Seabees Earn College Credit Through Experience

Story by Susan Lester, Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering Public Affairs

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The American Council on Education (ACE) evaluation is one of several programs managed by the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering (CSFE) that promote Seabee experience and education beyond the Navy. 

While Navy Credentialing Opportunities Online (COOL) (https://www.cool.navy.mil/) identifies industry certifications and qualifications that Seabees may apply for, the ACE reviews formal Navy course curriculum and compares it to what is taught in vocational schools, colleges, and universities across the United States.  The findings lead to recommended college course credits for Seabees as they pursue higher education degrees.  In addition, Seabees are eligible for college credit equivalencies based upon their level of experience (http://www.acenet.edu/news-room/Pages/Military-Guide-Online.aspx)

In September, 12 formal Navy training courses for Seabees were reviewed by the ACE at the Naval Construction Training Center (NCTC) in Port Hueneme, Calif.

Capt. Daniel Cook, NCTC Commanding Officer, stated, “The recent validation of these courses as solid, post-secondary curriculum speaks to the tremendous quality of instruction offered through the Navy’s training commands.  We are proud to provide this high level of training which serves our students in degree completion programs and reinforces the confidence that we have in the skills that our Sailors and Airmen will ultimately use in service to the fleet.”

Since World War II, ACE has worked to recognize the educational value of military training and experience by continuously evaluating military schools, correspondence courses and occupations to determine the amount and level of academic credit each should be awarded. Through ACE, Seabees can receive academic credit for work experience and on-the-job training as well as formal Navy training. The ACE military evaluations program is funded by the Department of Defense (DoD) and coordinated through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES).

Master Chief Joe Maioriello, Senior Learning Program Manager at the CSFE, said, “It is a great feeling to know that Seabees attending training courses developed at CSFE will receive college level credit along with the education and skills they acquire. Off duty education is great and I encourage it for service members. However, the opportunity to attend college while assigned to a deployable NCF unit is sometimes very difficult. The courses our NCTCs and Detachments deliver are not designed to be easy, nor be seen as a readiness check in the block for Unit Commanders, they are designed to challenge each student to excel while they hone a particular skill with in their rating.”

“It is a great feeling to know that our students are receiving the applicable college-level credit for their continued professional education. This puts each Seabee one step closer to achieving a college degree which will benefit them both in and out of the Navy,” he added.

When asked about the success of the ACE course review, David Donnelly, CSFE Director of Training, stated, “When outside organizations such as ACE, consisting of reviewers from many prestigious educational institutions, review our training programs in detail and, as a result, recommend many college/university credits across a wide variety of technical and complex subjects, this directly speaks to the exceptional validity, reliability and high quality training being developed and delivered within the U.S. Navy training programs and specifically by the CSFE domain staffs.”

Forty-seven courses for all seven Seabee ratings have been evaluated and course credit equivalents identified, as follows: 12 Vocational Education Credits; 313 Lower Division College Credits; and 26 Upper Division College Credits.  In addition to credit recommendations for formal Navy courses, Seabees are eligible for college course credit equivalencies based upon on-the-job training and work experience.  The Seabee Rating review conducted at CSFE in 2011 resulted in 680 Lower Division and 149 Upper Division College Credit recommendations.

“Considering the current environment both in and outside the Navy, getting a college degree can be one of the best moves a Sailor can make to be competitive,” said Roland Perez, institutional accreditation manager for the Naval Education and Training Command.  “Getting a degree can be expensive and time consuming, but by using their Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART) and ACE credits can give Sailors a big head start toward a degree.”

To take advantage of ACE recommended credits for their specific ratings, Seabees should visit their nearest Navy College Office or Educational Service Officer to review their SMART transcript and develop an education plan.

For more information on using ACE credits toward a college degree, visit the Navy College Web site at: https://www.navycollege.navy.mil/.

For more information on the Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering, visit their website at: http://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csfe/ .

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