by Ann M. Koenig,
Associate Director, International
A “professional” degree is a credential that meets the academic requirement on a pathway to licensure or certification in a regulated field of employment in a specific legal jurisdiction.
The components of a professional degree are different from those of a general degree at the bachelor’s level—
a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science, for example—
which typically has a general education component, major requirements, possibly a minor, and upper and lower division requirements. Professional degree programs focus on academic and applied preparation for the practice of a specific occupation that
is regulated by a body external to the academic institution, for the protection and benefit of the public. The level and scope of professional degree programs varies around the world.
So what happens when the holder of a professional degree from outside of the United States wants to continue her or his education at a US higher education institution?
Usually it is very difficult for a foreign professional degree holder to qualify to practice the profession in the United States, or in other countries, for that matter. Such qualifications are not easily transferable, because of the differences
in qualifying requirements from one jurisdiction to another. That is true even within the United States, where licensing or certification requirements can differ from state to state.
If internationally-educated professionals decide to “go back to school” in the United States, either to change directions academically or continue their professional education at a higher level, what are their options?
This year’s AICE Syposium at the AACRAO Annual Meeting in New Orleans will address these questions in an interactive forum on Saturday, April 4, the day before the AACRAO Annual Meeting begins. AICE (Association of International Credential
Evaluators) is an organization of international credential evaluation providers that provides guidelines and standards in credential evaluation and professional practice.
With the theme “Setting the Standard: Evaluating Professional Qualifications in Law and Medicine from Around the World,” the AICE Symposium will bring together colleagues in
professional schools and a variety of admissions environments with experts in the areas of professional education, professional regulation, higher education admissions, and international credential evaluation, for a discussion of the US models for
legal and medical education, and how professional degrees in law and medical fields from outside of the US can be evaluated and applied to further studies in US higher education.
Be part of this discussion!
The AICE Symposium offers the opportunity to gain valuable information from experts and offer your insights and questions that relate to your role in working with internationally-educated applicants and international credentials. The program focus
is driven by questions posed by international evaluation professionals about how foreign professional degrees should be viewed in US higher education, probably the same questions you have. The mode is interactive and the atmosphere is collegial.
Whether you come from a professional school, work in an undergraduate admissions office, are involved with graduate admissions, or work for an agency that evaluates international credentials, you will leave the AICE Symposium with
greater knowledge of the academic backgrounds of credentialed legal and medical professionals from other countries,
a deeper appreciation of the breadth of options that can be available to them in the United States, including at your own institution or in your evaluation work,
and information and tools that will help inform you about what those options could be in your admissions or evaluation environment.
Further information and registration for the AICE Symposium are available through the AACRAO Annual Meeting Web site.