Every country has a different school system. You might not be able to use your degree from home when you move. Learn how you can get your foreign transcripts evaluated so you can apply your education from another country when you arrive in the USA.
If you want to start school in the USA, you must show what education you had in your home country. You will need to have your foreign transcripts evaluated. Employers may also ask about your diploma. But even if you have a degree or certificate in your home country, you might need to take more classes or tests to work in your old job.
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 foreign transcripts from your school.
- Academic evaluation – an evaluation done by a company which translates and researches 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
If you apply for an unskilled job, you may not need to prove your education. If you do not need your foreign transcripts evaluated, you can save money on evaluation fees. But some jobs pay more if you have a high school diploma or a university degree.
If you are applying for a professional position, you should definitely get your degree evaluated. Get started as soon as you can, because evaluations can take a long time.
First, get a transcript from your school. Then submit it to a transcript evaluation company. You can get a course-by-course evaluation or a general evaluation.
Course by course evaluation
The transcript evaluator looks at foreign transcripts to see all the classes you took one by one. They are looking to see if the classes you took are similar to the ones you need in the USA. This is done when you want to apply to college. It usually costs $150–$200.
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 costs around $400.
Problems with evaluation of foreign transcripts
The school you attended may have closed, or it could be in an area that is not safe. Either way, you might not be able to get your school transcript. 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 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 different regulations to learn.
If you had a job that took a lot of education in your country, you probably will need to work on getting a new certification or taking more classes. Doctors, lawyers, and teachers all need to to this. For jobs that don’t require degrees, you may be not need 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 who did the evaluation. You can also meet with a school counselor. They will help you read your evaluation and will tell you 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. But there are honest companies you can use, such as World Education Services, Academic Evaluation Services, and Global Credential Evaluators Inc.