Prior Learning

Did you know that most colleges and programs accept prior learning credits from students? That’s right! The process is called Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and it’s when schools look at your transcripts (if you’ve attended a post-secondary program before) and give you credit for classes you’ve already taken, shortening the time it takes to get your degree! Many schools also accept certification programs, job experiences, and military training as prior learning credits.

Did you have to complete a safety course in order to be employed at your job? Did you receive job training while in the military? Do you regularly write articles, edit memos, and submit reports, even though you don’t have a college degree? These are all examples of prior learning that schools will give you credit for! Some students can skip whole semesters thanks to the training they’ve received in the workplace.

Some schools also accept CLEP tests, wherein you may take an exam proving that you already have the knowledge required to opt out of some general education requirements. If you’re a fluent Spanish speaker, you may opt to take the CLEP exam for Spanish language requirements. If you pass, you no longer have to spend time or money taking a class you already have mastered!

Learning Counts »

This site was created by CAEL (the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning) to help students use their life knowledge and experience to get college credit.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) »

Learn about getting college credit by earning a qualifying score on any of 33 exams. The CLEP program can save time and money towards your college degree if you already have knowledge in a particular field through independent study, prior course work, or job experience.

Experiential Learning Program, University of Memphis »

The University of Memphis offers the opportunity to complete “Portfolio Modules,” whereby a student can earn college credit for life experiences.

To discuss additional schools and programs in the Memphis area that offer prior learning assessment, contact our College Resource Center or an Education Advisor. 

Find Online Colleges Accepting Transfer Credits »

Tips and advice for transferring to an online program from Affordable Colleges Online.