Prior Learning Assessment

Not all learning is done in the classroom

  • Receive college credit for:
  • Lifelong learning
  • Military training
  • Work or volunteer experience
  • Professional training
  • Prior Business or Technical School Education

Are you learning outside the traditional classroom? See if your experience qualifies for college credit.

Prior Learning Assessment provides students with an opportunity to attain college-level credit for the life, work and education experience they have already mastered outside the traditional college classroom. You could earn college credit for:

  •     On-the-job experience
  •     Professional workshops
  •     Technical and business schools
  •     Military training
  •     Volunteer programs

PLA will save you time and money because your learning experience may qualify for an award of college credit as a substitute for taking a required course.

Applicants can use a number of options to convert prior learning into college credit. Below are some of the ways to convert your life experience into college credit.

Lifelong Learning

To document previous learning, the student will need to compile a portfolio, which is an organized folder of information about specific past experiences and accomplishments. This portfolio will document a student’s skills, experiences and learning equivalent to those that other students have gained in the traditional classroom. Each completed portfolio will be assessed by the appropriate LCCC faculty member.

Challenge Examinations

Those students who cannot fully document their previous learning in a portfolio can request credit by examination. LCCC faculty develop these exams. This option is available for a limited number of courses for which portfolio development is not appropriate, for which standardized exams are not available and that a challenge exam has been developed.

Business-Related Non-Collegiate Courses

The college recognizes credit recommendations from the American Council on Education for courses offered by organizations, such as professional societies, federal agencies, industries and labor unions.

Military Experience

Veterans can request that previous military experience and/or USAFI courses be evaluated for college credit. The college evaluates previous military training according to recommendations from the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experience in the Armed Forces. Official transcripts of training programs or military courses must be submitted to Enrollment Services to begin this process.

Standardized Examinations

Standardized tests measure a person’s knowledge of the material covered in introductory college courses. This testing program is an option for individuals who have had learning experiences in a non-formal setting. Official scores should be sent to Enrollment Services.
    College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a national program of credit by examination and encompasses general and subject exams. The general tests assess knowledge usually acquired through the first two years of college work. The subject tests assess knowledge in specific college courses.
    ACT Proficiency Examination Program (PEP) is a standardized national program offering exams in liberal arts, business and technical areas.
    Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support Program (DANTES) is a standardized subject test offered in various college and technical subjects. The tests cover material usually taught in one-semester or one-year post-secondary courses.
    Excelsior College Exam is a standardized national program with exams in liberal arts, business and technical areas.

Advanced Placement

The college participates in the Advanced Placement Program of the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). In this program, the college grants credit and advanced placement to students with completed college-level courses in approved secondary schools who achieve a score of three or better on the CEEB tests. Applicants for credit for advanced placement should request the CEEB scores be sent to Enrollment Services.


The student must be admitted to LCCC, have registered for courses and declared a major. The student will only receive credit for approved courses that are applicable to the students’ program or degree.

The student must also complete the PLA application, available online, and pay a non-refundable assessment fee of $125 per course. All materials, including the portfolio, should be returned to Scott Aquila in room 112, Student Services Center.

Details on how to prepare a learning portfolio are available here.

For more information:
Scott Aquila
Admissions at 610-799-1575;