College Credit for Work Experience

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Category: Going Back to School

By Matt Rowley
Posted on

College isn’t just for recent high school graduates. According to 2019 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 15.6% of all undergraduate students were 30 or older, and 44.7% of all graduate students were 30 or older.

Many adult learners have ample work experience before they even begin their college courses, but some might not realize that they can leverage relevant work experience for college credit, helping them complete their degrees in less time and at less cost. Awarding credit for prior learning can benefit students, colleges and employers.

In this article, we provide an overview of how to get college credit for work experience, including the common types of work experience that can qualify.

Types of Work Experience That Qualify for College Credit

Many kinds of work experience can qualify for college credit, and they often fall into four main categories:

  1. Military Experience: Serving as an active or reserve member of any branch of the military may help you earn college credit. Military credits may depend on how you served, what trainings you completed, what titles you held, and what levels of proficiency you attained during your service.
  2. Corporate Experience: Professional corporate experience can be highly valued in the college arena, and your hands-on experience in the real world can translate to college credit. One example may be professional development you’ve received through your employer, such as seminars, retreats, workshops and conferences.
  3. Certifications: If you’re self-motivated, you may have earned certifications on your own that are related to your career. If earned from accredited institutions or organizations, these certifications can translate into college credit.
  4. Professional Licenses: If you hold a professional license – anything from an engineering or CPA license to a real estate or aviation license – you may be able to leverage these credentials for college credit.

You’re not limited to just these four areas. Different schools may have their own ways of handling college credit for work experience, so contact your admissions team for more details.

How to Get College Credit for Work Experience at CSU

Here at Columbia Southern University, we believe in making it easy for students to get the college credit they deserve. We use standard guidelines when determining credit and require testing to verify results.

  • For technical credit, a review and decision will be completed by the relevant CSU academic program director.
  • For experiential or equivalent learning, a prior learning assessment will be given by qualified subject matter experts with experience in evaluating prior learning.
  • For those with professional licenses and certifications, the recommendations for the ACE National Guide will be followed.
  • For those with military experience, the recommendations for the ACE Military Guide will be followed.

Other types of work experience may be considered via a credit-by-examination process or an academic program director. More details, including the maximum number of credit hours allowed for various degree levels, are available in the CSU Transfer Credit Policy.

Getting Started

When going back to school, don’t forget to apply for college credit for work experience. By doing so, you may be able to reduce the amount of time it would ordinarily take to finish a degree program, save on your tuition and overall educational costs, and set yourself on the path to professional success.

To get started today and learn more about our online degree programs at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels, visit our website.

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