Prior Learning Credits Q&A
Prior learning credits may be granted for a variety of life experiences. They reflect any specific knowledge you have already attained from prior experience that you can reasonably demonstrate to an instructor are relevant to your chosen course of study. Some colleges and universities may allow you to “test out” of a particular course or waive a course requirement based on prior academic or work experience. Others will ask you to demonstrate proficiency through portfolio development or some other assessment. In sum, different institutions may use different tools or methods including:
- Individualized student portfolios
- Corporate and military training evaluations
- Non-collegiate instructional program evaluations
- Challenge exams to verify learning
- Standardized exams such as Advanced Placement exams (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Excelsior College Exams, etc.
There are a number of resources and services available to help you assess your prior experience. LearningCounts.org is a national authority on prior learning assessment that can help you get college credit for what you already know. The Southern Region Education Board (SREB) has partnered with LearningCounts to help you align your learning from work, military or volunteer experiences with college courses. Try the College Credit Predictor to identify your current subject matter expertise and create a personalized learning assessment action plan.
The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities and administered in over 1,800 test centers. CLEP helps you earn college credit for knowledge acquired through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits or internships.
The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) helps service members and veterans pursue their educational goals both during and after their service. You can check out their guide to earning college credits here.
The American Council on Education’s ACE Credit recommendation is another tool to turn workforce training, military training and other sources of non-classroom learning into college level equivalencies.