Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Assessment

The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program allows students to earn credit for learning that occurs outside the sponsorship of accredited postsecondary education institutions. PLA is not awarded for experience but for college-level learning which includes knowledge, skills and competencies that students have obtained as a result of their prior learning experiences. PLA credit is awarded through the following methods:

Portfolio – learning through experiences such as reading and study, work and on-the-job training or special classes.

Standardized testing – a preassigned score must be obtained on nationally accepted tests such as College-Level Examination Program (CLEP); Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Educational Support (DANTES); Excelsior College Examinations (ECE); Advanced Placement (AP); International Baccalaureate (IB).    

Published guide – learning received from nontraditional sources such as a military or industry classroom. These courses must have been evaluated by a nationally known organization such as the American Council on Education (ACE) and published in the organization's nationally recognized guide.

Military education and training credit can be transcribed through a Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript or an Army, Marine Corps, Navy or Coast Guard Joint Service Transcript (JST).

ACE service school course descriptions and recommendations are evaluated by PCC.  The evaluation methodology compares the training school course description and ACE credit recommendations with PCC course descriptions for equivalencies. When a service school course is found to be equivalent, the credit is applied. 

A CCAF transcript is evaluated like any transcript received from an accredited college or university. Academic credit will be awarded only for those courses directly applicable to the curriculum requirements of the student's declared degree or certificate program as outlined in the current PCC college catalog.

PLA credits may be used to fulfill up to 75% of the coursework requirements of a PCC degree or certificate program.

Students who wish to receive credit for prior learning and plan to transfer those credits to another college or university should verify that those credits will indeed be accepted by the receiving institution. The receiving institution may desire to re-evaluate the awarded credits received through National Standardized Exams. Policies for awarding transfer credit, especially those received under a PLA program, vary from school to school.

For additional information on college credit opportunities through PLA, please contact the Admissions & Records office at

More Information

Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard service members to include active duty, reserve and veterans must now request a Joint Service Transcript or JST vice their previous AARTS or SMARTS transcript. If you are a member of one of these services in the above categories, please request your transcript through the JST website.

Air Force service members in the above categories can request an Air Force CCAF Transcript.


Admissions & Records Office

Student Center, Room 260