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April 18, 2013
By Mr. Larry D Mccaskill (ACC )

The Army has reached a formal agreement that will enable 51C noncommissioned officers to receive academic credit for completion of various military courses necessary for certification in the contracting career field.

The agreement between Excelsior College, Albany, N.Y., and the Army will allow 51C NCOs to receive college credit for the following Army Acquisition Center of Excellence courses: the Army Acquisition Foundation Course, the Army Intermediate Program Management Course, the Army Acquisition Intermediate Contracting Course, and the Army Basic Contracting Course.

"Excelsior College is a non-profit school with a Defense Acquisition University partnership already, plus they are actively involved in the College of the American Soldier and Sergeants Majors Academy," said Master Sgt. Jason Pitts, 51C proponent NCO, U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center, Fort Belvoir, Va. "It was a perfect blend between contracting and staying in line with ongoing Army initiatives."

According to Pitts, the USAASC Center of Excellence and Excelsior College worked on the agreement and curriculum review. The Army Contracting Command provided NCOs to participate in the military occupational skill interview and review process. This ensured the college understood the complex business interactions/experiences the officers and NCOs receive in their daily duties.

"Ninety eight percent of all the NCOs in career management field 51C are assigned to the Army Contracting Command," said Command Sgt. Maj. John L. Murray, ACC command sergeant major. "The 51C military occupational specialty requires NCOs to have a bachelor's degree in order to obtain contracting certification. NCOs should receive bachelor and graduate-level business credits for the military contracting education they attend. In order to ensure they get the maximum credit they deserve, we partnered with Excelsior College to get them a solid foundation toward completing their education."

Upon completion of the four military courses, the college will award 51C NCOs 43 semester credits toward a bachelor's degree in one of its business degree programs. The program, which was created six months ago, is open to officers, NCOs and civilians who have graduated from the center of excellence.

According to Pitts, individuals who want to take advantage of this program should visit their installation Excelsior College representative and bring with them college transcripts, their service school academic report and other pertinent information for evaluation. The school will conduct a review and award credits and set the individual on the path to receive a bachelor's degree in professional studies in business management.

According to Pitts, Excelsior waived the initial evaluation and sign-up fee, but it participates in the "Go Army Ed" program and standard rates apply. It is the only bachelor degree program offering this service but there is a partnership with Webster University for a procurement and acquisitions management master's degree.

For information on the Webster program, go to http://admissions.webster.edu/admissions/graduate/masters/proc.asp