Whether you work for an independent training center or run a training organization within a larger company, you have to worry about making your classes attractive to potential students. One way to set yourself apart from other training options is to arrange for students taking your classes to receive college credit for their work. In this article, we’ll give an overview of the process. In the future, we’ll go into this process in more detail.

What to do first
Your first step in seeking college credit for your training classes is to contact the American Council on Education (ACE), which oversees the process for college credit recommendation. While not a lobbying organization per se, ACE is an umbrella organization that advocates the interests of higher education in the political process and works to ensure that the issues associated with higher education are addressed by legislators.
American Council on Education One DuPont Circle NW, Suite 250Washington, DC 20036-1193202-939-9433POC for new business:Nancy Musick (202-939-0714)
The goal of ACE’s College Credit Recommendation Service is to help people begin or complete their education based on what they have already learned outside the classroom. The program originated with the military, where service personnel returning from World War II were awarded college credit based on their military training. Today, the process for achieving college credit has remained remarkably the same. Training providers listed as ACE clients include the American Research Group/Global Knowledge, Dale Carnegie and Associates, Executrain, Informix, Langevin, and New Horizons.
Access: Allowing adult learners into the higher education system via workplace training.Credibility: Credit is granted based on the evaluation by, and recommendation of, actual teaching faculty.Efficiency: Workplace training courses are directly correlated to semester hours and degree programs, making it easy to transfer credits into actual degree programs.Partnerships: The relationships that ACE has built with business and educational organizations enhance the credibility of each party involved.
The process of certification
The actual process for certifying training classes for college credit is simple but rigorous. Here’s how it works:

  1. Your organization applies for ACE certification and schedules a course review.
  2. A team of ACE-affiliated professors evaluates the training curricula and materials at your facility.
  3. If your course or courses are accepted, the review team recommends college credit at one of five levels: vocational, associate’s degree, lower-level baccalaureate, upper-level baccalaureate, or graduate degree.

Each credit recommendation is valid for three years, assuming that no content changes have been made to the course. In addition, ACE audits each course on a yearly basis, to ensure that the courses comply with its standards.

If your training courses do not meet ACE’s requirements for college credit, ACE offers a transcript service that your company can use to track and maintain customer continuing education units (CEUs). CEUs are important to adult learners who may not be actively seeking college credit, but who want to maintain a record of job-related training they’ve received. The transcript service ACE provides promises a lifelong record of job-related training.

How much does it cost?
ACE certification is not inexpensive. The initial application is $500, and the annual service fee is $3,250, which includes a listing in, and a subscription to, ACE’s National Guide. The fees for having courses evaluated for credit do fluctuate, as they are based on the travel and lodging expenses of the reviewing team (in the $8,000 ballpark).

What does your training company or department get in return for this investment? By offering training courses that confer college credit, your training organization can charge higher training fees. If you are part of an in-house training team, your courses will be more attractive (and more important) to students. In 1995, ACE’s student database listed over 55,000 learners. That list is expected to grow to over 200,000 by the end of the year 2000, in large part due to the need for adults to continue to improve their skills and knowledge in the information economy.

ACE certification is a major commitment. But obtaining it also marks your organization as a major player in the field of training and development. Most important, it will set your organization apart and enhance the value of your training classes.

Bob Potemski, MS, CTT, is a writer and trainer transplanted from New York. He and his five dogs now make their home in the Midwest. Bob has a bachelor’s degree in science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master’s degree in counseling from Long Island University. He has spent the last 10 years working in human development.

We’d like to hear from you! Let us know if your organization has any courses certified by ACE, and if so, what benefits your organization has derived. If you don’t offer ACE-certified courses, what do you think about the program? Would you be interested in pursuing the certification in the coming year? Please post your comments at the bottom of this page or send us a note .