Promotion and Schools Increase Sailors' College Credits
Submitting an updated Joint Service Transcript (JST) paid big dividends for one Patrol Squadron 30 (VP-30) Sailor, as he completed the requirements for his associate degree Oct. 20.
Naval Aircrewman 3rd class Robert Morales-Sanchez, a student at VP-30, was able to finish his program in Industrial Management Technology by using credits added during an update of American Council on Education (ACE) credits for the rank of Airman. Previously, Airman was recommended for two vocational credits; the ACE update recommended six lower division credits.
"Without the update and submitting my new JST, I might still be working toward my AA degree," said Morales-Sanchez. "The revised JST ACE credits allowed me to complete the program."
Ken Spradlin, counselor for the Navy College Office at Naval Air Station Pensacola advises service members working toward a college degree to take advantage of every possible credit to accelerate their progress, including the Credit-by-Exam program and SMART.
"Many Sailors don't realize that promotion and schools can make a big difference in the recommended ACE credits that can be applied toward a college degree," said Spradlin. "Often they find that all that is needed to complete or make significant progress in their program is those additional credits that they qualify for automatically."
For example, the difference in ACE recommended credits between an Air Traffic Controller 3rd Class and an Air Traffic Controller 2nd class is nine academic credits at the associate/lower division baccalaureate level, plus eight more at the higher division baccalaureate level. Attending the Air Traffic Controller "C" school also earns as many as 15 additional academic credits: 12 at the associate and three at the upper-division baccalaureate level.
"Even if you haven't been promoted in several years, it's a good idea to check your updated JST as ratings are constantly being reevaluated," said Roland Perez, institutional accreditation manager for the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC). "Chances are that if you've been in the Navy for more than a few years, the ACE credits listed in your JST for recruit training, apprenticeship training, rating, or schools have changed."
NETC senior enlisted advisor Senior Chief Electronics Technician (SW/AW) Jason Szot took six years to finish his bachelor's degree in business administration, and during that time he was promoted and attended two schools.
"I was just slightly under having all of the credits I needed to graduate, and was still operating from an outdated JST," said Szot. "When I had my updated official JST sent to my college, it added enough credits to finish my degree."
Additional information on using ACE credits toward a college degree is available at your local Navy College Office or through the Virtual Education Center. In addition, you can learn about credit for service for all branches at the Military.com Education Center.