The greatest asset of our nation is the talented military service personnel who serve and defend our nation. While adjusting from military to civilian life, veterans endure enormous challenges. This month’s article will focus on maximizing educational opportunities by receiving college credit for courses taken and experience earned while serving in the military.

While in any branch of the military, members amass valuable and transferrable skills, including leadership and technical training. It may be difficult, at first, for veterans to articulate how their experience is actually relevant to coursework. There are a number of resources available to assist in this:

First, veterans may actually test out of certain courses to receive college credit. This option is available to all incoming college students. Begin by contacting the college you prefer to attend and securing an appointment with an academic advisor. This advisor will provide instruction on how to demonstrate existing knowledge and skills by taking a standardized test in different subject areas. Follow this link for information:

A second option is to receive actual college credits by securing a Joint Services Transcript. This document gives colleges and universities tangible evidence of education, training, and experience while serving in the military. More information is available through the American Council of Education. This link provides detailed information on how to obtain this document:

Finally, investigate whether a college or university allows some credit though an independent study program. This may require a veteran to working one on one with a professor in the area of focus, write a detailed paper, and create a portfolio which demonstrates crucial knowledge and valuable skills. Requirements will vary among educational institutions and an academic advisor will be able to assist in the matter.

As you confidently move forward, keep in mind that while it may be logical to proceed with an area of study related to your work in the military such as medicine or information technology, it can be an excellent opportunity to move into an entirely different area. This is the chance to do what you love and live your passion. The staff at the Kniestedt Foundation is here for you. If you would like to speak with a veteran who has successfully made this transition, contact James Kniestedt at