What are Credential Evaluation Services?
Credential evaluation services are an essential step for individuals looking to study or work in the United States. Both potential employers and academic programs may request that your foreign degrees and transcripts have a certified translation and a credential evaluation as you submit your applications.
Our article helps you understand what exactly credential evaluation services are, how much they cost, and how to obtain them.
Why Is Credential Evaluation Important?
In order to obtain a visa to travel to the United States and study or work, you will need to show potential employers and academic programs that you are qualified to be hired or enroll in a set of courses. Credential evaluation is an important part of making this determination, and most employers and academic programs require you to utilize a credential evaluation service if you are applying from overseas.
However, it is important to note that all academic institutions and workplaces are different, and you should consult directly with the school or company to understand what is required of international applicants.
Below, we answer your important questions about credential evaluation services, such as:
- What Do Credential Evaluation Services Do?
- How are Foreign Credentials Evaluated?
- Where Can I Get a Credential Evaluation?
- How Much Do Credential Evaluation Services Cost?
- Is a Certified Translation the Same as a Credential Evaluation?
- Where Can I Get a Certified Translation?
What Do Credential Evaluation Services Do?
Credential evaluation services are services that are designed to evaluate a foreign degree or coursework and compare it to similar degrees or coursework in the United States. Effectively, the credential evaluation service converts foreign academic degrees and coursework into the U.S. equivalent so that admissions committees and hiring departments can easily understand how to review someone’s previous education and employment experience.
Whether or not you will need to obtain a credential evaluation or simply a certified translation of your foreign documents like transcripts and degrees is up to the academic institution or company that you are applying to. You need to check carefully with the school or companies that you are interested in studying with or working for to see exactly what is required of international applicants.
How are Foreign Credentials Evaluated?
Each credential evaluation service might have its own specific process for evaluating foreign credentials and converting them to the U.S. equivalent, but there are three general ways that most services look at foreign credentials. Depending on what is required of you and what the credential evaluation service offers, you may have to select one method of evaluation over another or pay different prices for certain evaluation methods.
The three main types of foreign credential evaluations include:
1. Course-by-Course Evaluations
Course-by-course credential evaluations are reports that look at each course or credit hour earned by an individual overseas and provide the United States equivalent. Overall academic performance is looked at and grades are typically converted into the United States grade point average (GPA) and semester credit scales.
Course-by-course evaluations are most commonly used when international students want to transfer credits as they travel to study in the United States and to determine overall academic performance for admission into a more advanced degree. They may also be used for students who are interested in graduate, certification, and professional licensure programs located in the United States.
The documents you may need for this type of credential evaluation include detailed academic transcripts that show course titles, grades, credit hours, and any degrees or certifications earned at foreign institutions.
2. Document-by-Document Evaluations
A document-by-document evaluation service will detail each foreign educational institution attended and the credentials earned at those institutions. The evaluation service will then provide a report that states the United States equivalent of the credentials earned, such as bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The most common documents required for this type of credential evaluation include academic documentation such as diplomas, certificates, and transcripts with graduation information.
Document-by-document evaluations tend to be more commonly used when it comes to international students applying for graduate programs or degree holders applying for work in the United States. In the cases of students wanting to transfer credits from abroad to the United States, course-by-course evaluations are more common.
3. Work Experience Evaluations
Work experience evaluations are typically completed when a professional wants to obtain a visa to work in the United States. The documents required as part of this evaluation include any diplomas or degrees obtained, certifications, transcripts detailing graduation information, and resumes with information like job duties, skills, and employer information. These evaluations tend to be more geared towards converting work experience to the United States equivalent than the other two methods, which tend to focus on overall degree and academic performance evaluation.
Where Can I Get a Credential Evaluation?
Online research may direct you to a specific credential evaluation service, as may the academic institution or company you are thinking of joining. It’s important to carefully look into each credential evaluation service to ensure you are utilizing a company that upholds high standards and does its best to accurately convert your foreign credentials into the United States equivalent.
A great way to ensure this happens is to use a credential evaluation service that is a member of either the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) or the Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE).
Both of these organizations utilize a code of ethics and standards, and credential evaluation services that join either of these organizations are committed to upholding these standards in addition to providing accurate evaluations of foreign qualifications.
How Much Do Credential Evaluation Services Cost?
Credential evaluation services aren’t free, and you should expect to pay between $100 and $300 on average for your foreign qualifications to be evaluated. You may need to pay more if you have a large number of documents that need to be converted or if you require rush services for your credential evaluation report.
Check with what is required of you by the academic institution or company you are applying to and then the specific credential evaluation service you wish to work with to verify the total cost of this process.
Is a Certified Translation the Same as a Credential Evaluation?
Though they sound like they could be the same thing, a certified translation is not the same as a credential evaluation service. A certified translation is a translation of your original document into English, while a credential evaluation is an evaluation of any coursework or employment experience obtained abroad that is converted into the United States equivalent.
Foreign credentials and documents that often require evaluation include degrees, certifications, licenses, academic coursework or internships, resumes, and descriptions or details of jobs completed in your home country.
Most credential evaluation services will require that your foreign documents have a certified English translation before they can be reviewed and evaluated for U.S. equivalency. You will need to check with the specific credential evaluation company you are working with for more details on this.
Where Can I Get a Certified Translation?
Certified translations are an essential part of the process when it comes to traveling to the United States to work or study. Credential evaluation services may require your documents to include certified translations, and companies or academic institutions may require any transcripts, resumes, or diplomas to have certified translations as part of your application.
Visit our online store to obtain certified translations of important documents such as:
All our certified to English translations are accepted by the USCIS. Our translations follow the guidelines established by the USCIS and are also accepted by educational institutions.
Most Requested Documents
You can order most translations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our online store. For large projects (more than 20,000 words or 50 pages), please request a quote.