Do you have a degree or certificate from your home country? You may be able to use it in the United States for work or schooling but your degree or certificate isn’t automatically recognized in the United States. You can have your degree or certificate reviewed by a third party to see which degree is similar when using United States standards. This is called Credential Evaluation. Whether or not you should have your credential evaluated depends on how you will use it. If you do want it evaluated, next determine who should do the evaluation.
Schools have different requirements for credential evaluation. Start by talking with the school you want to attend. The school’s admissions or international students’ office should be able to offer more information about their requirements.
It may not be necessary to obtain a credential evaluation. Talk to people in your industry and employers to learn more about their requirements. If you have a credential evaluation, list it clearly on your resume. If you do not, list your degree on your resume.
License requirements vary from state to state. Before you have your degree or certificate reviewed for a professional license, confirm the requirements of the professional board in your state.
What are some important consideration to consider before having your credential evaluated?
Is credential evaluation necessary?
The value of a professional credential is highly job and field-specific. In some fields a credential is a basic requirement. In others, it is a “nice to have” that is not necessary for advancement. It is important to ask questions and understand which credentials are truly required in an individual’s field.
What is the purpose of the evaluation?
Knowing how you intend to use your credential is very important. The type of evaluation, as well as the organization that can complete it, may vary widely depending on its use. If instructions aren’t carefully followed, a skilled immigrant can end up paying for a legitimate evaluation that is not useful for the intended purpose.
Is there assistance to help pay for credentialing expenses?
The Foreign Credentialing and Skills Recognition Revolving Loan Program (Foreign Credentialing Loan) provides small loans to assist certain eligible immigrants living in Maine who are not yet eligible to work in the United States. Loans for up to $700 are available to help pay for the costs associated with translating credentials and other specific expenses involved in the process of becoming eligible to work in Maine. Learn more…
Where can you find a reputable credential evaluation service?
There are unreliable and fraudulent services that advertise widely on the web. Immigrant professionals are advised to research credential evaluation companies to ensure they choose one that is reputable and ethical. One useful indicator is whether the company is a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES).
The University of Southern Maine accepts credentials that have been evaluated at the following companies:
The New Mainers Resource Center at Portland Adult Education provides support to immigrants seeking to have credential translation and evaluation. For more information, contact:
New Mainers Resource Center
14 Locust Street
Portland, ME 04101