.

A foreign credential evaluation is similar to currency exchange, where the education completed in one system is converted to the education system of another. So, before an immigrant dismisses the studies they completed in their country of origin, having their academic credentials evaluated will be the first step to take as they begin this chapter of their life in a their new adopted country.

The U.S. Department of Education, and the U.S. Department of State, provide links to organizations that provide foreign credential evaluation services in the U.S. The NAFSA: Association of International Educators also provides guidelines on how to select a foreign credential evaluation service provider.

Since 1994, ACEI, which is a Charter and Endorsed Member of the Association of International Credential Evaluators, has been providing assistance to individuals from around the world with the evaluation of their educational credentials. For information on our credential evaluation service and requirements, please visit our website at www.acei-global.org or contact ACEI at +1-310-275-3530 or via email at acei@acei-global.org

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