Choosing a Credential Evaluation Service

There are about 195 countries in the world and only about 53 countries of them uphold English as an official language (and it might not even be the most spoken language). Many have English as a second language and for many it is the third or fourth! But the common element for all is the desire to strive for education. People migrate to different countries and even continents in a pursuit to better their state of being. The United States, which is the biggest education market in the world, is one such country that draws international students from all around the world. It’s one of the biggest and most fascinating melting pot of cultures and diversities there is. However the diversity of applicants and their respective education systems necessitates a common ground for evaluating educational credentials.

This is where credential evaluators step in. They work on a well formulated ethical standard in the field of foreign educational evaluation and 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 and 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 work accomplished by 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 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. A few questions need to be asked before choosing a suitable credential evaluation agency:

  • The first and most important question is: Is the credential evaluator a member of any association including any of the following?

-National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
-American Evaluation Association (AEA)
-European Association of International Education (EAIE)
-American Translation Association (ATA)
-Association of International Credential Evaluators (AICE)
-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 a format necessary 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 these?
  • 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 type of evaluation request be changed once placed? What sort of penalties imply?
  • What policy does the credential evaluation agency have to handle disputes?

The internet has made this process a lot easier in today’s day and age as most credential evaluation associations provide a list of credential evaluators affiliated with them on their site. Further, the websites of these credential evaluators are fairly detailed and many list the details necessary for choosing an appropriate credential evaluator. Some of the primarily used evaluators in the United States include International Education Research Foundation, Inc. (IERF), Advanced Evaluation Services, World Education Service (WES), Educational Credential Evaluators, and Inc. (ECE).

Customer satisfaction is also 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 with giving satisfactory responses with explanations entailing methods, procedures and other considerations involved into the credential evaluation process.