Get College Credit for Work & Life Experience

Have you served in the armed forces? Learned a second language? Started your own business? A lot of your life experience could be worth college credit. After all, the world is your campus.

You Lived It. Now Use It.

These non-traditional credits can come from work and life experience, military training, or national testing programs. Read on to learn about life credits from non-traditional sources, such as:

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Ashford's Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) team reviews your:

  • work and life experience,
  • training,
  • professional development,
  • continuing education, and
  • workshops

to see if your experience translates into college credit. In most cases, you will need to document what you've learned. Check out the PLA Documentation Guide and the PLA Student Handbook to learn how PLA works.

National Credit Recommendation Services

These two organizations review training and experience and evaluate them for college credit.

American Council on Education (ACE)»
This organization reviews training, occupations, and other sources of learning outside the classroom. ACE then recommends certain experiences as the equivalent of college courses. See if your training or experience has been evaluated.

National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) »
This service evaluates training programs offered outside of a traditional classroom and translates them into college credit.

Military Training and Experience

Many Ashford students have served in the Armed Forces, including the reserves and the National Guard. Ashford recognizes that students learn a lot from boot camp, basic training, officer training school, and many other courses provided by the military. Talk with a Military Enrollment Services Advisor about maximizing credits from your Joint Services Transcript (JST). Ashford will request your JST and other college transcripts on your behalf.

Military Transfer Credit

National Testing Programs

Several organizations offer examinations that you can take for a fee. When you pass, you earn college credit. Here are a few national testing programs you should consider:


Nationally Evaluated Courses

Several organizations offer courses that have been recommended for college credit by national credit recommendation services, like ACE and NCCRS.

  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • Coursera
  • ChildCare Education Institute (CCEI)


Transfer Partnership

Your unique mix of prior learning, military training, and testing could save you time and money. The process of getting your credits approved may require a few weeks, depending on what kinds of life credits you want to earn. But you should invest the time and effort, and contact an Ashford advisor. You are worth it!

ALIGN Degree
ALIGN Degree, is an academic partner that offers low-cost courses recognized for college credit that may transfer toward an undergraduate degree at Ashford University. If a degree program at Ashford meets your academic goals, and you have already taken or are planning to take ALIGN Degree courses, please see the transfer guide on how to maximize your credit potential. 

Ashford's academic partner StraighterLine creates a seamless transfer of course credit toward Ashford's undergraduate programs. If you have taken courses at StraighterLine and wish to continue your academic goals at Ashford, or you are attending Ashford and want to evaluate how courses can transfer to StraighterLine, view the transfer guide.

Ashford University offers a tuition grant to students who successfully complete 12 college-level credits at StraighterLine and matriculate into an online undergraduate program at Ashford. To determine eligibility, students must submit an official transcript to the Ashford University Registrar’s Office, showing successful completion of 12 college-level StraighterLine credits in order to be eligible for the grant. For eligible students, a 15% tuition grant will be applied to tuition charges for 8 attempted courses from the date the student is determined to be eligible. The tuition grant will only apply to future tuition charges and is not retroactive.

The transferability of credits is subject to Ashford University's transfer credit policies, and requires the submission of official transcripts. The official transcripts will be evaluated to determine the credits that will officially apply toward an Ashford University degree program.



Download your free PLA Guides:

How to Document What You Know »

PLA Handbook »

Watch how Ashford graduates used transfer credits to get a head start on their degree.