6 Ways to Get College Credit for Life/Work Experience

6 Ways to Get College Credit for Life/Work Experience

Adult learners who return to school for their college degrees aren’t coming into the classroom empty-handed. Many of today’s students, especially Ashford University students, bring valuable perspective, wisdom, and work experience to daily discussions and research papers, which brings even more perspective to the learning environment. 

For its part, Ashford University supports these adult learners by offering college credit — dubbed non-traditional credits — based on life and work experience. Here are six ways to apply your non-traditional credits toward your bachelor’s degree at Ashford University.

1. Prior Learning Assessment

It’s not uncommon for today’s workers to complete training programs, courses, certifications, and seminars offered by their companies. A number of leading organizations, including AT&T and Amazon, offer these types of programs to employees, and some of them could count as non-traditional prior learning assessment (PLA) college credits. Ashford University will evaluate this experience, and you may be able to apply up to 30 PLA credits toward a bachelor’s degree. 

2. Military Training and Experience

Ashford University students who have served in the Armed Forces begin school with a wealth of experience under their belts. Some have worked with and amassed a knowledge of complicated machinery and computer systems, others have valuable leadership experience, and many more have already completed courses while serving in the military. Ashford University Military Enrollment Services Advisors work with each prospective student to ensure they can maximize their credits using the Joint Services Transcript (JST), as well as any other college transcripts they possess. An incoming student with military and college experience can transfer up to 90 approved credits (including 75 non-traditional credits) toward a bachelor’s degree at Ashford University. 

3. National Credit Recommendation Services

Ashford University partners with two organizations whose sole purpose is to evaluate your experience and help determine whether what you’ve learned or done outside of the classroom can count toward a college degree.

Founded in 1973, the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) will review training and education received from corporations, unions, religious organizations, and proprietary schools. Upon evaluation, the group will make its recommendation to Ashford University, which will determine how much your experience counts toward college credit. 

The American Council on Education (ACE) is another service that will examine your previous experience. Through the group’s website, you can search through a list of companies that offer training to employees and view the courses and exams that could count as college credit. 

4. Nationally Evaluated Courses

Many Ashford University students enter school having completed courses outside of college. These can include the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Saylor Foundation courses, Coursera courses, and courses through the Childcare Education Institute. During the application process, an Enrollment Services Advisor will work with you to determine whether those courses can count toward your degree.

5. National Testing Programs

Many students complete these programs while in high school, and while that may have been a long time ago for adults going to college, those accomplishments may still count. Talk to your Enrollment Services Advisor if you’ve completed Advanced Placement (AP) courses in high school, the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), the DSST Exam, or the Berlitz Language Evaluation.  

6. Transfer Partnerships 

Not all of your prior experience has to come from courses offered through your employer. Ashford University partners with Sophia Learning to offer students free and low-cost online courses that can be applied toward a degree program. These courses are self-paced, meaning you can learn whenever you have time, and they’re available via desktop/laptop or mobile device. 

Additionally, the StraighterLine suite of online courses can also count for non-traditional college credits. These courses have already been evaluated by the American Council on Education, and upon completion, you can submit your StraighterLine transcript to Ashford University to determine if you’re eligible for a tuition grant of up to 15 percent for eight Ashford courses. 

The ability to apply non-traditional credits to a college degree not only helps adults graduate faster, but it also rewards them for previous accomplishments and saves them from repeating lessons they may have already learned. To understand the value of your previous credits, talk to an Ashford Enrollment Services Advisor today. 


Written by Ashford University staff

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Are you currently a licensed RN?

This program requires you to be a current licensed registered nurse. Please check out other programs to reach your education goals such as the BA in Health and Wellness.