Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for prior learning can save students time and money toward their educational goals.

Students can benefit from their previous experiences when attending a California community college.

To accommodate the realities of the working world, the California Community Colleges provide credit for prior learning to students who have gained skills and knowledge outside the classroom. Credit for prior learning gives students a jumpstart on completing their degree and entering the workforce, with some students saving an average of 6 to 10 months.

FAQ

Q:  What is credit for prior learning?
A:  Credit for prior learning is college credit awarded for certain college-level skills and knowledge gained outside a college classroom. Credit for prior learning can save students time and money toward their educational goals.
 
Q:  What experience qualifies for credit for prior learning?
A:  Qualified experience includes college-level knowledge or skills from:
·  Work experience
·  Apprenticeships, internships or other employer training programs
·  Military service/training
·  State/federal government training
·  Volunteer work and civic activities (example: Peace Corps)
·  Independent study
 
Q:  What is the process for determining if a student’s experience qualifies for credit for prior learning?
A:  Colleges use the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process to evaluate a student’s knowledge gained from qualified prior experience. Students may need to take an exam, submit a portfolio, or provide military transcripts. The way credit is determined differs at each community college, so students should both check the course catalog of their local California community college for information about Credit for Prior Learning and speak with a faculty member at the college about the assessment process. 
 
Q:  Is there a fee for Prior Learning Assessment?
A:  No, there is no fee for the assessment. However, if an examination is required, there might be a small fee – the fee will never exceed the cost of tuition for the course and fees vary by college. Contact your local California community college for more information.
 
Q:  Is there a limit to the number of units that can be awarded as credit for prior learning?
A:  Yes. Limits to the number of units a student can receive as credit for prior learning differ per college or district. Contact your local California community college for more information.
 
Q:  Do four-year universities honor credit for prior learning?
A:  In most cases, credit for prior learning will be recognized for transfer. However, as with transfer of all course credit, students should work closely with their counselor to make informed decisions based on their transfer destination.