Can I transfer my foreign credits and transcripts to the U.S.?

Every country has a different school system. You might not be able to use your degree from home when you move. Learn important words to know, when and how to get your foreign transcripts evaluated, what to do if you have problems getting your transcript, your evaluation results, and what companies can evaluate your foreign transcript.

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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. 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 which 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

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. However, 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 get your degree evaluated. Start as soon as you can, because evaluations can take a long time.

Make sure to 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.

Course-by-course evaluation

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.

General evaluation

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 transcript?

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.

Evaluation results

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. There are also different regulations to learn.

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 who 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.

There are honest companies you can use, such as World Education ServicesAcademic Evaluation Services, and Global Credential Evaluators Inc.