Are you consulted as an expert in your industry? Are you respected in a specific field? Or is your resume just full of skills, expertise and experiences? If so, you may be able to translate that knowledge into college credit.
All too often, students think that only the courses they take sitting in a classroom will transfer as college credit. However, transfer credit can include professional licenses and certifications, military training and professional training. You can also earn credit through exams and portfolio assessment. Explore your transfer credit options so you do not have to put your life and career on hold by taking a course that, chances are, you already know everything about (and could probably teach!) Your goal is our goal – to finish your college degree – and the more options you have, the quicker you’ll get there.
Here are 10 signs that you probably already have more college-level knowledge than you think. If at any point you stop and say, “hey, that’s me!” – read on to learn how you can get those credits ASAP.
1. You brag about your professional license or certification.
You’ve already studied, taken a test and passed. If you possess a current and valid license and certification in one of more than 60 fields ranging from aviation to healthcare, law enforcement to business, you could earn college credit. The University’s Office for Assessment of Professional Workplace Learning, the American Council on Education (ACE) and the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) have already evaluated and approved several licenses and certifications for college credit. You can find them organized by topic, here.
2. You show off what you learned after completing a training program for your profession.
If you participated in any apprenticeships and courses taken at your workplace, be it through a corporation, government agency, professional association or union, or any specialized training program, your professional license and certification may have already been evaluated for college credit. You can create a transcript of your training, with appropriate documentation, to send to the University for review.
3. You’ve become the “in-house expert” at your organization on something.
Are you the person who trains new recruits? Or are you always the go-to person whenever a colleague has a question? It can be anything, from project planning to editing, or budget balancing to problem solving. Obviously, your colleagues already recognize your extensive knowledge, and you can too by documenting and equating what you know with a college-level course by creating a portfolio for assessment.
4. You have military experience or attended a military service school.
If you have military experience, depending on the military training documented in the Joint Service Transcripts (JST), transcripts from the Community College of the Air Force and the Coast Guard Institute or, you are a service member who left the military before 1986, you may be able earn additional college credit. Learn how you can submit official transcripts and receive credit, here.
5. You have taught college-level courses, for college credit, at a regionally accredited college or university.
Were you the primary instructor? Or the person responsible for determining and submitting course grades? There are instances where a regionally accredited college or university may employ a faculty instructor who is without a completed baccalaureate degree. There is a certain level of expertise in teaching such courses, and you can earn Credit for Courses Taught.
6. You practically have a second job volunteering in your community.
Do you volunteer beyond the occasional bake sale? Does your community service work read like a resume? Your extensive real-world expertise in a specific subject or content area can equate to what you would learn in a college course. If this sounds like you, then you may be a good candidate for portfolio assessment.
7. You are passionate about a subject and can’t stop reading (or talking) about it.
Whether you are a Civil War buff, or you have read every how-to book on leadership ever published, the knowledge you developed from your independent study could help you pass an exam for credit instead of taking the course. Look through the University’s TECEP® offerings, its own credit-by exam program, and other exam programs, to find out if your passion can earn you college credit by simply taking a final exam.
8. You live for your art (or just really, really enjoy it).
If you are a writer, painter, actor, musician, photographer, performer, artisan, sculptor, dancer - essentially, the creative type - you probably have a portfolio of work that demonstrates your talent or skill. Your achievements, whether they are on CDs or DVDs, printed in playbills, painted on canvas or written as online reviews, are an excellent source that demonstrates your knowledge. Your latest project could be your ticket to earning college credit through portfolio assessment.
9. You are a much sought-after expert.
Are you a respected hobbyist in a specific field? Have you written published articles about your interests? If your recreational activities and knowledge have placed you in an esteemed position, or your peers are looking to learn from you, you probably already know what would be taught in a college course. The expertise and skills developed through your hobby are perfect for portfolio assessment.
10. You have trouble fitting all your experience, skills, knowledge and work into a 1- or 2-page resume.
Your extensive background is filled with significant responsibilities and accomplishments that may not fit into one or two pages, but you have the ability to articulate your knowledge using portfolio assessment. Identify your learning and experiences that best equate to a college course by utilizing the University’s PLA Course Description Database to earn credit for what you already know.
Because you have extensive knowledge or training in one or more subject areas, you may be a good candidate for prior learning assessment. Between Academic Program Reviews, credit by exam, and credit through portfolio assessment, you may find a very satisfying opportunity to validate what you know, and earn college credit for it.
Written by Thomas Edison State University