6 Ways to Get College Credit for Life/Work Experience

By eansley

6 Ways to Get College Credit for Life/Work Experience

As anyone who's gone back to college after some time off will tell you, maximizing the number of credits you can transfer from your old school to your new one is an absolute must. It's a great way to save time, money, and effort, and it can give you a head start as you dive back into school. But transferring credits between schools isn't the only way to enroll in college with some credits already to your name. Whether you've already logged some classroom time or not, you may have accumulated other forms of valuable work experience (or what is known as "prior learning") that can be translated into college credits. Here at Ashford University, you can earn college credit for some of your prior work experience to save time and money.

Here are six ways you can apply your non-traditional credits toward your bachelor’s degree at Ashford University.

1. Credit from a 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. College Credit for Military 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. College Credit from National Credit Recommendation Services for Accredited Colleges

Ashford University partners with two organizations whose sole purpose is to evaluate your experience, including work 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.  Be prepared to document and explain how your work experiences have theoretical and conceptual value – in other words, how did they give you the kind of knowledge that a college class might? When translating work experiences into credits, this point is a major consideration.

4. Credit from 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. Credit from 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 Credit

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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