Credit for prior learning (CPL) provides students the opportunity to receive course credit for demonstrated competence based on prior learning and experiences.  CPL contributes to student success by shortening the time required to complete a credential while also saving the student money.

  • In most instances students are only eligible for CPL prior to the start of the course for which they are attempting to receive credit. Once a student has attempted a specific course, they are no longer eligible to receive CPL for that course.
  • Academic Affairs is responsible for determining which courses are available for CPL and the criteria to obtain course credit.
  • The NWCCD Credit for Prior Learning Handbook provides detailed instructions on the process to obtain CPL credit.
  • CPL granted at NWCCD is not automatically transferred to other institutions. Every college has their own policies for accepting or granting CPL.

The following options are available for CPL:

  • Credit by Examination
    • Advance Placement Exams – typically taken during high school
    • College Level Examination Program – typically general education type courses
    • Institutional Challenge Exam – offered by NWCCD for certain courses
    • DANTES Standardized Subject Tests (DSST) – available for military students
  • Industry Certification – previously obtained and recognized industry certifications may be eligible
  • Portfolio Submission – submit a document providing evidence and artifacts demonstrating competency in course learning outcomes

NWCCD Procedure 6010.30 Credit for Prior Learning provides additional information regarding the process and acceptable scores for credit by examination.

For more information or to get started, contact Advising Services or the departmental chair.