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Nursing Credits

How to Earn Credits Toward a Nursing Degree at CTU

As a nurse, your time is not only valuable – it’s at a premium. That’s why saving time – and money – while pursuing your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree is critical. Colorado Technical University offers credit opportunities for nurses that go beyond just previous education by including certifications, licensure, professional experiences, and more.

Taking full advantage of these credit opportunities at Colorado Technical University could help you earn your RN-to-BSN in as little as 9 months – and starting as low as $12,480 .

What Credit Opportunities are Available?

Earning a RN-to-BSN degree at CTU requires a total of 180 quarter credit hours. Of that total, a maximum of 132 quarter credit hours can come from the opportunities listed below.

There are four ways that nurses can earn college credit toward CTU’s RN-to-BSN program, including:

  • Education: If you have an Associate Degree in Nursing or Diploma of Nursing, you may be able to transfer up to 90 credits toward your BSN. See the tables below for more details.
  • Licensure: You can apply your RN license toward a nursing degree at CTU for up to 28.5 credits.
  • Certifications: National nursing specialty certifications may transfer in as academic credit.
  • Experiential Learning Portfolios: Experiential Learning Portfolios (ELPs) allow you to leverage your previous professional, personal, and educational experience for up to 16 credits. ELPs are aligned with specific RN-to-BSN courses, essentially allowing you to bypass a particular course that covers skills and knowledge you already have, while still earning the equivalent credits.

Nurses: You have a lifetime of experience – why not put it to good use? Experiential Learning at CTU allows you to do just that: By submitting an Experiential Learning Portfolio, you could earn credit for your previous nursing experience, non-collegiate education, and more. Submitting an Experiential Learning Portfolio may save you time and money toward earning your Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree.

What is an Experiential Learning Portfolio?

An Experiential Learning Portfolio is a digital document that demonstrates your previous knowledge and experience. If this knowledge and experience meets the standards for a particular course, as defined by CTU’s Dean of Nursing, you could bypass that course while still earning the equivalent credits toward your RN-BSN program – thus reducing the time and tuition investment required to earn that degree.

An Experiential Learning Portfolio includes three main components:

  1. Resume: Your resume should be completely up to date and reflect all your professional work experience – nursing or otherwise. Reviewing and updating your resume is the first step you should take when building an Experiential Learning Portfolio for nursing credit.
  2. Narrative Essay: This is the written component of the Experiential Learning Portfolio, where you get a chance to elaborate on how your professional and personal experiences relate to the nursing course you intend to bypass. Providing adequate, specific detail in the Narrative Essay is crucial; this should be the second component of your Experiential Learning Portfolio you put together.
  3. Artifacts: Artifacts are attachments to your Experiential Learning Portfolio that support what you’ve written in your Narrative Essay and presented in your resume. Examples of relevant artifacts include documentation of training, certificates, hospital/practice employee evaluations, and more. The more relevant artifacts you include, the better; attach artifacts as the final component of your Experiential Learning Portfolio.
How Can an Experiential Learning Portfolio Help Me?

Evaluation of experiential learning portfolios is offered for CTU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program . If you’re a nurse enrolled in the RN-BSN program, submitting an Experiential Learning Portfolio may save you both time and money.

By bypassing a particular course while still earning the equivalent credits, you’ll be closer to earning your BSN – and for busy full-time nurses, saving time is essential.

The maximum amount of credits that you can earn through Experiential Learning Portfolios varies based your previous nursing degrees and certifications. For example:

  • If you’re pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and you have your RN plus a Diploma of Nursing, you can earn a maximum of 16 credits from Experiential Learning.
  • If you’re pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and you have your RN plus an Associate in Nursing, you can earn a maximum of 9.5 credits from Experiential Learning.
How to Apply for Nursing Experiential Credit

Looking to submit an Experiential Learning Portfolio for your BSN program?

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get started:

  1. Review your degree program and identify the course or courses that best match your previous professional and personal experience.
  2. Contact a member of CTU’s Prior Learning Assessment Department to receive and review objectives for the chosen course.
  3. Review and update your nursing resume to ensure that it adequately reflects your experience.
  4. Write a Narrative Essay, while always keeping the course objectives in focus.
  5. Gather artifacts that support your Narrative Essay, including presentations, employee evaluations, and certifications.
  6. Submit your portfolio to the Prior Learning Assessment team.

If you have additional questions about an Experiential Learning Portfolio, download our sample portfolio for help or contact an admissions advisor for additional submission instructions.

How Can These Credit Opportunities Help Me?

The exact amount of credit opportunities available to you depends on your specific educational and professional nursing background.

Here are a few scenarios that demonstrate how you could apply additional credits to earn your BSN faster and at a lower cost:





All scenarios listed above are hypothetical – credit is awarded only after thorough review by CTU’s Dean of Nursing and the Prior Learning Assessment Department.

Request More Information

Ready to save time and money toward your RN-to-BSN? Contact a CTU admissions advisor to discuss these credits opportunities and more.

1Tuition and timing reflects an accelerated pace for the nursing component of the program. Additional courses, such as general education requirements, may be necessary dependent on credits transferred to CTU.
2 Although not typical, up to 90 credits may be awarded for a Diploma of Nursing program based on a student's actual coursework completed. The pricing shown above reflects 42 transfer credits for a typical diploma program which is more common. Individual transfer credits awarded may vary.
3 Tuition cost assumes a student will be awarded the maximum credit for transfer, licensure, prior experiential learning, and professional certifications, will be continuously enrolled, and satisfactorily completes all program requirements for graduation. The total tuition cost will increase due to academic failure of courses and or withdrawals and drops. CTU cannot guarantee transfer or other credit will be accepted; please see University Transfer Credit policy.

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