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How To Get College Credit For Life Experience

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Ways To Save Time And Money With Prior Learning

Earn Credits for Life and Work Experience through the Prior Learning from Experience program

Did you know you could earn college credit for work experience or prior knowledge? By taking advantage of certifications, experience and knowledge you already have or are actively pursuing you can earn credit for what youve already learned, saving you time and money.

Whether you’re completing your degree or just getting started, there are lots of ways to earn credit at SNHU. If you dont have any qualifying certifications, you can also earn college credit by testing out of college courses.

Below, weve included previous work and life experiences that could qualify for college credit.

College Credits Based On Life Experience

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What Courses Can I Submit A Pla For Credit

Typically, schools allow a PLA in the form of examinations or portfolios to be submitted for a wide range of undergraduate courses. However, most schools will not allow credit for life experience to be applied to graduate degree programs. By researching your schools specific policies, you will be able to see the exact courses and descriptions that are eligible for PLA credit.

Some schools have exemptions that do not allow for a portfolio to be submitted for credit in certain classes, including composition courses, activity courses , and Math. If this is your schools policy, it is best to attempt credit by examination to receive college credit for your previous life experience.

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Students Can Save Money

A college credit hour at a four-year nonprofit institution cost a median $530 in 2020, assuming 12 credit hours per semester. That means students who gain one semesters worth of classes through work/life credit could save $6,360. Generally, the less time students spend in school, the more money they will save. Costs like room and board, books, and transportation also add up quickly. So students who take advantage of life experience college credits could save a lot on costs.

Thomas Edison State University

At American National University, we know that the same ...

Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey recognizes bachelors-level knowledge regardless of how it was acquired. TESUs PLA process enables college students to self-evaluate and check their eligibility for college credits. The universitys credit-by-exam program or TECEP can also be utilized to earn college credits through a final test instead of going through the entire coursework. CLEP and DSST programs also accept credits gained through other assessment procedures.

TESU also has an open course alternative that permits college students to attend free online courses through the Saylor Foundation. The knowledge they have acquired from these online courses can then be applied through credit-by-exam programs, TECEP, and portfolio evaluation. TESU also accepts life experiences and converts it to college credits through effective professional training programs, optional military training, and portfolio assessment.

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Earning College Credit For Work Experience

With 84% of online students earning their bachelors degrees while employed1, colleges that give credit for work experience ease students financial burden while also reducing the amount of time required to complete a degree.

Every university varies in what work experience it considers eligible for college credit, but most institutions consider documented achievements closely related to the degree being sought. For example, if a student has experience putting together an IT manual for new employees related to navigating a companys intranet, this may be applicable toward a Bachelor of Science Professional Technology Studies.

Similarly, if a student has experience owning or operating a small business, their intimate understanding of finance and operations would be applicable to a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Studies.

Other examples of eligible work experience might include:

  • Licensure/Certification
  • Creating company manuals and instructional documents
  • Military experience

Get College Credit For Life Experience With Prior Learning Assessment

Are you an adult student interested in enrolling in college? Would you like to find a way to accelerate your degree program and save money on tuition? Then its worth looking into the unique opportunities provided by many colleges that allow you to gain college credit based on your life experience!

There are countless ways that you learn throughout your lifetime, and formal education is only one of the methods in which you can gain skills and knowledge to support your future career. Whether you learned a foreign language by traveling the world or have worked your way up in your current career through exceptional communication and leadership skills, all of your experiences can add up to a wealth of wisdom and college credit!

Today, many of the nations top accredited universities are recognizing the unique skills that adult students bring to their college degree program. By offering college credit for life experience, these schools are able to acknowledge the prior experience of adult students and help them save time and money when furthering their education!

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University Of Maryland University College

Students at the University of Maryland University College in Adelphi, Maryland are offered two opportunities to earn college credits from experiential learning. One is through course challenges in which the student needs to pass a specific exam and another is through a prior learning portfolio, wherein students need to provide complete details and add value to their lifelong experiences.

University Credit Through Competency Exams

Get College Credit For What You Already Know: Create a Learning Portfolio!

If youre a well-read natural learner, both these schools will also let you take competency exams to earn college credit in areas such as American history, foreign languages, literature, business law and finance.

Capella University was approved by The U.S. Department of Education to offer an innovative FlexPath direct-assessment program in August 2013 making Capella one of the first schools to offer competency-based bachelors and masters degree programs that utilize an approved direct-assessment learning model.

Capellas FlexPath programs offer the potential to significantly reduce the cost of a degree, accelerate the time required for degree completion, and better align learning to the needs of the student.

Traditionally, degree programs are constructed around credit hours that measure the time required to complete specific courses. Under Capella University’s Flexpath program, degree programs are constructed around the direct assessment of demonstrated competencies.

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What Are 5 Ways To Get College Credit For Work & Life Experience

As college degrees have become mandatory to pass certain thresholds of the job market, schools have been making a concerted effort to accommodate non-traditional students. The American Council on Education started their College Credit Recommendation Service in 1974 in order to help create academic equivalency tests and other means of validating life experiences for prospective students who are looking to obtain a degree in order to attain their desired job or promotion.

Is It Possible To Get 15 College Credits Fast

Yes. And depending on your current knowledge and past experiences, you can even get 15 college credits in a single day.

It might seem far-fetched, but its true and we will walk you through the process step-by-step in this guide.

  • If you have a great deal of work or life experience, use your life experience to get college credit.
  • Feel confident taking multiple choice tests? Get 6 college credits in 90 minutes.
  • Prefer taking actual college classes? Several universities offer fast-track courses online.

We prefer to use a mixture to maximize our credit opportunities: Test out of classes + Credit for experience + Accelerated classes.

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Learn More Ways To Earn Credit At Aiu

If you are thinking about returning to school, learn more about your options before you get started! View AIUs transfer credit information to find out how you may receive credit for previous college, military, or work experience*.

1. How the CLEP Program Works. The College Board. Retrieved from: .2. College Credit By Examination . DANTES. Retrieved from: .

* Transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis. Not all credits are eligible to transfer. See the University Catalog for transfer credit policies.REQ1508008 2/21/2020

  • Online students particularly need to create their own system to stay productive, healthy and happy. These six tips can help you maintain your physical, mental and emotional well-being while preventing burnout, fatigue and loneliness.

Ways To Receive Credit For Previous Experience

6 Ways to Get College Credit for Work and Life Experience ...

There are many methods schools use to award students credit for their previous life experience. Here are a few of them:


Some colleges allow students to take tests to prove knowledge and experience. This knowledge and experience is then rewarded with college credit. There are two prominent tests. Before you sign up to take them, be sure to check which tests have been approved by the institution you wish to attend. They are:

  • CLEP : The College-Level Examination Program allows you take tests to potentially receive college credit. Your score on the test determines the amount of credit you can receive. CLEP is recognized by 2,900 colleges across the country.
  • DSST :DANTES is a program that helps military personnel earn college credits for the training and experience they accrue during their service. The DSST program is the standardized test for DANTES recognized by over 1,900 colleges around the country. It offers 30 different tests, each around $80 each , that can lead to college credit. However, civilians can take the test as well. Unlike CLEP tests, DSST tests are available for lower-level and higher-level college courses. DSST is available for free for military personnel or for a fee for civilians.


A portfolio program helps an adult learner put together a catalog of their professional experience. Consider the portfolio a beefed-up version of your resume. Your portfolio should include examples of projects youve completed with detailed descriptions.

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Earn College Credit For Work & Life Experience

The skills youve gained from work and life may count as credit toward your degree. Prior Learning Assessment gives you the chance to apply those credits as you start school so you can:

  • Reduce the overall cost of your education
  • Earn your degree faster

of undergrad students, on average, were eligible to receive PLA credits.

Showcase Your Knowledge And Skills

Write an essay that provides specific information about how your professional experiences have helped you gain new knowledge and skills. Consider this paper a cover letter to go with your resume. Check into word count guidelines before you begin writing. For example, Framingham State University suggests 750 to 1,000 words as an appropriate essay length. Refer to the applicable course objectives as a prompt for what you should include. For example, if youre trying to gain credit for a business marketing class, describe professional positions related to marketing and show examples of your work. Address each core competency outlined in the course outline in detail. This paper is an opportunity to reflect upon what youve accomplished and how you benefited from the experiences.

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How Can I Get Started

You must first be admitted to the University and be enrolled in a program that is eligible for PLA (a limited number of programs are not eligible. Please speak with your Enrollment Representative to learn more. If youre already student, you can visit the PLA page on your student portal to start the process.

How Long Does It Take To Get 15 College Credits

Program offers real-life work experience and debt free college experience

How long it takes to get 15 credits will depend on the length of your colleges academic terms. If the college offers accelerated classes, you can typically earn 15 college credits in 12 to 16 weeks.

If you want to speed up the process, you can also take CLEP or DSST exams to help you earn your college credits at a faster pace.

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Receiving Class Credit For Military Training And Work

Fourth, active-duty or veteran men and women in uniform qualify for life/work credit. Brave service in the U.S. Armed Forces for Uncle Sam potentially counts for several credits. The Department of Defense is another ACE partner with credit-approved Pentagon programs. Enduring military bootcamp can fulfill all physical education and first aid core courses. Training for your enlisted military occupational specialty , such as aviation or cyber operations, may satisfy major courses. Most military experience credits are granted for lower-division, 100- and 200-level classes. Requesting a;Joint Services Transcript;is necessary to get these work/life credits. Colleges might require the DD Form 214 for honorable discharge. The American Council on Education estimates that 2,300 colleges allow military experience credits. Dont forget to also cash in your military benefits. Connect with your financial aid offices VA certifying official to access Post-9/11 GI Bill funds. Since 2008, the Yellow Ribbon Program has further helped our nations heroes afford annual out-of-state, private, and graduate tuition up to $24,476.;;

Creating An Academic Portfolio Of Life Experiences

First, adults can receive work and life experience credits by making a personalized portfolio. This is called a;Prior Learning Assessment;portfolio. PLAs are designed to document the unique achievements youve accomplished in your career. Youll create a title page and cover letter describing your reasons for petitioning credit. Attach an up-to-date resume with chronological positions and job descriptions listed. Feature at least one to two references from employers or supervisors attesting to your skills. Include copies of awards youve won and certifications youve completed. For creative majors, supply detailed images of 10-20 original artworks youve produced. For English or writing majors, print out articles or blog posts youve published. For computing majors, link to online software systems or apps youve coded. Prior Learning Assessments should provide hard evidence of your aptitude. Reference the syllabus to each course youre seeking credit for. Prove to the PLA committee that youve already met the course competencies.

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Get A Head Start On Your Degree Program At Ctu

Colorado Technical University believes that both college course transfer credits and work and life experience credits should count toward fulfilling relevant degree program requirementsafter all, not all learning necessarily happens in a traditional classroom setting. Thats why we offer several programs that provide different opportunities for you to receive college credit for life experience and prior learning.1 Transferring-in college course equivalency credits, taking CTU Fast Track exams,2 creating Experiential Learning Portfolios , utilizing military education benefits, possessing professional certifications,1 and scoring well on standardized tests are all ways to potentially earn work and life experience credits toward your chosen traditional or online degree program, saving you both time and money.1

What Is The Process For Submitting A Pla

What Are 5 Ways to Get College Credit for Work & Life ...

The process of earning credits for life experience depends upon the route you choose to take. For example, if you want to earn credit by examination, you can register for the approved exams online and submit passing results directly to your college.

If you choose to use the PLA portfolio option, it is important to understand that it is not a speedy process, and you will want to take into consideration the length of time you will need to adequately prepare your portfolio for review. Required preparation classes may be several weeks long, and you will also need to allow additional time to finish developing your portfolio before submitting it for evaluation.

The typical portfolio submission process consists of the following steps:

  • Meeting with an academic advisor to understand your schools specific PLA policies
  • Completing any prerequisite requirements and PLA preparation courses
  • Development of your portfolio
  • College evaluation of your portfolio, which may include interviews and additional documentation

Regardless of the path you choose to take for your PLA, it is essential that you are familiar with the specific course descriptions for the classes in which you hope to receive credit. You have the highest chance of earning credit for life experience when you can adequately prove that your knowledgebase includes all areas of learning that the course covers.

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Drop Back In Credit For Life Experience Helps You Finish Your Education In No Time

Did you drop out of school? You arent alonenot by a long shot. Many adults are in that very situation, and now they are choosing to go back to school to earn their degrees. Some of them needed to drop out of school for a job or to raise a family. Others might not have had the funds to continue on their educational path. But over the years, things change. Are you one of those ambitious students ready to go back and get that degree? Start 2011 off the right way; start working toward a better life.

According to the New York Times, almost 70 percent of high school students enroll in college within two years of their graduation. However, only 57 percent of those in bachelors degree programs graduate within six years. Fewer than 25 percent of those who attend community college in search of an associate degree actually complete the program within three years.

Now is when you need that degree. According to a report by Financial Newsline, up to 35 percent of all new job growth will require a college degree. A recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that higher degree attainment has a direct correlation with higher income, and in most cases, lower unemployment rates. In short, a degree now equals good job security in the future.

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