What is an evaluation?

An evaluation or equivalency is the process by which a person’s college transcripts and diploma are reviewed to determine if they are equal to a US degree.  For example, is a bachelor’s degree in economics from a school in Iraq equal to a bachelor’s degree in economics degree from a regionally accredited school in the United States, such as the University of Southern Maine.  One step that may be necessary before an evaluation can be done is to first have the documents translated into English. An English translation is not the same thing as an evaluation.

For many new Mainers having an evaluation of their college transcripts and diploma is a very important step in pursuing a career or schooling in the US. Most people want to know the value of their degrees and diplomas.

  • Will an employer or school consider their previous education?
  • Is their degree equal to a US degree? What is the equivalent degree?
  • When is an evaluation of the degree necessary and who should do it?   

The answer to these questions is IT DEPENDS.  Knowing when and how an evaluation should be done is a complicated process.  It can also be expensive, with a translation costing several hundred dollars and the evaluation costing several hundred dollars as well.  

There are several questions a new Mainer should ask themselves and be able to answer before they have an evaluation done.

  • Why am I having it done?
  • Who wants the evaluation report? Where should I have it sent?
  • How do they want to evaluation done?
  • Do I have, or can I get all of the documents they need for the evaluation and submit them the way they want them submitted?

To get a better understanding of the Credential Evaluation or Equivalency process, review the following document: Equivalencies – Credential Evaluations – When are they Needed?  Questions to Ask Yourself.                                             


Many professions in Maine are considered licensed professions.  This means that to be able to do work as that type of professional, it is necessary to meet the requirements for licensure for that profession.  For example, even if a foreign trained engineer has a degree in engineering from their home country and has worked for 10 years as an engineer, they will still need to meet the requirements for licensure as an engineer if they want to work as a professionally licensed engineer in Maine.  

The licensure process can be complicated and expensive.  For most professions it will require, amongst other things:

  • Evaluations of transcripts and diplomas from your home school
  • Proof of work experience and/or the need to obtain additional experience in the US
  • A high level of English competency
  • Very difficult tests
  • Additional course work to make up for any deficiencies
  • Money to cover the costs of the different steps in the process


As a way to help foreign trained professionals understand the licensing process for their profession, NMRC has produced a series of licensing guides to help foreign trained professionals better understand the licensing process for their profession. The professions include: CPA (Certified Public Accountant), engineer, nurse, doctor, lawyer and teacher.

These guides provide detailed information about: the different steps in the process, costs, resources, educational programs and alternative careers.  While the guides attempt to make the process clearer, the information can still be very complicated. It is important to get clarification on anything that is not clear.  Maine’s licensing boards are a great resource for getting answers to specific questions about the process and it may be helpful to review the information with a workforce or career advisor.  Below are links to the licensing guides.

NMRC Accounting Licensure Guide Maine

NMRC Engineering Licensure Guide Maine

NMRC Lawyer Licensure Guide Maine

NMRC Maine Nursing Licensure Guide

NMRC Physician Licensure Guide Maine

NMRC Teaching Certification Guide Maine

*Please note that professional licensing boards update their procedures and make changes to their websites and applications.  NMRC will make every effort to keep these guides up to date, but information may change so it is important to confirm the information in the guides with the data available on a licensing board’s website.

Report of the Foreign Trained Health Professional Licensing Pilot Project

New Mainers Resource Center, Portland Adult Education

 New Report Provides Framework for Upskilling Maine’s Foreign Trained Health Professionals

The New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) at Portland Adult Education (PAE) has released a report with findings and recommendations aimed to reduce the barriers that foreign trained health professionals face in obtaining employment in the healthcare field. 

The recommendations from this report come at a critical time as Maine’s healthcare systems struggle with COVID-19 and disparity in health continues among minority populations. Establishing quicker and more cost-effective pathways for immigrant healthcare professionals to return to practice could result in a significant increase in the diversity and cultural competency of the state’s healthcare workforce which is one way to begin addressing these health disparities.

Implementation of the recommendations in the report will address the states need for healthcare workers in a number of ways. Implementation of the recommendations should:

  • Help foreign trained healthcare workers reach their highest potential
  • Address the state’s goal to achieve a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce
  • Meet the needs of healthcare employers, and address the state’s healthcare workforce shortages
  • Attract skilled healthcare workers to Maine.

Funding for the Foreign Trained Health Professional Licensing Pilot Project research came from the Maine Health Access Foundation.

For a copy of the report go to:  Report of the Foreign Trained Health Professional Licensing Pilot Project


Findings and Recommendations for Removing Barriers to Licensing

The New Mainers Resource Center has produced a report highlighting the skills and education of Maine’s foreign trained professionals and the challenges they face resuming their professions.    

The report: Foreign Trained Professionals: Maine’s Hidden Talent Pool, Findings and Recommendations Regarding Certification and Licensure, is based on an analysis of national and local occupational licensing policies, a review of professional licensing for several key professions in Maine, and NMRC’s experience working with hundreds of foreign trained professionals each year and the challenges they face as they seek to re-start their careers in Maine.

Our findings and recommendations cut across the decentralized system of licensing. Some recommendations may be very minor including how information should be displayed on a licensing board’s website and others may attempt to address systemic issues regarding access to documents or resources needed to cover the costs associated with licensing.

For a copy of the report go to: Foreign Trained Professionals: Maine’s Hidden Talent Pool, Findings and Recommendations Regarding Certification and Licensure.

For more information or questions about the report contact:  Sally Sutton, Program Coordinator at 207-874-8155 or