Credential Evaluation: Importance, Agencies, Reports, and Cost

Credential evaluation is a process of comparing professional degrees from one country to their equivalents in another country. Colleges, universities use them, and even employers worldwide to assess applicants’ foreign education for admission to colleges or employment. This can also be used by immigrants for their overseas education in other countries to gain recognition. The process can come in handy while applying for skilled immigration. International students also use credential evaluations to present the coursework and grades to foreign universities where they want to take admission.

A WES credential evaluation is required for educational institutions in the United States. WES/EP evaluation is used to compare overseas academic achievements to the standards in the US or Canada. It helps licensing boards, educational agencies, employers, and immigration officials understand applicants’ educational records. You can also get an International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) which stores your assessment report and checked transcripts so that you can submit them to colleges/universities anytime. You also get a WES digital badge that can display credentials on platforms like LinkedIn.

The credit documentation takes seven business days after reviewing and accepting your documents required for WES evaluation. 

Importance of Credential Evaluation

Simply put, a credential evaluation is the evaluation of your academic qualification by experts to check its equivalence with that of a different country. It is mostly conducted in countries like the USA and Canada. It is not only for the students applying for overseas studies but also for individuals seeking work in these countries. Professionals have to submit evaluated degrees during documentation.

Benefits of credential evaluation:

  • Acceptance and Recognition: Credential evaluation helps individuals with degrees/transcripts get recognition equivalent to an educational level of attainment in the US. Further, it allows them to apply for appropriate jobs. Similarly, international students can apply for admission to colleges/universities in the US after evaluating their educational credentials from their home country.
  • Better Learning Compatibility: Having your credentials evaluated by a professional body ensures that your qualifications match the required standards of a foreign institution. As the students come from various academic systems and environments, the credential evaluation also ensures that they are not at a disadvantage compared to their classmates. It provides uniform opportunities and comparable intellectual strength reducing the chances of students facing a hard time at the campus.  
  • Save Money and Time: The absence of evaluation can cause applicants to repeat an educational level that they have already completed in their home countries. It can waste money and time. The verification also opens new avenues for professionals to acquire licenses and permits to continue working without any interruption.
  • Peace of Mind: Evaluation of credentials by the right agency reduces uncertainty. It helps the certificate holder tet some peace of mind as they know that the credential is equivalent to the ones earned in the US.

American employers and educational institutions accept credential evaluation by approved agencies which include the World Education Service (WES), Bruscan Educational Information Services (BEIS), and Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE).

Different agencies for Credential Evaluation

Following are three popular credential evaluation agencies:

  • World Education Services (WES)
  • Educational Perspectives (EP)
  • Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE)

What is WES?

WES or World Education Service is a non-profit organization that provides credential evaluations for immigrants and international students planning to study or work in the US or Canada. Based in New York, US, WES has operations in Toronto, Canada as well.

The evaluation process at WES starts with candidates sending the required documents. A credential evaluator is assigned to verify and authenticate the documents. The credentials are assessed based on the education system of your home country, the reputation of the educational institution you attended, the curriculum of your program, and all the other requirements that you had to fulfil at the time of admission to the college or university. 

The collected information is mapped as per the American or Canadian standards. The grades, credit hours, and the courses are converted to the American or Canadian equivalent points. Once the first evaluation report is generated, it is reviewed to check accuracy. It is then sent to a senior credential evaluator for approval. The entire process takes around 7-8 business days from submitting the documents by the candidate. 

What is EP?

EP or Educational Perspectives is a non-profit foreign education consulting organization that helps applicants assess their degrees to be recognized across the world. The members of the EP evaluation team are highly trained and are passionate about the foreign education sector. The evaluator is a member of the European Association for International Education (EAIE), the National Association of Graduate Admission Professionals (NAGAP), and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars (AACRAO)

EP has been associated with the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) since 2003. It is also a signatory to the Groningen Declaration, which intends to establish a popular forum for individuals pursuing academic and technical assistance for migration from other countries. The EP evaluation and the certificate assessment need only five days to complete the process.

What is ECE?

ECE or Educational Credential Evaluators is a non-profit organization providing public service. The ECE checks the equivalence of educational qualifications from other countries with the ones earned in the US. It is over 40 years old and has supported more than 600,000 applicants in the last 10 years of operation. 

Notable features of reports prepared by the ECE: 

  • High quality and integrity
  • Competitive pricing
  • Available online
  • Good customer service
  • Quick turnaround time of 5 business days.

The reports of ECE are valid for 5 years, and students aspiring to study in the US can invest in ECE evaluation. One of the best reasons to choose ECE as your credential evaluation provider is its unmatched quality, thanks to its rigorous standards and integrity. ECE was awarded the Torch Award for Ethics in 2018 by the Better Business Bureau.

Different kinds of Credential Evaluation Reports

A basic credential evaluation is an overall evaluation of the diploma or degree. On the other hand, a detailed evaluation report includes the candidates’ grades, credits, and course content. A thorough evaluation is mandatory in cases where the credits have to be transferred to a different university or educational institution.

A basic report includes an evaluation of the degree/diploma and all other details according to the education system of the foreign country. The college or university of the candidates is judged based on the recognition of the university, requirements for admission or entrance, credential, the field of major/ specialization, program duration, date of completion of the course, etc.

Additional analysis of each course or transcript incurs extra charges. It will convert the reports into credit hours or even grades as per the American or Canadian equivalent. Some institutes calculate the Grade Point Average (GPA), a standardized system mostly followed by the US. A document-by-document evaluation is mostly recommended for undergraduates or freshmen. A course-by-course evaluation is apt for transfer admission and graduate applicants.

Credential Evaluation Cost

Detailed evaluations are of different kinds, and costs can vary as per the requirements. The expense depends on factors like the depth of analysis, the number of courses, the time required for processing, charges of the agency, etc. Therefore, the basic evaluation report costs around USD 70 (Rs 5,155) to USD 150 (Rs 11,065). A detailed report costs around USD 150 (Rs 11,065) to USD 350 (Rs 25,818). The total fee amount also depends on the specific requirements of employment, academic, visa, etc.

Another factor that can determine the cost of credential evaluation services is the language. A lot of students applying for studies in the US have their certifications in a native language. Most credential evaluation providers also offer translation services; however, they are usually priced above the simple document verification services. Students can also get a copy of their evaluation report for a nominal fee so that they do not have to repeat the process in the future.

If you are wondering how to choose a credential evaluation service according to your needs, there are a few factors that you should keep in mind:

  • Specific requirements of educational institution: One of the foremost things to keep in mind while selecting a credential evaluation is to choose the one that the college/university has requested. Many US educational institutions require their students to go through some specific credential evaluation services, and it may not be accepted if you offer the reports of a different evaluator. Therefore, it is a good idea to wait till you hear from the college or university before investing hard-earned money. 
  • Your course and profession: Some specific evaluations are favored by the type of industry or profession that you wish to join. It is better to select an evaluator accepted widely in your industry. You can connect with like-minded students and even professionals or get in contact with an admission counselor for advice. 
  • The purpose of the evaluation: Your choice of credential evaluator needs to align with the purpose of the assessment. For example, certain evaluators are popular among educational institutions, while others may be preferred by the professionals seeking employment. 
  • The turnaround time: While most evaluators have a similar time frame for evaluation, some might be able to offer an express service depending on your deadline. Some premier evaluators, such as ECE, boast of providing a credential evaluation report 5 days, the quickest. 

While choosing the right credential evaluation service might not be an immediate requirement, it is a good idea to understand various credential evaluation providers and their offerings. This way, you can save precious time during your university/college admission. It is also ideal to get additional documents such as a transcript of marks evaluated along with the core academic credentials.

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