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Military Guide Frequently Asked Questions

December 30, 1899



Credit Recommendations

1. As a college registrar, do I have to grant credit exactly as it appears in the recommendation?

No, you decide how to use ACE credit recommendations within the framework of your institution's policies and practices. You can use ACE credit recommendations:

  1. to replace a required course
  2. as an optional course within the major
  3. as a general elective
  4. to meet basic degree requirements
  5. to waive a prerequisite

The learning of some service members may exceed the skills, competencies, and knowledge evaluated for a specific course or occupation. In these cases, you may wish to conduct further assessment and award additional credit.

2. How is the Military Guide useful to me as an employer?

As an employer, you may find the exhibits helpful in identifying the skills and knowledge of veterans when hiring or placing them in jobs. If you have the veteran's military transcript or resume in hand, you may search the Guide for additional information regarding learning outcomes, related competencies, and credit recommendations for a specific course or occupation.

3. How should colleges and universities interpret the lower-division and upper-division levels in the credit recommendations?

Evaluators place a credit recommendation at the highest appropriate level (vocational, lower, upper, or graduate). If your institution teaches a given course at a different level, you are encouraged to grant credit at your institution's level, if the content and learning outcomes are aligned. Depending on the recommendation, the programs of study at the institution, and the student's degree plan, you can award credit at any level.

4. What do the dates that appear after each credit recommendation mean?

There are two dates (month and year) at the end of each credit recommendation. (See the NEW sample course exhibit (PDF).) The first date represents when the course or occupation was last evaluated by a team of faculty members. If there are no changes to the course, the credit recommendations are valid for ten years. If there are changes to the course, the military school will request a new review and the course will have different versions. (See the NEW sample course exhibit (PDF).) The second date represents when the course was last reviewed by ACE staff. Staff reviews are done for courses that have had only minor changes.

5.  I have noticed that the Military Guide has undergone some changes in the past few years. Can you provide a history of the changes? 
  • Added a brief description of the ACE review process to each exhibit. (May 2015)
  • Added a warning for overly large searches, so users don’t experience failed requests. (June 2014)
  • Redesigned the course exhibits so each version appears separately.  (February 2014)
  • Added searches by Team Review Date for both courses and occupations to allow for easy identification of new additions. (August 2013)
  • Added methods of assessment to course review exhibits. (June 2013)
6. Can a service member receive credit for a course that has been completed after the exhibit end date?

Yes, credit may be granted as long as the student started the course during the time span listed in the exhibit dates. (See the NEW sample course exhibit (PDF).)

7. What is the passing score for an individual course?

As part of the evaluation team's process for analyzing course materials, identifying learning outcomes, and making credit recommendations, the faculty evaluators are expected to validate and record the overall passing rate for each course. The passing rate is documented in the course materials such as the Programs of Instruction (POI), Training Course Control Documents, Master Course Schedules, and/or approval letters. The service member must pass the course for the ACE credit recommendation to appear on his or her transcript.

For courses evaluated after October 1, 2015, the passing score is listed in the exhibit (PDF).  Military training typically establishes a course pass rate of 70% or higher.

If the pass rate is less than 70%, there will be a note in the credit recommendation section of the exhibit (see MC-2204-0168).

For graduate-level credit recommendations, the pass rate must also be validated and recorded at 80% or higher by the evaluation team.

8. Should credit be awarded twice if the service member's transcript shows credit recommendations for the same subject area from different exhibits?
Granting credit for any combination of learning experiences is based on your institutional policies, processes, and procedures. The notion of duplicate credit may occur when there is overlap in content from a service member's training and experience. For example, credit recommended for an occupation may encompass similar credit recommendations for a service school course that the service member must take. As a second example, a service member may have taken several courses that have similar credit recommendations. In these instances, awarding a simple total of the recommended credit could result in the award of more credit than the learning merits. However, some institutions bundle the similar credit recommendations and align a transfer award to the related subject area(s).

To determine how much credit should be awarded without duplication, consider using the following steps:

  • Read and compare all the descriptions and, on the basis of the student's program of study, identify the appropriate credit recommendation in each exhibit.
  • Referencing the Military Guide, read and compare the overall course description, instructional strategies, methods of assessment, passing score and credit recommendations and related learning outcomes for each exhibit.
  • Determine how much credit might be awarded without duplication, according to the student's degree plan and policies of the institution.
  • Evaluate the strategic alignment and bundling of the credit recommendations as they apply to the service member's education goals.

9. Why doesn't ACE evaluate DoD schools anymore?

Until October 1, 2012, the American Council on Education (ACE) evaluated training courses and recommended credit for courses offered by Department of Defense (DoD) schools.  After October 1, 2012, the DoD schools were not included in the Military Evaluation Program Contract, because the mission of the program is to support the evaluation of military-centric training and occupations.



1. Does ACE issue military transcripts?
No. ACE does not generate military transcripts. The Joint Services Transcript (JST) includes consolidated information for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard.  The Community College of the Air Force issues its own transcript.

2. Are electronic transcripts equivalent to paper transcripts?
Yes. Transcripts contain the same information whether they are provided in paper format or electronically.

3. What is an official transcript?
An official college or military transcript is one that is sent directly to a college or university. Copies of transcripts made by a student are not considered official.

4. What information is found on a military transcript?
Military transcripts include:

  • Personal service member data
  • Military course completions — all courses that have been evaluated by ACE, with full descriptions and credit recommendations
  • Military occupations — full descriptions, skill levels, and credit recommendations
  • College-level test scores — CLEP, DSSTs, NCPACE, ACT/PEP, and Excelsior Test score data and
  • Other Learning Experiences — additional completed courses and occupations not evaluated by ACE for college credit.

5. If an applicant has served in more than one branch of the Armed Services, can all the information be consolidated into one transcript?
Yes. The Joint Services Transcript (JST) includes consolidated information for the Army, Marine Corps,  Navy and Coast Guard.  The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is regionally accredited and therefore issues its own transcripts (see below). 

6. What is the Community College of the Air Force?
The Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) is a regionally-accredited degree-granting institution that serves the United States Air Force's enlisted members.  CCAF only awards credit for courses that are regularly attended by Air Force enlisted personnel and taught by CCAF-affiliated schools. CCAF was founded in 1972, so service members who took courses after that date should contact CCAF for transcripts.  Prior to 1972, ACE did conduct enlisted course reviews and those will appear on the Military Guide.

DD Form 214 is acceptable for Basic Training only. A copy of the ID card, front and back, is also needed. Service members requesting transcripts should specify the type of transcript (personal or official) and the address to which the transcript is to be mailed, provide full name and social security number, and sign the request form. The transcripts are free. Official transcripts will be mailed only to institutions.

7. What is a Navy pipeline course?
The Navy offers some courses that are called pipelines. The student takes courses A, B, C, and D, and then receives certification for course E. ACE recommends credit for each of the component courses on the expectation that not all students will complete the entire pipeline and because components of the pipeline can change. Students receive a certificate and entry into their records upon completion, citing a new number (course E) and title. However, the exhibit in the Guide will say: "This is a pipeline course" and will list the components.


1. What is an MOS?
An MOS is a military occupational specialty (MOS). It is a job description for a service member.

2. How do I tell the difference between an occupation exhibit and a course exhibit?
All course exhibits have ACE ID numbers beginning with two-letter codes that identify the service:

  • AR is Army
  • NV is Navy
  • MC is Marine Corps
  • AF is Air Force
  • CG is Coast Guard and
  • DD is Department of Defense

All occupation exhibits have ACE ID numbers beginning with three-letter codes that identify the service:

  • MOS means an Army occupation
  • NER is a Navy rating
  • NEC is a Navy Enlisted Classification
  • NWO is a Navy Warrant Officer
  • LDO is a Navy Limited Duty Officer
  • MCE is a Marine Corps enlisted occupation
  • MCO is a Marine Corps Warrant Officer
  • CGR is a Coast Guard rating and
  • CGW is a Coast Guard Warrant Officer

3. Do I add together the credit recommendations from different pay grades or skill levels?
When reviewing an occupation credit recommendation, only consider the credits for the current or highest pay grade or skill level attained by the service member. The faculty evaluation team has already done the analysis in the field to determine the appropriate award of academic credit recommendations. The occupation credit recommendations are structured as building blocks, so each level already incorporates the credit recommendations for all of the levels below it.

4.  How does an occupation review differ from a course review?
The occupation evaluation is more experiential in nature and is an assessment of the “profession” assigned to the service member to determine what learning has occurred above and beyond formal military training. The process involves an extensive review of the official service materials (occupation manuals, task standards, etc.) and interviews with service members currently working in the pay grade or skill level.  The combination of the written materials and the interviews validate the professional duty expectations and the learning that occurs on the job.

This process is experiential in nature because it is not customized to the individual service member. The credit recommendations are reflective of what the service member learns on the job by performing at that pay grade or skill level. The occupation review process maintains a meticulous focus in determining whether job knowledge, skills, and abilities learned above and beyond formal military training are of postsecondary rigor.

Some of the factors the faculty evaluators consider:
• How have the “on-the-job” experiences been learned?
• Are the occupation expectations reflective of postsecondary-level learning?
• What are the key components of the occupation’s responsibilities, skills, and requirements? How are they associated with each occupation community and how do they relate to competencies found in a postsecondary curriculum?
• What are the core related competencies and learning outcomes within the occupation field for all pay grade levels?

 5.  What if the service member's training and experience has not been evaluated by ACE?
The services decide which courses and occupations ACE will evaluate. Colleges and universities can conduct personal learning assessments for students whose training and experience has not been evaluated by ACE.


1. What are primary, secondary, and duty MOSs?
All soldiers receive a primary military occupational specialty (MOS) in which they normally work and are evaluated.

Some soldiers receive a secondary MOS, which is generally related to their primary MOS. They are evaluated every other year in the secondary MOS.

A soldier works in a duty MOS, which in most cases is the same as the primary MOS. If the duty MOS is different from the primary MOS, soldiers are evaluated by the supervisor in their duty MOS.

Credit may be awarded in either the primary or duty MOS or both. The soldier must maintain proficiency in the primary MOS as well as the duty MOS. Ordinarily, the primary, secondary, and duty MOSs are in the same or a related career field. If so, there may be some duplication in the credit recommendations.

2. Most MOS exhibits do not carry a specific credit recommendation for Skill Levels 10 and 20. Why is that?
One of ACE's criteria for evaluating an occupational system is that it must provide for the assessment of the individual. Since the Army no longer offers a standardized testing system, ACE recommends credit only for Skill Levels 30, 40, and 50. For Skills Levels 10 and 20, colleges and universities may grant credit based on an individualized assessment of the student. For additional information, refer to the ACE Occupation Evaluation System.


1. How can I distinguish among the terms paygrade, general rate, rating, and rate?

  • A paygrade is a position from 1 to 9, on the Navy's pay scale for enlisted personnel; in a paygrade, the letter E (enlisted) precedes the number (E-1, E-2, E-3 through E-9).
  • A general rate is an apprenticeship that indicates eligibility for entrance into various ratings.
  • A rating is an occupation, e.g., Air Controlman.
  • A rate is an identifying term or title associated with a given paygrade.

For example, for paygrade E-4, the rate is petty officer third class. A rate may also be associated with a specific rating; for example, a petty officer third class whose rating is Air Controlman will usually refer to his or her rate as Air Controlman Third Class. Navy men and women usually refer to themselves by their rate.

2. Do all ratings provide paths of advancement and career development for paygrades E-4 through E-9?
Although most ratings begin at paygrade E-4 and end at paygrade E-9, there are some exceptions.

3. Should service members receive credit for their Navy general rate (paygrade E-3) as well as rating (paygrades E-4 to E-9)?
Yes. Anyone holding a rating is also eligible for the credit recommended in the general rate exhibit. The six general rates are: Airman, Constructionman, Dentalman, Fireman, Hospitalman, and Seaman. The Career Pattern section in the rating exhibit will indicate the general rate the individual held before progressing to the rating. The credit recommended for the general rate should be considered in conjunction with the credit recommendation for the rating.

4. A student has asked for credit for an NEC. What are NECs and have they been evaluated?
An NEC (Navy Enlisted Classification), a four-digit code, identifies qualifications individuals acquire in addition to skills required in their rating. NECs are evaluated using the same procedures ACE has used for the evaluation of occupations. NECs are listed in numeric order. Several NECs require full-time assignment. Keep in mind that individuals must also maintain proficiency in their rating. They are required to pass the rating advancement examination to qualify for promotion. They are thus eligible to receive credit for both the rating and the NEC.

Coast Guard

1. Should Coast Guard service members receive credit for their Coast Guard general rate (paygrade E-3) as well as rating (paygrades E-4 to E-9)?
Yes. Anyone holding a rating is also eligible for the credit recommended in the general rate exhibit. The six general rates are Airman, Constructionman, Dentalman, Fireman, Hospitalman, and Seaman. The item Career Pattern section in the rating exhibit will indicate the general rate the individual held before progressing to the rating. The credit recommended for the general rate should be considered in conjunction with the credit recommendation for the rating.

Marine Corps

1. How does a student document MOS proficiency in a Marine Corps aviation MOS?
Right now, the Joint Services Transcript (JST) cannot validate the Marine's skill level of competence with the Individual Training Standards System (ITSS) Maintenance Training Management and Evaluation Program (MATMEP) system. Therefore, the JST presents the credit recommendations for both skill levels III and IV.  The Marine will need to provide documentation to validate his/her skill level.  The ITSS MATMEP system is now automated and there are no print documents available to Marines.  A memorandum of record, signed by the Marine's supervisor or commander, and including the details and dates when the Marine achieved the skill level and was awarded the responsibilities, is the recommended form of documentation.  JST Operations is working with the Marine Corps to fix this process so the individual's ITSS MATMEP skill level appears on the JST.

In order for MATMEP Marines to request their certifications, they must follow these steps:
1 - The Marine contacts Keyport ASM Customer Support Center (CSC) via email or phone with training jacket request: (360) 315-7450
2 - Keyport ASM Customer Support Center (CSC) sends the individual Marine the ASM Training Jacket Request Form to fill out.  This requires personal information about the individual for Keyport to verify the individual before processing the request.
3 - Keyport ASM Customer Support Center (CSC) verifies the individual, runs the report, encrypts and password protects the document, burns the document to a CD, adds an Unclassified label and turns it over to ASM Life Cycle Support Lead to mail to the individual.
4 - When the individual Marine receives the CD, he/she is required to sign and date the receipt, scan and email it back to Keyport ASM Customer Support Center (CSC) for processing.


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