Jeffrey S. Harmon, EdD By Jeffrey S. Harmon, EdD • November 13, 2023

Can You Earn College Credit from an Apprenticeship?

Then 9th Annual National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) kicks off November 13-19, 2023. It is a nationwide celebration where industry, labor, equity, workforce, education, and government leaders showcase the successes and value of registered apprenticeships for rebuilding our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, and supporting underserved communities. The week highlights how apprenticeships provide a critical talent pipeline that can help address some of our nation’s pressing workforce challenges.

“Some Degree, No College” is a phrase used by Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president of Thomas Edison State University (TESU), to categorize millions of learners who have unknowingly earned college credit.

“Unknowingly?”… Yes!

In fact, each year, we award approximately 65,000 credits to students through our Professional Learning Review method which aims to tease out the college-level competencies and skills found in military, workplace and apprenticeship training. This is one of the most unique aspects of the University as we have been a pioneer in the credit-for-prior-learning world for 50 years.

TESU is among the leaders in assessing training such as registered apprenticeship programs and uncovering the college-level learning that occurs inside apprenticeship classrooms and in on-the-job training. Our process helps adult learners by transforming their military, workplace and apprenticeship training to college credit.

Today, TESU is fully enmeshed with apprenticeship training inside and outside of New Jersey. We currently offer, through a N.J. Department of Labor Grant (NJPLACE), full-ride scholarships for adult learners in registered apprenticeship programs in New Jersey, toward completion of an associate degree.

With our partners, the Northeast Carpenters Apprentice Training Fund, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the National Elevator Industry Education Program, and more, the New Jersey Apprenticeship Pathway Program merges the career tracks of the trades and higher education into one seamless educational and career-oriented endeavor…leveraging the best of both worlds for the workers and citizens of tomorrow.

How To Get Started Earning Credit

Completing a registered apprenticeship program is a valuable and rigorous pursuit. Apprenticeship students can brighten their future even more by adding an associate degree to their resumes. TESU offers credit for apprenticeship training to many apprentices, whether it be through one of our partner apprenticeship programs mentioned above, or another qualifying apprenticeship.

If you are interested in learning more about leveraging your apprenticeship training for credit, or learn if you may qualify for a scholarship, email your name, address and identify which apprenticeship program you are enrolled in to

Happy National Apprenticeship Week, and thank you to all the state, higher education, and apprenticeship leaders, instructors, and students who come together to make these opportunities happen.

Learn more about the registered apprenticeships that can have been evaluated for college credit through the Office of Prior Learning Review here. 


Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2022 and has been updated for accuracy.

Jeffrey S. Harmon, EdD

Written by Jeffrey S. Harmon, EdD

Dr. Jeffrey S. Harmon is the vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Institutional Effectiveness at Thomas Edison State University. He oversees academic partnerships, credit for prior learning and assessment at TESU.

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