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Credit for Life/Work Experience

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Prior learning assessments (PLA) allow you to demonstrate the course-equivalent knowledge and skills that you developed through work, volunteer, education, training and/or other life learning experiences. Assessment methods include:

  • Challenge exam: An exam focused on the concepts taught in a course. Exams vary by subject.
  • Portfolio: A written presentation of reflections and artifacts that serve as evidence that you have equivalent skills to those taught in a course.
  • Skills demonstration: An activity in which you demonstrate the critical skills taught in a course, like welding or automotive service.

How to get started:

Submit Inquiry Form

Submit the Prior Learning Assessment Inquiry Form below for each course of interest.

Complete Consultation

Complete a PLA consultation to learn more about the assessment requirements.

Pay Assessment Fee

PLA fees are based on the associated assessment method(s), are charged per course and are non-refundable. If two methods are required for one course assessment, then only the higher fee is charged.

  • Challenge Exam: $50
  • Skills Demonstration: $90
  • Portfolio: $90

Complete Assessment

Complete the assessment.

PLA Inquiry Form

Select your course of interest. If the related course assessment is a standardized test then you will be routed to the appropriate page.

If the requested course is missing from the drop-down menu then type the course title and number below. We will contact you within five business days with information about its availability and your next steps. If it is determined that a PLA is appropriate for your course of interest, it can take up to six weeks before the assessment is available.

(If you do not have a student ID, create one now)

Frequently Asked Questions

How many credits can I earn by completing PLAs?

You must complete 25 percent of your program coursework in residence at WCTC. For certificates of 12 credits or less, you must complete at least one of the certificate courses in residence. Credits awarded through prior learning assessment do not count as credits earned in residence.

What if I need accommodations for testing?

If you have a disability, you may be eligible for accommodations through the WCTC Student Accessibility Office.

How do I know if I am eligible to complete a PLA?

You must have an active student account to complete a PLA, but you are not required to be enrolled in a WCTC program. You may complete a PLA as long as you have met any pre-requisite/co-requisite requirements. You are allowed one attempt to meet the minimum requirements of a challenge exam and/or skills demonstration. You have one opportunity to revise a portfolio and resubmit for a second evaluation. A PLA cannot be used as a retake option for a course.

How do I know what is included on the PLA?

You will be provided with an overview of the assessment and the competencies that it addresses during your PLA consultation.

If I complete a WCTC PLA, how will it affect my academic record?

The grade code of “PL” indicates credit awarded through PLA and will be listed on your transcript. If you attempt a PLA and do not meet the minimum requirements, there is no indicator of the attempt on your academic transcript. Credits awarded via PLA are not calculated in your grade point average.

How do I appeal the results of a PLA?

You have the right to appeal an assessor’s decision not to award credit if you believe that it is inaccurate. You must be able to provide justification for the appeal and must adhere to the following procedure:

  • Within 30 calendar days of the evaluation determination, contact the faculty assessor regarding the evaluation in question.
  • If you and the faculty assessor are not able to resolve the dispute and you wish to pursue the matter further, you may contact the associate dean within 10 calendar days of the faculty assessor’s decision. The associate dean, or designee, will work to attempt a resolution.
  • If the associate dean and you are not able to resolve the dispute and you wish to pursue the matter further, you have 10 calendar days from the associate dean’s decision to make an appeal to the dean. The dean will meet individually with you and the faculty assessor or may choose to meet with you both together to resolve the grade. The dean will put his or her decision in writing.

How will a PLA affect my financial aid?

Courses completed via PLA are not eligible for federal or state financial aid. However, credit awarded through PLA may count towards the 150 percent maximum credit policy. Consult with the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Will credits awarded through PLA transfer to a different college?

Colleges and universities vary in how they accept credits awarded through prior learning assessment. You are encouraged to check with the receiving college/university directly to verify their policy.

How long do I have to complete a PLA?

You decide when it's the best time for you to register to complete a PLA. Upon registering, you have 90 days to complete the respective PLA. If you do not complete it during that time, then you did not meet the minimum performance standards of the assessment and must complete the course.