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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:

  • to replace a required course
  • as an optional course within the major
  • as a general elective
  • to meet basic degree requirements
  • 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.  What does it mean when a course or occupation exhibit has been end dated?   

ACE credit recommendations are valid for 10 years, provided the course or occupation has not substantively changed. If there has been a change, or it has been 10 years since the ACE faculty team reviewed the course or occupation, ACE will end date the exhibit. The credit recommendations will still appear on the JST if the service member’s dates of training line up with the version of the ACE course or occupation exhibit. Academic institutions make the final decision about whether to award credit for end-dated exhibits. 

6. I have noticed that the Military Guide has undergone some changes in the past few years. Can you provide a history of the changes? 
  • Redesigned occupation exhibits to include a single summary of duties performed by service members in that occupation and associated learning outcomes for all credit recommendations. (October 2016)
  • Redesigned course exhibits to mimic what appears in a college catalog, including linking credit recommendations to associated learning outcomes that document exactly what the student has learned in each subject area. (October 2015)
  • 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)
7. 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).)

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.




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, and NCPACE 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 Air University?
Air University (AU) is authorized by the US Congress to award degrees appropriate to its mission.   AU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  ALL AU programs, both degree and non-degree granting, fall under this accreditation.

AU programs and courses are eligible for credit in civilian academic institutions.  Civilian academic institutions can and should follow accepted transfer credit evaluation procedures and use the AU online historical catalog material, the
student’s AU Official Transcript, and the considerations of the program the student is applying for in making a transfer credit determination.

Before the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) was founded in 1972, ACE did conduct enlisted course reviews and those courses do appear on the Military Guide.

7. What is a VMET?

The Verification of Military Education and Training (VMET) document (specifically DD Form 2586) is available to any eligible military service member or veteran. This document simply provides descriptive summaries of their military work experience, training history, and language proficiencies. It is during the service members Transition Assistance Program (TAP) experience that they gain access to this document. The VMET does not replace formal military transcripts and is an additional tool to support service members and veterans. Note: US Coast Guard personnel do not have VMET documents.

8. 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. What is a course? 

All service members are required to take courses based on their occupation.  Formal military courses must meet certain criteria to be evaluated by ACE:  approved by the central authority for the Service (e.g. TRADOC, TECOM, NETC, etc.); be at least 45 academic hours in length (Coast Guard excluded); and for distance learning courses, there must be firm identification of the learner and proctored assessments.  Courses consist of a set curriculum with measurable outcomes, rubrics, and validated student assessment instruments.  Courses may include lecture, small group work, case studies, skills lab, clinical, practical exercises, computer-based delivery and discussion boards.  Successful completion can be measured using various assessment tools that can include case studies, summative examinations, performance tests, papers, group projects and oral presentations.  Courses without assessments cannot be reviewed by ACE. The ACE course review process involves a rigorous review of all course materials and assessment tools by a team of content experts with tenured experience in higher education.  Credit recommendations by the review team are based on the content, scope and rigor of the course as compared to current college curricular standards.

2. What does the ACE ID mean on a course exhibit and the JST?

All courses reviewed by ACE have a corresponding ACE identification number (ACE ID).  The ACE Military Guide can be searched by ACE ID number to view additional data about a course, such as related competencies and learning outcomes. Course ID numbers have two-letter codes that identify the service: AR is Army, NV is Navy, MC is Marine Corps, AF is Air Force, and CG is Coast Guard.

3. What does the version number mean after the ACE ID on a course exhibit?

The version number for the course is listed to the right of the ACD ID.  ACE tracks the history of curriculum changes and credit recommendations for courses with the same ACE ID by using version numbers. The course populates the JST based on when the service member started the course and successfully completed it and aligns it to the exhibit dates covered by the appropriate version.

4. 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.

5. I'm in the Navy, but I took a course offered by the Army. How do I search for a joint service course in the Military Guide?

The ACE ID is assigned based on which military service owns the course.  Course numbers for all joint services are added to the exhibit so that the credit populates the service member's Joint Services Transcript. For example, "Physical Therapy Specialty" is a course offered to soldiers under course number 303-N9 Phase 1 and sailors under course number B-303-0050. The ACE ID number is AR-0704-0015 since the Army owns the course. Therefore, when conducting a search on the Military Guide for joint courses, it's best to select "All Services" in the "Services" field to view all the ACE IDs associated with the course, instead of narrowly selecting a single service.

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


1. What is an occupation?
An occupation refers to the service member’s job while in the military. Examples include Electronics Technician, Hospital Corpsman, Infantryman, and Intelligence Specialist. The Army and Marine Corps refer to an occupation as an MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), and for the Navy and Coast Guard, it is a rating. Service members take a series of formal military training courses to be assigned to a particular occupation, and they also have opportunity for on-the-job learning to occur. The ACE occupation review process is focused on the recommendation of credit for learning that occurs on the job, above and beyond the formal classroom training.

2. What does the ACE ID mean on an occupation exhibit and the JST?
All occupations reviewed by ACE have a corresponding ACE identification number (ACE ID).  The ACE Military Guide can be searched by ACE ID number to view additional data about an occupation, such as related competencies and learning outcomes. 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 Occupational Specialty
  • 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 learning outcomes found in a postsecondary curriculum?
• What are the core related 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.

6.  What is the significance to the date on the occupation exhibit and how does it translate to the JST?

The date that is displayed on the JST in the occupation area is reflective of when the service member achieved a particular rank in that occupation.  Credit recommendations from the Military Guide populate the JST based on the pay grade/skill level rank that is achieved by the service member and the date the occupation exhibit was valid.  For example:  A soldier in the Human Resources Specialist MOS achieved a skill level 40 on January 2, 2011.  The Military Guide exhibit MOS-42A-001 is dated 4/03 – 11-13, therefore this service member would receive the credit recommendations from this exhibit as the skill level attainment of January 2011 is within the exhibit parameters.

7.  How can you determine the end date of a particular rank on the JST?

The end date of a particular rank can be determined by viewing the date of the next occupation entry on the JST. An end date for a particular rank is not provided on the JST as end dates are not recorded in the service member’s personnel record.


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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