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An Official Web Site of the United States Government
Tuesday, January 26, 2021

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 who are selected as FInalists will 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.

If the applicant already has a credential evaluation in this regard, he/she may optionally upload it as part of their application under one of the "Other" Document Types during the application.

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 International Evaluation Standards Council (formerly known as 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.

This documentation is only required from applicants using foreign education to establish eligibility AND only from those who are selected as Finalists. The PMF Program Office will contact such Finalists for documentation to be received no less than 30-days of the request. Such Finalists may have their eligibility revoked if documentation is not timely received and favorably adjudicated.

For further information on the recognition of foreign education and credential evaluation services, (1) refer to the U.S. Department of Education's website at, click on the MS Word link for "Information for Persons Seeking to Work in the United States", and then go to the section on "Selecting a Credential Evaluation Service"; and, (2) from the same webpage referenced above, under the "See also" box, you can click on "Accreditation and Quality Assurance" and then click on the MS Word link for "Postsecondary Accreditation" for information on recognized accrediting agencies. 

UPDATED: 12-03-2020