Transfer Non-Traditional College Credit

Get College Credit for Work & Life Experience 

Have you served in the United States Armed Forces? Learned a second language? Started your own business? Your life experience could be worth college credit.

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
  • National Credit Recommendation
  • Military Training and Experience
  • National Testing Programs
  • Nationally Evaluated Courses
  • Transfer Partnership
  • 5 Tips for Transferring Credits

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Your success is our top priority at Ashford University. If you have previous corporate training, continuing education programs, prior school credits, or other nontraditional sources of previous learning, they will be assessed for potential college credit. You may be eligible to transfer up to 90 approved credits toward your bachelor’s degree. These 90 credits include a combination of prior learning assessment (PLA) credits, nontraditional learning, and transfer credits. You may apply up to 30 PLA credits toward degree completion for your Bachelor's program and up to 15 PLA credits toward an Associate of Arts program.

Prior learning assessment in areas related to Ashford University coursework can include:

  • Standardized corporate trainings
  • Certificate programs
  • Seminars

Prior learning can be assessed by providing documentation of training content, hours, and a summarization of learning outcomes and application to an Ashford program. 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)

The ACE reviews training, occupations, and other sources of learning outside the classroom, and 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 salute

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:


While in high school, you may have taken advantage of Advanced Placement (AP) courses. If you did, Ashford University will evaluate those courses and may be able to apply them to your degree. To see how your AP credit can transfer, view the transfer guide.


By passing the Berlitz Language Evaluation, you may earn up to 18 approved credits toward a Bachelor's degree, depending upon your level of language proficiency. Learn more about the Berlitz Language Evaluation.


Earn credit for what you already know through the College Level Examination Program (CLEP). Use these credits to satisfy requirements in your undergraduate program. View the transfer guide.

DSST EXAM (formerly known as DANTES)

Demonstrate knowledge in your field of study with DSST. If you successfully pass or have already passed a DSST, completion of your undergraduate degree may be closer than you think. View the transfer guide. Take the exam at Ashford University's San Diego campus.

Nationally Evaluated Courses

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


If you completed an International Baccalaureate (IB) program, you may be eligible to receive college credit. To see how your courses can transfer into your degree program, check out the transfer guide to get started.


If you completed Saylor Foundation credit aligned courses you may be eligible to receive college credit. To see how your courses can transfer into your degree program, check out the transfer guide to get started.


If you completed Coursera courses you may be eligible to receive college credit. To see how your courses can transfer into your degree program, check out the transfer guide to get started.


If you completed ChildCare Education Institute courses you may be eligible to receive college credit. To see how your courses can transfer into your degree program, check out the transfer guide to get started.

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!

Transfer Partnerships

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 percent 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.