Credit for Life/Work Experience

WCTC’s 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.

Courses use these pre-determined assessment methods for you to earn college credit:

  • Challenge exam: an exam focused on the concepts taught in a course. Test formats and requirements 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 that you possess the critical skills taught in a course, like welding or automotive service.


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

Steps to get started:

  1. Submit the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) inquiry form for each course of interest.

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

  3. Pay the assessment fee.

  4. 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)

PLA Frequently Asked Questions

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.