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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Become a PMF


Education Completed Outside of the United States

Education completed outside of the United States must be deemed equivalent, by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, to that gained in conventional/accredited U.S. educational programs to be acceptable for Federal employment. Most foreign education is not accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A few medical schools are accredited under country standards that have been determined to be "comparable" to U.S. standards by the U.S. Department of Education's National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation.

Applicants from foreign schools may be asked to submit all necessary documents to a private U.S. organization that specializes in interpreting foreign educational credentials, commonly called a credential evaluation service. To be acceptable, the foreign credential evaluation must include/describe:

  • The type of education received by the applicant,
  • The level of education in relation to the U.S. education system, and
  • A statement that its comparability recommendations follow the general guidelines of the U.S. National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials.
  • The content of the applicant's educational program earned abroad and the standards obtained,
  • The status of the awarding foreign school's recognition and legitimacy in its home country's education system, and
  • Any other information of interest, such as:
    • What the evaluation service did to obtain this information,
    • The qualifications of the evaluator, and
    • Any indications as to other problems such as forgery.
A qualifying college or university is an academic institution that meets the requirements as stated in the "General Policies and Instructions" section of OPM's "Qualification Standards for General Schedule Positions", under the "Educational and Training Provisions or Requirements" section. This section is available on OPM's website at Generally, the institution must be accredited or must have acquired "pre-accreditation" or "candidate for accreditation status" by an accrediting body recognized by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. NOTE: OPM's references the National Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials, which has changed its name to the International Evaluation Standards Council.

This documentation is only required from applicants who are eligible to apply to the PMF Program and then only in certain cases where the institution is not formally recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The PMF Program Office will review applicants and contact them if documentation is required. School accreditation is confirmed after the application deadline and prior to selection of Finalists.

Applicants may verify whether their college/university is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (DOEd) by looking up the Federal School Code. Go to the DOEd Federal Student Aid website at Follow the instructions to look up your school. If a foreign school, select "Foreign Country" in the drop-down menu choices under "State", enter the school's name, and then click on "Search". You may need to try different variations of the school's name. Not all schools within a college/university are listed. For example, the law school may not be listed, but the college/university is.

If the search result shows your school's name and associated Federal School Code, then the school is recognized by the DOEd. If no results appear, then you may be asked to use a credential evaluation service. This is determined after the application closes.

For further information on the evaluation of foreign education, refer to the U.S. Department of Education's website at

UPDATED: 07-17-2018