When the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) was founded in 1972, it was then considered the only degree-granting institution of higher education dedicated to enlisted military members. This was an important development for soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines–it meant military service could more formally translate into college credit.
Since then, there have been many important developments in military education, including the ability to convert military skills into college hours.
One such development in the 21st century is the creation of the United States Naval Community College, which according to the official site is designed to help enlisted Marines, sailors, and members of the Coast Guard earn professional credentials, Associate’s degrees, etc.
There have been other programs–some of which were designed to help translate military training into college credit or otherwise use military learning and experience in terms of academic credit. These programs included:
- U.S. Coast Guard Institute Transcript
- Army/American Council on Education Registry Transcript System (AARTS)
- Sailor/Marine American Council on Education Registry Transcript (SMART)
However, those mentioned above have all been replaced by something called the Joint Service Transcript, or JST, which is a system designed for use by the following eligible users who are members of any of the following groups:
- Coast Guard
- Marine Corps
The JST program is different from CCAF and the US Naval Community College. JST provides an “academically accepted document approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) to validate a service member’s military occupational experience and training along with the corresponding ACE college credit recommendations”.
While CCAF and similar programs may require the servicemember to take additional classes to earn a CCAF degree, the Joint Service Transcript is meant to provide civilian-friendly descriptions of the service member’s military education and experience so that a school admissions counselor can properly determine what college credits to offer for that experience.
JST also differs from other programs mentioned above (especially CCAF) because it opens eligibility to all military and not just enlisted members. Who is eligible to obtain a JST?
- All enlisted
- All officers
- All warrant officers
- All National Guard
- All Reservists
- All veterans
Those who have been involved with the Community College of the Air Force must request transcripts directly from CCAF–don’t assume your JST documents will automatically include that information. You can obtain your CCAF transcript by creating an account or logging into your existing account at the Air Force Virtual Education Center.
Registering At JST
Those currently serving will need to use their Common Access Card to set up their accounts, and veterans or those without a CaC are directed to contact the JST Operations Center at [email protected] for assistance.
How JST Works
Servicemembers who set up JST accounts will have their professional military education, military training, job experience, and other factors evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE). This evaluation includes recommendations on college credit based on the nature of training or experience.
These are considered official documents that include the college credit recommendations but also examination scores, information about CLEP, ACT, or other coursework the servicemember completed while serving.
This documentation is delivered to the school you wish to attend. Be sure to ask your admissions counselor about submission requirements and whether you are permitted to hand deliver the documents or whether they must be received by the school in a different manner–your school may not permit you to deliver the information yourself.
In fact, there’s a quote on the JSF official site reminding potential students, “As a general rule, institutions will not accept transcripts from a student. The JST is set up to send official electronic transcripts to institutes so for the most part transcripts are delivered electronically.”
Your branch of military service may have a special form or other requirements for mailing JSF transcripts to programs, employers, colleges or other entities that do not accept digital submissions but require hard copies instead.
You should have the ability to direct your JST to the participating school of your choice through your JST account once set up. If you do not see that function, contact technical support.
Once the college has your JST it will decide what credits to award you for your previous work, training, experience, and other college credits. Some 2000 colleges accept ACE recommendations in this manner, so it’s crucial to make sure the school you select does, too.
Online Delivery, Snail Mail Delivery
You can request online transcript delivery and you can request as many transcripts as you need. In general, transcripts ordered by 11:59 PM central time will be delivered via the web on the next business day after ordered.
The rules for postal service delivery are different–you can order two transcripts within 30 days. Hard copies are mailed on the next business day after the transcripts are ordered.
How Old Can My Academic Data Be?
Your academic information can be as old as or dated as early as 1976. That said, any information older than the year 1999 may not be complete. The JST official site states, “We can include training on your transcript that was taken prior to 1976” but warns that the older your data is, the greater the chance there may be some missing details.
What Happens If My School Isn’t Listed In JST?
Did you know you can contact [email protected] to request a school be added to the list? Try this step if you cannot locate your chosen school within the JST database.
Joint Service Transcripts For Job Seekers
JST resources are available for those looking for jobs instead of schools–you can have your JST sent to a potential employer by completing the Official JST Consent and Request Form with the employer information included–email it to [email protected]
JST Turnaround Times
It’s best to allow at least seven to 10 business days to get movement on any JST request including support and the transcripts themselves. Don’t wait until the last minute to establish an account, make your JST request, or ask for support assistance for a broken website feature or other issues.
Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News