Delaware County Community College, Serving Delaware and Chester Counties

Credit for Prior Learning

Did you know that you may be able to earn college credit for work or life experiences that equate to college-level knowledge?

At Delaware County Community College, this is called Credit for Prior Learning, and it can bring you one step closer to your goal of a degree or certificate.

It may help you reduce the course load you have to carry, allowing you to complete your college education in less time, with less expense and with the additional convenience of working from home. So take a minute to see if you can turn your knowledge and experiences into college credit.

You may be eligible to receive or earn credit for knowledge you’ve acquired through life and work experiences that are closely related to the learning objectives of the College’s credit courses. This knowledge may have come through on-the-job experiences, professional workshops, non-credit classes at business or technical schools, volunteer activities, personal study or other pursuits.

Prior Learning Assessment

This assessment examines knowledge you may have gained through work and life experiences and evaluates it for college credit. Here are a few questions that will help you to decide if you should consider this option.

  • Is your learning exactly or closely equivalent to a specific credit course listed in the College’s catalog?
  • Is your learning in subject areas that coincide with courses necessary to meet your degree requirements here at the College?
  • Do you understand the principles behind what you do, or have done, as well as the steps involved in doing it?
  • Is your knowledge current?

Free information sessions are held each semester and are publicized on the College's website, in local newspapers and in the Student Information Services (SIS) bulletin. Contact the Assessment Center to set up an appointment with a Credit for Prior Learning Advisor.

Ways to Earn College Credit for Prior Learning

Portfolio Development

A portfolio is an organized folder or binder of information, compiled by a student, detailing specific past accomplishments, experiences and learning. It shows that your experiential learning is equivalent to or closely related to that of a specific College course(s) – learning other students have gained after completing the course(s) through traditional classroom studies.

A portfolio must conform to the College’s format. If you choose to develop a portfolio, you should work under the guidance of an assessment advisor, who can explain procedures and techniques for assembling a successful portfolio. The assessment advisor will work with appropriate College faculty, in your discipline, who will assess each portfolio.

The College reserves the right to determine whether a course can be assessed as well as the appropriate assessment method. (Please note that assessment advisors may occasionally determine that credit by exam is a more viable option for you than portfolio development.)

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College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP tests are standardized exams that measure your knowledge of the material covered in certain introductory college courses. CLEP credit is treated as transfer credit and is awarded only for a passing score on an exam. Non-passing scores do not appear on your transcript.

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Credit by Examination

When there is no CLEP exam in a subject area or when a student cannot fully document his or her previous learning through a portfolio, there is another option: an examination that will assess the relationship of your prior learning to that of College courses. College faculty members develop such exams. These exams are arranged only through the Assessment Services. Please call for an appointment, and note that not every course can be assessed via credit by examination.

This option can be pursued only if you are not registered in the course for which the exam is sought. If you are enrolled in a course and choose the exam option, you may discuss the "challenge exam" option with the instructor. For additional information on the challenge exam procedure, consult the College’s Student Handbook.

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Credit for Military Training Schools

Veterans and current military personnel may have Assessment Services evaluate their previous military educational experience and courses for transfer credit. The military training school/course(s) must be recommended for credit by ACE (American Council on Education). To begin this process, you need to submit validated records of training programs or military courses to Assessment Services.

Learn more about the College’s Veterans Services.

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American Council on Education (ACE)

Courses and programs offered through organizations (AT&T, GE, AIB, Police Academy, etc.) can be evaluated for credit. Consult Assessment Services for more information.

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Advanced Placement (AP)

Delaware County Community College recognizes superior achievement in secondary schools by granting advanced-placement college credits to qualified students. 

Advanced placement examinations are administered by the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB). Students should have their official scores sent directly to the Assessment Center.

AP credit is awarded to students earning an appropriate score on CEEB advanced placement examinations in the areas listed below, subject to instructor approval. For specific score requirements contact the Assessment Center.

The College also offers advanced placement credit for successfully completed coursework through partnership agreements with secondary schools and through the Intermediate Units in Delaware and Chester Counties.

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Students Occupationally and
Academically Ready (SOAR)

SOAR is a career and technical education initiative that establishes statewide articulations between secondary and post-secondary education. These programs of study enable high school graduates in career or technical programs to earn college credit that can be applied to their continued studies at the post-secondary level. Assessment advisors in Assessment Services will provide assistance in obtaining credits from Delaware County Community College. For additional information, make a telephone appointment (contact information is at the top of this page) with an assessment advisor.

Visit to see how your high school credits may be accepted by the College.

Click the SOAR logo below for additional information.

The SOAR logo