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Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

The finish line to your college degree may be closer than you think. Through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), you can earn college credit for the knowledge you gained in your prior life and work experiences.

Benefits of PLA

Save time: You can earn up to 50 percent of the credits required for a degree or certificate.

Save money: PLA is evaluated for a fee that is lower than the cost of tuition. Students save on average $328 - $1,216 in tuition.

Eliminate courses: Earning credit for prior learning eliminates the need to take classes that cover content you already have mastered. This means you can skip taking—and paying for—classes that cover what you already know, while still receiving equivalent credit.

Take our prior learning self-assessment survey to see how you could earn credit for your work and life experiences. 


Want to learn more about the PLA experience? Watch our faculty video to see how you can save time and money on your way to graduation.  

 


How to Turn Your Prior Learning into College Credit

Pima offers a variety of methods to earn credit for prior learning. You must apply for admission to PCC before your prior learning can be evaluated for credit. If you have additional questions about PLA, visit our PLA FAQs page

Pima recognizes and will grant credit for eligible American Council on Education’s (ACE) trainings.   

Follow these steps to have your ACE training evaluated: 

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Submit your official ACE recommendation form to the Registrar's Office for evaluation. 

Step 3

Work with your Program Advisor to review your ACE training and its alignment to POS.

Step 4

Work with your Program Advisor to initiate a PLA Electronic Workflow for identified classes. 

Step 5

The Registrar's Office reviews your POS and records PLA credit on your student record. 

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all five steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the ACE training evaluation process 

You can earn credit for your prior learning by demonstrating your knowledge in a Challenge Exam developed by faculty experts. 

Follow these steps to complete a Challenge Exam: 

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Meet with a faculty expert to discuss your knowledge and prior learning and Challenge Exam opportunities.

Step 3

Meet with a Program Advisor to initiate PLA electronic workflow for a specific Challenge Exam. 

Step 4

Submit the payment of $105 for each course you are requesting credit. Work with a faculty expert and the Assessment Center to schedule and complete the Challenge Exam. 

Step 5

If you earn a 70% or higher on the exam, your exam score is sent through the credit approval process. 

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all five steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the Challenge Exam process

Pima recognizes and will grant credit for eligible professional certification programs and industry trainings. Credit is based on successful completion of a professional certification or state licensure examination.

Follow these steps to have your certification or training evaluated: 

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Provide a copy of your current, valid certificate or license. If your certificate or license is not valid, the PLA application process will stop. 

Step 3

Meet with a faculty expert to review valid certificate or license and knowledge acquired. If your certificate, license, or knowledge are insufficient, the PLA process will stop. 

Step 4

Work with your Program Advisor to initiate a PLA Electronic Workflow for identified classes. 

Step 5

After your Program Advisor initiates a workflow, a PLA Electronic Request is submitted for review and approval/denial.

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all five steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the industry certificate or training evaluation process 

Additional Industry Certification and Training Resources 

National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER)

National Institute for Metalworking Standards (NIMS)

Pima can evaluate your military service for college credit. Check the Veteran’s Articulation Guide for a list of approved Pima classes for military credit.

Follow these steps to have your coursework evaluated for credit:

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Submit your official Joint Services Transcript (JST) to the Registrar's Office for evaluation. 

Step 3

Work with your Program Advisor and/or Veteran's Advisor to review your military courses and occupations and their alignment to POS. 

Step 4

Work with your Program Advisor and/or Veteran's Advisor to initiate a PLA Electronic Workflow for your approved courses and occupations. 

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all four steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the military credit/joint services transcript review process

Additional Military Credit and Joint Services Transcript Resources

ACE Military Guide

Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)

Joint Services Transcript (JST) (After clicking on the Joint Services Transcript link, select the "Advanced" tab in the bottom left corner of your screen to proceed to the site)

 

You may receive credit for some courses by successfully passing the College Board Advanced Placement (AP) exam, General Education Development (GED), International Baccalaureate (IB), College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) or Cambridge International Exam (CIE).

To learn more about exam score requirements, refer to the Exam Equivalency Guide

Follow these steps to have your exam(s) reviewed for credit:

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Submit your official exam results to the Registrar's Office. 

Step 3

If you took an exam other than AP, IB, or CLEP, meet with a faculty expert in the content area of your exam to review your exam.

Step 4

Registrar's Office reviews your exam score. If your exam score is approved, the registrar will record PLA credit on your student record. 

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all five steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the National Standardardized Exam review process

Additional National Standardized Exam Resources

Advanced Placement (AP)

Cambridge International Education (CIE)

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

General Education Development (GED)

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Pima can evaluate your non-credit coursework for college credit. 

Follow these steps to have your coursework evaluated for credit:

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Provide official documentation of the non-credit work you completed to your Program Advisor. 

Step 3

Meet with a faculty expert to review your non-credit work for academic rigor and alignment with PCC credit courses. 

Step 4

Meet with a Program Advisor to initiate a PLA Electronic Workflow and pay the fee(s) ($25 per class). 

Note: The PLA process will stop if you do not successfully complete all four steps of the evaluation process.

Save a PDF map of the non-credit course review process

Additional Non-Credit to Credit Resources

Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)

National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)

The portfolio process provides a unique way for you to showcase and reflect on your prior learning. A portfolio is a collection of artifacts (professional writing samples, academic projects, etc.) that showcase your past learning and knowledge.

When you create your portfolio, you will reflect on your prior learning and connect it to material covered in a specific PCC course. A faculty expert will then review your portfolio to assess your prior learning for credit. 

Follow these steps to complete the portfolio process: 

Step 1

Meet with your Program Advisor to discuss PLA and other Pima requirements, such as your degree plan, career planning, etc.

Step 2

Meet with a faculty expert to review your knowledge and prior learning and discuss potential avenues to submit a portfolio.

Step 3

Enroll in and complete a self-paced, 4-week portfolio course (UPLA 100; $49) to learn how to create a quality portfolio. 

Step 4

After completing UPLA 100, you will be granted access to Portfolium to finalize and submit your Portfolio. 

Step 5

Meet with a Program Advisor to start a PLA Electronic Workflow and submit your payment of $150 for each class you are requesting credit. Faculty experts will not evaluate your portfolio until payment is received. 

Step 6

After your Program Advisor initiates a workflow, a PLA Electronic Request is submitted for review and approval/denial.

Note: The portfolio process will stop if you do not successfully complete all six steps of the process.

Save a PDF map of the portfolio process 

Additional Portfolio Resources

Portfolio Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Portfolio Instructions and Requirements

Portfolio Assessment Rubric

Portfolio Example 1 and Portfolio Example 2

Additional PLA Resources

Get Started

Use the Prior Learning Assessment Survey to learn more about the types of credit that might apply to you.

Interested? Call us!

Learn more about how Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) can save you time and money. Contact the Student Services Center to meet with an academic advisor.

FAQ

Read our list of frequently asked questions to learn more about Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

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