How do I get College Credit for Work Experience?

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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2019
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If you are considering earning a college degree, you should know that you may be closer to graduation than you think. Many US universities award eligible students with college credit for work experience, allowing those who have participated in the workforce to save time and money as they complete their degrees. To earn college credit for work experience, begin by talking to a student adviser at your prospective educational institution to verify that the school recognizes work experience and that your experience qualifies for credit. You must then assemble proof of your prior work experience. Alternatively, you may in certain cases be able to take an exam that confirms your expertise in a particular area.

In order to earn college credit for work experience, you should start by speaking to an adviser at the college or university you wish to attend. Find out whether the school recognizes prior work experience as sufficient grounds for awarding credit. Then, confirm that your particular work history entitles you to credit. In most cases, your work experience must be related to the degree you wish to pursue in order to merit credits. Thus, if you wish to earn a degree in hospitality services, for instance, experience such as working as a restaurant manager or a hotel concierge may qualify for credits.


Once you have confirmed that you are eligible to earn college credit for work experience, you generally must assemble proof of that work experience. This will likely involve writing a detailed job description and getting letters from former employers. Evidence of any certification you may have earned during your period of employment can also help demonstrate your expertise in your area of experience. This documentation will in most cases be submitted to your university’s office of admission and records for review.

You may also be able to earn college credit for work experience by taking an examination that confirms your knowledge of the field in which you previously worked. These exams, known as College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) tests, are available in more than 30 subject areas and are offered at testing centers throughout the US. If, for instance, you previously worked in a marketing firm, you could take the marketing CLEP test. Should you pass the exam, you will in most cases be awarded credits equivalent to those earned for a semester-long class. Before taking a CLEP test, confirm that your prospective university grants CLEP credits.


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Post 2

I think many colleges give credit for work experience without requiring examination. But they will require some sort of documentation and maybe a short essay or presentation.

At my college, there was a course specially designed for students who wanted to use their work experience as degree credit. Each student gave a presentation about where they worked, what exactly they did and how this relates to their degree.

It was a fairly easy course with little or no coursework, but we still attended several sessions to turn in paperwork and then to give the presentation.

Post 1

Even if you have not worked anywhere previous to attending college, you can receive credit for current work experience, especially internships.

I was part of an internship program during college which gave me credits that could be applied to my degree. Just ask your degree counselor if there are any such programs that your college is working with.

This was a great opportunity for me because I did an internship during one semester of college and received credits for it. If the internship is paid, that means you are getting experience, credits and income all at the same time.

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