One of the questions a veteran may have upon leaving the armed forces is, “can military training be counted as credit towards a degree in criminal justice?” Police work, law enforcement, the legal realm, and corrections are each terrific options for someone with a military background, but going through all the training again after going through military classes might not be necessary. College credits often transfer for civilians, but it’s important to find out if experience may transfer for military students.
Investigating the American Council on Education
In the early 1940s, the government created the American Council on Education (ACE). This government body would evaluate the training of military individuals and determine whether certain experience would translate into classes taken at the collegiate level. Military training is much more than basic training and members of the military routinely attend more than one school session to learn about their chosen military profession.
For example, new recruits entering the Navy who choose to go into healthcare will learn several facets of their job during basic training when they are assigned to watch over their fellow recruits to make sure that none require medical attention. Then, after basic training sailors will move on to school sessions with focused classes on a specific area of expertise, such as being a Navy EMT.
Upon leaving the Navy, all of those classes and the experience gained after it could translate to transferrable credits in school. Even if a sailor’s military education wasn’t directly related to his or her choice of education post-military, it’s likely that classes would still transfer.
Even Basic Training Counts
Getting through basic training is one of the toughest parts of starting military service, and graduation from basic can feel as important as graduating from high school or college. Fortunately, the grueling training of basic can be used for transfer credits in certain cases.
In the area of criminal justice, it’s very likely that training and information received during basic training would translate well into a criminal justice program. All of the training and experience gained after basic would also offer strong options for credit transfers into college.
How to Get Credits
Getting credits transferred begins with requesting an official transcript be sent from the student’s branch of the military to the new school. Each branch has its own system for storing transcripts and a student will need to contact his or her branch to get those transcripts delivered. For example, the Navy uses a program named “SMART,” which stands for Sailor-Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript. The Army’s version of these transcripts is available through the Joint Services Transcript (JST).
Getting the Most Education for Your Dollar
It’s important that future students inquire about the transference of their military experience before entering a collegiate program. Most members of the military will have credits that will transfer, but each school may treat these classes differently. One school might take more transfer credits than another, which may mean significant savings on tuition and time spent in school.
After serving his or her country, getting that experience and training translated into a college career is a wonderful option for military personnel. Students may get credits transferred whether they have direct experience in military criminal justice or whether their experience is in another field. Fortunately, the answer to, “can military training be counted as credit towards a degree in criminal justice,” is a resounding “yes.”