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Experiential Learning Credit

Your Experience Counts

At Colorado Technical University, we recognize that knowledge you’ve gained outside of the classroom may be relevant to your formal education. That’s why, in addition to our college credit transfer policy that makes it possible to transfer-in up to 75 percent of the credits needed to complete your degree program,1 we offer various opportunities to earn experiential learning credit. Submitting an Experiential Learning Portfolio (ELP) is one way to earn life experience credit,1 while CTU Fast Track™ exams2 provide another avenue for demonstrating prior learning you may have acquired inside or outside of a traditional learning environment.

Experiential Learning Portfolios

Just because you haven’t earned college credits through an online or on-campus degree program doesn’t mean you haven’t obtained knowledge through experiences that directly relate to your classes. Creating an Experiential Learning Portfolio is a way to potentially receive college credit for experiences and learning you’ve gained in the real world.1 An ELP is an electronic portfolio you put together that relates to a specific course and demonstrates your understanding of the content based on documentation of your experiences—if your ELP successfully demonstrates that your life experience meets the objectives of that course, you may be able to bypass that course and still receive college credit.1 See a sample Experiential Learning Portfolio.

How to Apply for Experiential Credit

In order to take advantage of this experiential learning credit program, your prior learning must have been acquired via non-collegiate, school-based education; employment; or other appropriate learning experiences in adherence to the American Council on Education’s (ACE) recommendations. Note that life and learning experiences in and of themselves aren’t sufficient grounds for receiving experiential learning credit. In order to be considered for a life experience credit award, a student’s learning experiences must directly relate to an undergraduate or graduate course within their chosen degree program.

You’ll need to work with a CTU Prior Learning Assessment Evaluator to determine eligibility and next steps—the PLA team can help guide you through the process of building an Experiential Learning Portfolio that establishes a direct alignment with the course you wish to receive potential experiential learning credit for. Any prior experience or education submitted to CTU for evaluation must be appropriately documented and deemed equivalent to the course outcomes that would be realized by taking the comparable CTU course.

The maximum amount of life experience credit that can be applied toward graduation is 16 quarter credit hours for an associate degree, 32 quarter credit hours for a bachelor’s degree, and 8 quarter credit hours for a graduate degree. Note that college course equivalency credits awarded for experiential learning are unlikely to transfer to another institution.

Other Ways to Earn Credit at CTU

  1. CTU Fast Track™: Another way to demonstrate prior learning, whether in the classroom, at work, or through experiential learning, is by taking and passing CTU Fast Track™ exams. These exams are designed to test your knowledge of key course objectives, allowing you to earn college credits toward your degree program for what you already know.2
  2. Transfer-in Credits: Students must complete 25 percent of their undergraduate or graduate degree program requirements at CTU—in other words, you may be able to transfer-in up to 75 percent of the credits earned at another accredited post-secondary institution and have those credits count toward graduation.1 If you have questions about this policy like, “Do my college credits expire?” and, “Will any of my courses transfer?” we’re here to help. To find out how many credits from completing prior college classes may transfer over to your CTU degree program, you’ll need to reach out to a member of our admissions team so that they can evaluate your on-campus or online college courses for transfer credit eligibility. Official transcripts and formal documents are required before evaluation of transfer credit can occur. Refer to the University Catalog for more information.
  3. Military Service: CTU appreciates those who have served, and we realize that military members receive on-the-job training and experience during their service that may be relevant to specific courses in their degree program. We’re proud to be a college that accepts “military credits” by making it possible for active duty, reserve, and former military members to transfer their military education into college course equivalency credit, reducing overall time to graduation.
  4. Professional Training/Certification: Students who haven’t earned college credits but who have received training through an employer or non-accredited institution may nonetheless be eligible to receive college course equivalency credit by having those Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or documented “clock hours” applied to their degree program.1
  5. Standardized Assessments: You can demonstrate your knowledge in a given subject area and receive college course equivalency credit by meeting certain scoring criteria on various standardized tests, such as the Advanced Placement (AP) exam, College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) exam, or DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST).1

Ready to Get Started?

If you’d like more information or are ready to begin the ELP process to potentially earn course credit, we’re here to help. Contact us today.


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.

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