Earn College Credit for Existing Knowledge

BasinTradingKenRutterC56710024.jpgYou’ve learned a lot throughout your career, and that knowledge can pay off towards earning a college degree.  At Bismarck State College, advisors will evaluate the college-level knowledge and skills you have gained through experiences outside of the traditional or online college classroom setting.  This evaluation is called prior learning assessment (PLA) and is sometimes referred to as Alternative Learning.

These experiences can result in credits towards both technical and non-technical courses through portfolio development, military training, and industry training, as well as other options.

Why consider prior learning?

Substituting prior learning assessment credits for traditional courses saves both time and money, allowing individuals to earn a college degree in less time and take higher level coursework sooner.  This also results in a lowered overall tuition cost.
The use of prior learning credit also recognizes the value of an individual’s skill set, demonstrating that work experience gained throughout a career can satisfy the rigor of a college-level education.

Get started as an employee

If you are interested in receiving credit through a prior learning assessment, first identify a program of study, then research which courses may be appropriate based on portfolio development (work experience), military training, or professional certificates, training, or courses. You should also discuss with the program advisor the appropriateness of using prior learning towards your degree plan.

Industry Training

Industry Training
Incumbent or former industry employees may be able to receive credit for courses based on training done through their employer. BSC requires detailed documentation of the training received and will verify the training. This documentation includes:

  • training/course objectives,
  • the date completed and
  • number of hours involved in the training,
  • an assessment of the training outcome (exams or tests, etc), and
  • any training transcript or certificate received.
The training will be reviewed by the department chair and the student’s advisor. If awarded, the student will pay 50% of the traditional classroom resident rate in order for credit to be awarded.
Industry training reviews may be completed unofficially with no charge.
Military Training/ACE Credit

Military Training/ACE Credit
Students who have served in the military may receive credit for military experience and training. Students must request a joint service transcript (JST) be sent to BSC. The transcript review will be completed by the department chair and the student’s advisor. There is no fee for review or credit awarded. Students who have completed industry training that has been approved by ACE can provide a ACE transcript for review. Unofficial reviews for military or ACE credit may be completed with no charge.

Portfolio Development

Portfolio Development
Developing a portfolio is the best way for an individual to show that his or her prior work experience is sufficient to meet the objectives of courses offered by BSC. These experiences often do not have a standardized mechanism for college credit evaluation. An individual will document how the college-level learning objectives have been obtained through non-college experiences. A portfolio may result in the awarding of credit for one or multiple courses. The portfolio will be reviewed by the program department chair for approval. If awarded, the student will pay 50% of the tuition towards the course in order for credit to be awarded.

 

Get started as an employer

If you would like your employees to enroll in an energy program at BSC and you believe that your internal training satisfies some of the course requirements for a particular program, you can work with BSC to ensure a seamless process for your employees. First, identify a program of study and then research which courses in that program may be appropriate for employees to receive PLA credit based on training such as a DOL-approved apprenticeship or industry licensing requirements.

 

Training Documentation
You will then work with the program’s department chair to submit training documentation including training outlines, hours, assessment of outcomes, and other required information. This documentation includes:
  • training/course objectives,
  • the date completed and
  • number of hours involved in the training,
  • an assessment of the training outcome (exams or tests, etc), and
  • any training transcript or certificate received.
The department chair will then review the documentation to determine if credit will be awarded.

 


 
Limits and regulations:
A student must be accepted into a program of study at BSC and enrolled in a course when requesting prior learning credit. These credits may not transfer to other colleges.
A student cannot earn PLA credit for courses that have been previously challenged, or that a student is currently or has been previously enrolled in. Students cannot earn PLA credit for coursework transferred from an accredited institution.
Credits earned through prior learning do not have letter grades assigned to them and will not be used to calculate GPA.
A student may earn no more than 45 semester hours of credit through PLA for an associate’s degree, diploma, or certificate, and no more than 60 semester hours of credit towards the Bachelor of Applied Science degree.