Access to General Employment
Employers generally require potential employees to provide information about themselves which includes their educational history. As immigrants complete employment forms, they may find their responses do not 'match' the requested or required fields. The terminology often does not align with what is familiar to the applicant. Understanding how their educational background aligns with the system of education in the United States and being able to advocate for their qualifications provides access to employment opportunities. A benchmark credential evaluation typically offers a narrative statement that confirms that an individual has achieved a specific level within an education system. Generally these levels are marked by secondary, undergraduate years of study or degree, or graduate years of education or degree. An individual who has received below a secondary level of education may have difficulty with obtaining an evaluation that mentions a specific benchmark qualification.
Access to Licensed Employment
In most cases, licensed employment requires an added level of information about potential employees' training and education. Regulatory and professional organizations set standards and knowledge points that must be met in order to qualify for a license. In turn, this license represents a generally recognized skill set, or level of ability in that specific field. Licensed employment is widespread and particularly challenging for immigrants because the requirements often vary from state to state. Licensing bodies may require very specific information about previous training programs to determine if the skills achieved meet the standards they have set for the field. Licensed employment encompasses areas the require both academic/professional and vocational education, complicating the process for many individuals who have received their training at a different level from that which is typically completed in the United States.
Access to Education
Assessing international education credentials for entry to further academic study may vary depending on the level of the school the applicant is considering. K-12 entry may only require a benchmark evaluation, while entry to continuing and higher education may involve a more detailed assessment of previous academic work, even in open enrollment institutions. Because placement in appropriate courses and levels often requires a thorough review of previous coursework, beyond a benchmark evaluation, course-by-course international credential evaluations may offer further information regarding the content of the education program- including conversions of course value (credit) and individual grade or GPA equivalencies. In some cases, credential evaluations are able to delineate between upper and lower level coursework. Credential evaluations for prospective applicants into specialized programs, particularly at the graduate school level, may also offer additional insight into the specific cultural context of a specific curriculum.