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International Affairs Office, U.S. Department of Education     Feb 2008
                                                      

http://www.ed.gov/international/usnei/edlite-index.html

 

 

Recognition of Foreign Qualifications:

Information for Individuals Seeking to Work in the United States

 

 

NOTE: The U.S. Department of Education and USNEI do not evaluate foreign degrees or qualifications.  Please DO NOT submit requests for such evaluations to us or submit diplomas or other records for review.  Refer to the LINKs below.

 

See Visiting the United States for important information about the process of coming to the United States.

 

The competent U.S. authority for recognizing your previous education and qualifications will be:

 

  1. The U.S. employer, in case you seek to obtain work in an unregulated occupation; or

 

  1. The appropriate state or territorial licensing authority for the jurisdiction in which you want to work, in case you seek to practice a regulated profession.

 

You will need to contact the human resources office of your prospective employer or a state licensing board for instructions on what to do and how to get your education evaluated.  Some will perform the evaluation themselves, but most will refer you to a credential evaluation service.

 

 

SELECTING A CREDENTIAL EVALUATION SERVICE

 

If the U.S. employer or state licensing board recommends that you use a specific credential evaluation service, then use the service, or one of the services, recommended by them.

 

Go to Professional Recognition for information on U.S. regulated professions and their credential evaluation procedures.  Many professions use or recommend specialized credential evaluation services.

 

If no service is recommended, then you can select a credential evaluation service yourself.  You can search for credential evaluation services on the Internet, but you should know that there is no federal or state regulation of such services.  However, there are two national associations of credential evaluation services that have published standards for membership, affiliations to national international higher education associations and are frequently linked to and used by federal agencies, state agencies, educational institutions and employers.

 

National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) is an association of 19 credential evaluation services with admission standards and an enforced code of good practice.

 

Association of International Credentials Evaluators (AICE) is an association of 10 credential evaluation services with a board of advisors and an enforced code of ethics.

 

Neither the U.S. Department of Education nor USNEI endorses or recommends any individual credential evaluation service.

 

 

IMPORTANT POINTS TO REMEMBER

 

Credential evaluations are not free.  The cost will vary according to the complexity of the case and the amount of documentation you can provide.  Prior to submitting any documents to a credential evaluation service, you will also need to obtain English translations of any non-English documents, preferably notarized.

 

U.S. employers evaluate job applicants on an individual case basis, and they look for many factors in making a decision, not just your diplomas.  This is how evaluations are done for U.S. citizens as well.  Therefore, you can expect that different employers and credential evaluation services may evaluate you differently according to their criteria.

 

U.S. professional licensing authorities evaluate applicants on an individual case basis, and must apply applicable state law to the review of all “out-of-state” applicants, whether from another U.S. jurisdiction or another country.  State laws vary, and you can expect that different state authorities may make different decisions as to full or partial recognition of your qualifications.  Some states, in some professions, do not recognize foreign qualifications at all.

 

Educational qualifications do not automatically serve as professional work or licensing qualifications in the United States.  Both employers and licensing authorities will usually expect, or require, additional steps before you are fully qualified to work, such as experience, internships or apprenticeships, examinations, supervised probations, additional education or training, background checks, and possibly others.

 

Credential evaluation services provide procedures to appeal their recommendations.  Do not appeal to the U.S. Department of Education – the federal government has no role in credential evaluation appeals.  Use the procedure provided by the credential evaluation service and the employer or professional licensing board with which you are seeking a job or the right to practice.

 

 

ACADEMIC EQUIVALENCE FOR NON-CREDIT QUALIFICATIONS

 

U.S. professions and occupations that require higher education do not usually recognize exceptions or alternative routes to qualification unless these involve formal education leading to the award of credits and/or degrees.  Persons who hold qualifications that are legal in their home country but based on non-educational routes to licensure, such as membership in a professional society or non-credit training, may encounter difficulty in obtaining full recognition of such qualifications.

 

There are mechanisms in the U.S. higher education system for partial recognition of work experience and non-credit education or training.  Two national associations provide such services.

 

College Credit Recommendation Service (CCRS) provides equivalency recommendations to higher education institutions and employers.

 

College Level Education Program (CLEP) provides examination-based recommendations for academic credit at the undergraduate level that are accepted by many higher education institutions.

 

Both of these services evaluate and recommend undergraduate credit.  The award of graduate credit cannot be obtained for work experience or alternative qualifications.

 

If you have an alternative, equivalent or non-credit qualification, then you should discuss it with any prospective employer and with the U.S. Consulate since this fact could affect how and whether you qualify for various types of visas.  Once you come to the United States, then you should discuss with your employer or professional association how to proceed to obtain partial recognition for your previous work and training as well as what to do to shorten the time needed to obtain requisite U.S. qualifications.

 

 

 

 

See also:     Information for Persons Seeking to Study in the United States

Professional Recognition

                  Visiting the United States

 

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