You may need to get your academic records and degree evaluated if you are going to a new school or job in the USA. Learn when to get your foreign transcripts evaluated and how to start the process.
If you want to start school in the USA, you must show what education you had in your home country. You will usually need to have your foreign transcripts evaluated. Employers may also ask about your diploma. Even if you have a degree or certificate from your home country, you may need to take more classes or tests to work in a job similar to the one you had back home.
Important words to know
Here are some useful words to understand when you are talking about foreign transcripts:
- Transcript – a paper that lists what classes you took in high school or college. Most people get them after they graduate. You can usually order more transcripts from the schools you attended.
- Academic evaluation – an evaluation done by a company that translates and researches the information on your transcript. They decide if the education you got in your country is the same or similar to the United States.
- School credits – American schools and universities use a credit system. Credits are numbers assigned to each class or course. Classes may receive 1, 2, 3 or 4 credits. Before you graduate, you need to earn a certain amount of credits.
- Degree – a diploma from a university or college.
When and how to get foreign transcripts evaluated
You will need a foreign transcript evaluation when you:
- Apply to college or university in the USA. You’ll need to show your level of education. Check with the international admissions office in your school. Each school has different requirements.
- You might also need it when enrolling your children in high school. Most schools will ask for a transcript. Check with the school.
When applying for jobs, you could need a transcript too. But, it will depend if you want an unskilled or skilled job.
- Unskilled jobs don’t need a degree, experience, or long training. Examples of unskilled jobs are cashiers, grocery clerks, and cleaners. You won’t need a foreign transcript evaluation to apply for this type of job.
- Skilled jobs or professional positions need a degree, specific skills, and experience. You will need a foreign transcript evaluation. Examples of skilled jobs are engineer, doctor, and lawyer.
Get your transcript from your school. Then submit it to a transcript evaluation company. You can get a course-by-course evaluation or a general evaluation. This process can take time, start as soon as you can.
In the course-by-course evaluation, the transcript evaluator reviews each course, one by one, in your transcript. They are looking to see if the classes you took are similar to the ones you need in the USA.
The course-by-course evaluation is usually done when you want to apply to a college or university. It can cost from $150 to $200.
In a general evaluation, the transcript evaluator looks at foreign transcripts to see if the degree you have from your home country is the same as a degree in the USA. This is usually done when you are applying for jobs. It can cost around $400.
What if I have problems with getting my foreign transcripts?
You may have problems getting your foreign transcript. The school you attended may have closed, or it could be in an area that is not safe. You might not be able to get your school transcript.
Here is what you can do:
- If you are trying to get a transcript for work, explain the situation to the company’s human resources department.
- If it is for school, call the school admissions department about your problem.
You can ask your future employer or the school admissions office to work with you to find a solution.
You may learn that you need to take more classes to complete your degree in the USA. This can be very frustrating. Remember that there is a reason for this. For example, an architect in Iraq and an architect in the United States might do the same job. But, there are also different regulations to learn in the U.S.
If you had a job that took a lot of education in your country, you will probably need to work on getting a new certification or taking classes in the USA. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers all need to do this. For jobs that do not require degrees, you may not need a new certification. Your skills will be enough to show you can do the job.
If you are confused about your evaluation results and would like more help, you can contact the company that did the evaluation. You can also meet with a school counselor. They will help you read your evaluation and will help you find out what classes you need to take.
Companies that evaluate foreign transcripts
There are many companies online that say they evaluate transcripts. Be careful! Some of them are scams. You might get your personal information or money taken from you.
Member organizations in these associations have certain standards for good practices:
- National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
- Association of International Credentials Evaluators (AICE)
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