In Oklahoma, military experience will convert into academic credits
The Edmond Sun
OKLAHOMA CITY — Thanks to Oklahoma lawmakers, returning veterans will be able to translate their experience and skills into academic credits for workforce training.
Senate Bill 1863, by Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, and Rep. Ann Coody, R-Lawton, creates the Post-Military Service Occupation, Education and Credentialing Act.
When it takes effect Nov. 1, the legislation will allow Oklahoma colleges, university and technology centers to provide academic credit to a military veteran honorably discharged in the previous three years for any applicable education, training and experience received through military duty that pertains to his or her area of study.
Under the law, governing boards must adopt policies for military academic credit by Jan. 1, and courses must meet the standards of the American Council on Education or equivalent standards.
The measure also instructs administrative bodies, state agency directors or officials with authority over professional licensure to accept qualifications received during military service and apply them toward licensure where applicable.
Oklahoma’s Secretary of Veterans Affairs Rita Aragon, of Edmond, praised the bill as a way to help support veterans returning from active duty overseas.
“Our military service men and women deserve our support in honor of their service to our nation,” Aragon said. “This program will allow veterans to transform their unique military skills and training into academic credit and real-world certification.”
Russell said most military personnel don’t have the opportunity to go to college prior to enlisting but they obtain training, education and skills that are just as useful in the workforce.
The bill will help veterans save time by getting them college credits for any training or education they received in the military, Russell said.
“We want to help them get that degree or occupation license or certification as quickly as possible so they can return to the civilian workforce,” he said.
Coody said most employers won’t recognize the alternative training and education veterans receive in the military. This bill will apply their knowledge and skills obtained during service to whatever area of education or employment they are seeking, she said.
SB 1863 also will help the spouses of active military find employment easier by requiring agencies, boards and commissions to develop procedures to expedite the licensure of military spouse applicants.
In order to qualify, the military member must be on active duty within the state or claim permanent residency in the state for six months prior to assignment to active duty or during the period of active duty.
The applicant must be certified in another state to perform those professional services and have left employment in another state to accompany the spouse on active duty.
A temporary permit may be issued if the person needs to complete additional requirements not required in the previous state