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Earn College Credit for Life and Work Experience

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Get a Head Start on Your Degree Program at CTU

Colorado Technical University believes that both college course transfer credits and work and life experience credits should count toward fulfilling relevant degree program requirements—after all, not all learning necessarily happens in a traditional classroom setting. That’s why we offer several programs that provide different opportunities for you to receive college credit for life experience and prior learning.1 Transferring-in college course equivalency credits, taking CTU Fast Track™ exams,2 creating Experiential Learning Portfolios (ELPs), utilizing military education benefits, possessing professional certifications,1 and scoring well on standardized tests are all ways to potentially earn work and life experience credits toward your chosen traditional or online degree program, saving you both time and money.1

What You Need to Know

All students in CTU’s associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs are eligible to have their prior learning experiences assessed to determine whether they may qualify for advanced standing credit. CTU’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Department can provide you with information on all the PLA options that are available to you, and this team is also responsible for evaluating your official documentation—to ensure that established prior learning assessment criteria and guidelines for transfer credit are met—prior to granting advanced standing credit.1

College Credit Transfers

If you’ve been out of school for a while, you may be wondering, “Will my credits transfer, and do college credits expire?” The good news is that CTU will evaluate all college credits, even older ones, but you’ll still need to find out how many, if any of those college classes will transfer over and actually count toward completing your degree program. CTU allows students to transfer-in college class credits earned at other accredited post-secondary institutions—up to 75 percent of the credits required for your degree program.1 And in order to determine college course equivalency, you must provide and CTU must review your official college transcripts. See our Transfer Credit Guide and University Catalog for more detailed information about transferring-in college course credits.

Additional Ways to Earn Credit

In addition to transferring-in college credits from accredited postsecondary institutions, students may also be able to earn college credit for life experience through the following means:

  1. CTU Fast Track: This prior learning assessment program offers exams designed to test your knowledge of key course objectives, providing the opportunity to earn college credits toward your degree program for what you already know.2
  2. Experiential Learning Portfolios (ELPs): It’s possible to receive credit for experiential learning acquired outside of the classroom. ELPs make it possible to earn college credit for your life experience by giving you the opportunity to demonstrate through documentation how your experiences align with a given course in your CTU degree program.1
  3. Military Credit Transfer: CTU understands that our military members receive on-the-job training and experience during their service that may be directly relevant to courses in their degree program. That’s why we give military members—active duty, reserve, and veterans—the opportunity to transfer their military education into college credit, which can reduce the overall time to graduation.1
  4. Professional Training/Certification: Even students who haven’t previously earned college credits through an online or on-campus degree program may have received formal training through an employer or non-accredited institution. If that’s the case, you may still qualify to receive credit by having those Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or documented “clock hours” applied to your degree program.1
  5. Standardized Assessments: Meeting certain scoring criteria on standardized tests, such as the Advanced Placement (AP) exam, College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam, or DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST), is another way to demonstrate your knowledge in a given area and receive course credit in return.1

Students and potential students should reach out to a Prior Learning Assessment Evaluator to learn more about advanced standing requirements and to seek degree planning assistance.

Earning Credit Through Standardized Assessments

You may be able to demonstrate knowledge competency and earn college course equivalency credit by meeting certain scoring criteria on various standardized assessments.

Advanced Placement Examinations

Advanced Placement (AP) Examinations provide an opportunity to complete college-level coursework while in high school and to gain valuable skills and study habits for college. If you achieve a qualifying score of a 3 or higher on a given AP Examination, proficiency credit is awarded according to American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations for the exam’s respective lower level course requirements. You must submit a copy of an official AP score report to be evaluated for this proficiency credit award.

CLEP Examinations

The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a national program of credit by examination to obtain recognition of college level achievement. Colorado Technical University is a registered CLEP credit granting institution. Visit www.collegeboard.com to find a CLEP examination center in your area.

Colorado Technical University awards proficiency credit for lower level comparable coursework based on CLEP examination scores as recommended for the respective lower level course requirements. An official CLEP score report must be submitted for evaluation in order to receive this proficiency credit award. In order to ensure that a CLEP examination is transferable into your degree program, you should consult with a CTU Prior Learning Assessment Evaluator. The total number of CLEP credits applied to a degree program may not exceed 45 session hours and you may be required to pay a fee directly to CLEP for the examination(s).

CLEP examinations are available in the following areas of study:

  • Business
  • Composition and Literature
  • Science and Mathematics
  • History and Social Sciences
  • World Languages

DSST Examinations

DSST examinations (formerly DANTES Subject Standardized Tests) were originally designed for military service members but are now available to both military and civilian learners. More information on study guides and examination options is available at www.getcollegecredit.com. Proficiency credit is awarded for passing scores according to ACE recommendations for the respective lower level course requirements. A copy of an official DSST score report must be submitted in order to be evaluated for this proficiency credit award.


1. Transfer credit is evaluated on an individual basis. Not all credits are eligible to transfer. See the University Catalog for transfer credit policies.
2. The ability to reduce time in school and/or reduce tuition depends on the number of CTU Fast Track™ exams successfully passed. Fast Track program credits are unlikely to transfer. Not all programs are eligible for possible 30% reduction in time and money. Courses eligible subject to change.

Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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