Institute for Professional Studies: Prior Learning Assessment

Earn Credit for What You Know!

Avila University recognizes that learning can take place in settings other than classrooms. The University may grant credit for this type of knowledge provided that it meets Avila’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) criteria. The maximum number of hours accepted for all types of non-traditional credit, such as CLEP, DSST, credit for prior learning, correspondence, departmental challenge tests, will not exceed 25% of the minimum hours specified for each degree program. This limit will not apply to programs that grant credit for structured learning from accredited programs in healthcare with a demonstration of competency by registration/certification from a national accrediting agency.

Avila University does not award credit for experience. Degree-seeking students may earn credit for verifiable college-level learning, either knowledge or skills, acquired through life or work experience, not for the experience itself. The Council on Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) defines extra-institutional learning as learning that occurs outside the sponsorship of legally authorized and accredited postsecondary educational institutions.

Credits earned through transfer, prior learning portfolio, correspondence, military service, College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) do not count as part of the final 30 hours of consecutive resident credit hours required for a degree at Avila University. Persons wishing to earn non-traditional credit must be a student at Avila University.

Detailed policies about PLA are outlined in the Avila University Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Guidebook.

Use our College Credit Predictor to find out how much college credit your work history, education, military service, and training could be worth to you at Avila. Your knowledge + expertise = college credit (and savings).


Professional Training

Students may request credit for college-level learning experiences obtained through professional development in the workplace, courses and workshops in non-accredited programs, and independent learning. The learning experience may have occurred before or during studies at Avila University. Two organizations review training and experience and evaluate them for college credit.

American Council on Education (ACE)

The ACE reviews training, occupations, and other learning sources outside the classroom and then recommends qualifying experiences as the equivalent of college-level learning.

National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)

This service evaluates training programs offered outside of a traditional classroom and translates them into college credit.

Note: Avila faculty will assess professional training courses not evaluated by ACE or NCCRS.


Licenses and Certifications

Students may request credit for college-level learning experiences obtained through the award of professional licenses or certifications in the workplace. The learning experience may have occurred before or during studies at Avila University.

American Council on Education (ACE)

The ACE reviews licenses, certifications, proficiency tests, and other learning sources outside the classroom; then recommends specific experiences as the equivalent of college-level learning.

National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)

This service evaluates licenses, certifications, and proficiency exams offered outside of a traditional classroom and translate them into college credit.

Note: Avila Faculty may evaluate licenses, certifications, or proficiency tests not evaluated by ACE or NCCRS.

Credit by Exam Programs

Getting ahead in a degree program could be as easy as passing approved examinations and earning college credit. Students can earn credits toward a degree via credit by exam. Students can earn these credits as long as there is no duplication of academic credit, and the scores meet Avila University standards. Consult with your academic advisor before selecting an exam.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Get credit for what you already know through the College Level Examination Program.  https://clep.collegeboard.org/ Discuss options with an academic advisor.

DSST Exams (formerly known as DANTES)

Demonstrate knowledge in your field of study with DSST. Completing a degree may be expedited by passing a DSST Exam. https://www.getcollegecredit.com/test_takers/  Discuss options with an academic advisor.


Military Training & Experience

Avila students who have served in the Armed Forces, including the reserves and the National Guard, may have earned college credit. The military services transcript training that is completed by service members. Students may request a transcript for evaluation by Avila University.

Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines

These military services record training using the Joint Services Transcript. https://jst.doded.mil/official.html

Air Force

This military service records training through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/Barnes/CCAF/Display/Article/803247/community-college-of-the-air-force-transcripts/


Prior Learning Assessment Narrative

Avila University students may write Prior Learning Assessment Narratives to earn college credit. Students apply Kolb’s Model of Experiential Learning to specific course learning outcomes. See Appendices B and C in the Avila University Prior Learning Assessment Guide. Students electing to write a Narrative must be enrolled in or have completed the Prior Learning Assessment Theory and Practice course.

Go back to the top