Choosing a Credential Evaluation Service
There are roughly 195 countries in the world, and only about 53 of them list English as an official language. Many people speak English as a second language--and for many it is their third or fourth!
No matter their first language, people around the world strive to better themselves through education. They might migrate to different countries and even continents in pursuit of a great education. The United States offers the biggest education market in the world, and therefore draws a huge number of international students from all over the world. This diversity of applicants and their respective education systems necessitates a common ground for evaluating educational credentials.
This is where credential evaluators play a part. They work according to a well-formulated ethical standard in the field of foreign educational evaluation in order to serve people who have completed part or all of their education outside of the United States and who are seeking further education (or even professional licensure or employment in the USA). There is no government agency that particularly monitors these foreign credential evaluation services, therefore most of them are certified, recognized or affiliated with various boards and associations.
Affiliation with a selective association is an important indication of the quality of a credential evaluation service and an assurance that the evaluations it performs will be reliable. It is important to note that many universities have their own credential evaluation department which independently carries out their own evaluation of documents, and that these universities may not accept credential evaluations from other evaluators, even if they are part of recognized associations.
Choosing a foreign educational credential evaluation service is similar to choosing other professional service providers.
Questions to ask when choosing a credential evaluation agency
- The first and most important question is: Is the credential evaluator a member of any of the following associations? It's important to note that the U.S. Department of State recognizes only AICE and NACES as member organizations which credit evaluation can be requested.
- National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
- Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)
- American Evaluation Association (AEA)
- European Association of International Education (EAIE)
- American Translation Association (ATA)
- NAFSA: Association of International Educators (NAFSA)
- American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
- America-Mideast Educational and Training Services, Inc. (AMIDEAST)
- Does the evaluator offer the type of credential evaluation required for the pertaining course and/or documents?
- Are the credential evaluation reports presented in the necessary format for the intended purpose?
- How competent are the fees for these credential evaluation reports?
- What is the average time taken for these credential evaluation reports? What kind of rush period/emergency policies does the credential evaluation agency have?
- Credential evaluators on an average may take anywhere between one to four weeks to issue an evaluation report.
- Does the credential evaluation agency have a quick and efficient setup for answering customer queries?
- Is the credential evaluator able to provide genuine client references/reviews? How good and reliable are they?
- How long does the credential evaluation agency keep their records?
- Is it possible to obtain more copies of the credential evaluation from the evaluator if needed in the future and what is the procedure to obtain the same?
- How long has the credential evaluation agency been in this business?
- What is their refund policy in case of withdrawal of the evaluation application?
- Can the type of evaluation request be changed once placed? What sort of penalties apply?
- What policy does the credential evaluation agency have to handle disputes?
The internet has made this process a lot easier, as most credential evaluation associations provide a list of credential evaluators affiliated with them on their site. Additionally, the websites of these credential evaluators often list the details necessary for choosing an appropriate credential evaluator. Some of the most commonly used evaluators in the United States include International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF), Academic Evaluation Services (AES), World Education Service (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators, and Inc. (ECE).
Customer satisfaction is held in high priority by most well acclaimed credential evaluators. If a student disagrees with an outcome of a credential evaluation, or seeks any sort of clarification, these credential evaluators oblige by providing responses with explanations entailing methods, procedures and other considerations involved into the credential evaluation process.