Students at graduation ceremony.

Prior Learning Assessment

Earn college credit for what you know.

Prior Learning Assessment can allow you to gain academic credit for skills and knowledge you’ve already learned. You may qualify for PLA for learning you acquired through work, employer training programs, military service, independent study, volunteer work or community service, and open source courseware study.

PLA evaluates those types of knowledge for college credit, certification or advanced standing in your academic career.

We offer several ways for you to qualify for PLA credit.

If you think you may qualify for PLA, download the PLA Student Guide and Application.


Credit By Exam

Pellissippi State accepts a number of examinations to test your knowledge and allow you to earn PLA credit.

Advanced Placement (AP)
Certified Administrative Professional (CAP) Exam or Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) Exam
College-Level Examination (CLEP)
Defense Activity Test and Examination Services Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Pellissippi State Credit By Exam
Thomas Edison State University Exam


Credit for ACE-Approved Training

You may be able to earn college credit for employer-sponsored training and certifications that are based on the American Council on Education National Guide to College Credit for Workforce Training. This options includes an evaluation of corporate training, certifications or apprenticeship programs.  


Credit for Department of Labor Approved Apprenticeship Programs

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Inside Wireman Program


Credit for Life Experience

Students may earn college credit through life experiences outside the classroom.

Credit for life experience might be granted for college courses for which credit cannot feasibly be granted by other means, like credit by exam. If you’re interested in Credit for Life Experience, complete the Credit for Life Experience form and submit it to the academic dean who oversees your area of interest.

If the academic dean grants approval for your request to proceed, you will interview with a faculty committee to clarify your experience. The committee will review any documentation and pass along a recommendation to the academic dean, and ultimately the vice president of Academic Affairs, for approval. If your request for Credit for Life Experience is denied, you’ll be contacted at this point. If your request is approved, the Records Office will notify you that academic credit for your life experience has been added to your records.


Credit for Military Training

Pellissippi State works closely with veterans to ensure that the maximum amount of credit may be awarded for military courses and training.


Credit for Non-Regionally Accredited Institutions

Many kinds of courses you may have taken at another college are automatically accepted for credit at Pellissippi State. If your previous credits are not automatically accepted, you may request reconsideration of transfer credit decisions.

The appeals process is the same whether you are transferring from a regionally or non-regionally accredited college or university.

The appropriate academic dean will review these documents and your appeals request. The Records Office and/or Admissions Office will then notify you of the review decision. At this point, the decision about your transfer credit is final.


Portfolio Assessment

Through a partnership with Learning Counts, you may prepare a portfolio that documents your skills, knowledge and abilities. An expert faculty member will review your portfolio to determine any college level credits for which you may qualify.