College Credit for Experiential or Non-traditional Learning

Did you know that adult learners can benefit from learning and knowledge they have acquired working, participating in employer training programs, serving in the military, studying independently, volunteering or doing community service, and studying open-source courseware?

There are many terms used to describe this kind of college credit. At Polk State College, we organize this type of credit into two categories. Both categories help students maximize their experiences in two ways:

  1. Accelerated Credit Mechanisms (includes test for credit options)
  2. Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio

Accelerated Credit Mechanisms:

Polk State College defines these as standardized ways to earn credit outside a traditional academic environment. There are four generally accepted types of Accelerated Mechanisms:

1.   National standardized exams in specified disciplines: Advanced Placement (AP) exams, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, Excelsior College exams,
DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST), International Baccalaureate program (IB)

  • For information on ordering standardized exam transcripts you have already taken, see the Admission Steps.
  • For information on exams and their credit value, visit this LINK to the Florida Department of Education.

2.   Institutional Credit-By-Examination (also called Challenge Exams)

  • Available for CGS 1061 through Professor Ernie Ivey.
  • For additional courses, contact either the Winter Haven or Lakeland Academic Dean’s office.

3.   Credit through Licensure or Certification

  • Advisors and the Admission and Registrar’s Offices have articulation agreements and statements to show what credits can be given for certain licenses or certifications. This information is most readily available from the program director of the degree you are seeking.

4.   Evaluated non-college programs: American Council on Education (ACE) evaluations of corporate training and military training

  • Many training programs, including military programs, have undergone a rigorous evaluation process to equate learning to college credit. Polk State College abides by ACE credit recommendations.
  • For more information on credits for armed service training, click HERE.

A maximum of 45 semester hours of combined credit from accelerated mechanisms and/or prior learning assessment by portfolio can be applied toward a degree. In addition, no more than 25% of required credits in a degree can come from prior learning assessment by portfolio.

For more information about any of these Accelerated Mechanisms for college credit through non-traditional means, click HERE.
Polk State follows the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL) standards in support of adult and non-traditional experiential learning credit.

For more information about earning college credit through the Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio option click HERE.