How Do I Earn Credit for Prior Learning?

What Is Credit for Prior Learning?

Credit for prior learning (CPL) is a term that describes knowledge gained outside of a traditional academic environment. Potential areas for credit for prior learning can include:

  • Learning from a variety of experiences and noncredit activities (employer training, volunteering or community service, or independent study)
  • Standardized exams include CLEP, DSST, or AP
  • Industry certifications, licensures, registries, or industry-approved training
  • Military service training
  • Open-source courseware (for example, MIT OCW, Coursera, Saylor, or edX, etc.)

By demonstrating the knowledge gained from these experiences through assessment, you may be able to earn college credit. In addition, credit for prior learning is awarded as if you learned through a traditional class. Therefore, KCTCS CPL options are equated to specific courses helping you maximize your previous learning experiences and saving you money and time to completion.

How Can I Use Credit for Prior Learning?

Credit for prior learning may apply toward majors, minors, concentrations, general education requirements, and electives that count toward the degree or certificate you're seeking. They could also satisfy prerequisite requirements.

What Are the Requirements for Using Credit for Prior Learning?

Credit for prior learning can only be awarded to students who have been admitted to a KCTCS college.

If you are interested in credit for prior learning, meet with your academic advisor or program faculty to ensure that the credit you're interested in will meet the requirements for their academic programs. Changing majors may result in a reassessment of the credit and how it be used toward the new program's educational requirements.

How Much Prior Learning Credit Can I Use?

KCTCS colleges will honor a maximum of 30 credit hours of prior learning credit for an associate degree. However, whether you're seeking a certificate, diploma, or degree, at least 25% of the credit hours required for a credential must be completed at the KCTCS college awarding the credential. This means the amount of prior learning credit you can apply to your credential may be less than the full 30 credit hours.