NMRC students collaborating on white board

Credential Evaluations

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 my evaluation report sent?
  • How do they want the 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?
  • If I need documents, such as transcripts and diplomas, from my home country or school, can I get them or will they be sent to an evaluation company?

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

Professional Licensing

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 licensing 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 coursework to make up for any deficiencies
  • Money to cover the costs of the different steps in the process

NMRC Professional Licensing Guides*

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, teacher, electrician, physical therapist and pharmacist.

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 and answers about anything that is not clear. Maine’s licensing boards are a great resource for getting answers to specific questions about the process. Additionally, in 2021 Maine laws changed for many boards to give them greater flexibility regarding licensing requirements for foreign trained professionals so it is important to be in touch with the licensing board for your profession if you have a problem. It may also be helpful to review the information with a workforce or career advisor. Below are links to the licensing guides.

*Please note that Maine laws and rules change and 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.

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

Foreign-Trained Health Professionals examining an imageThe New Mainers Resource Center (NMRC) at Portland Adult Education (PAE) has released Report of the Foreign-Trained Health Professionals Licensing Pilot Project 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 state’s 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 more information or questions about the report contact:

Sally Sutton
Program Coordinator

“It is a pleasure for me to express my gratitude to NMRC for their support since my arrival here in Portland, Maine in early 2015. I would not be where I am today, had I not benefited from their tremendous support. Even though I had knowledge of some basic English, I would not have landed a job in my field if I had not taken English lessons, job search workshops and taken advantage of the computer lab and other job transition courses sponsored by NMRC. I have gained more knowledge that I am applying in my work that will surely help in my professional advancement. For example, I had the chance to learn some technical English, which I am now using in my job which is in the medical field (pharmacy). NMRC staff consistently followed-up to ensure I succeeded. They assisted me in finding a job, provided great recommendations during my job search, and until today, they check on me to see how I am doing at work. I cannot thank them enough for their care and professionalism.”

Marie Louise M.

Pharmacist from Burundi