Earning Credit for What You Already Know
Thomas Edison State College does not award credit for life experience. Rather, we provide our students the opportunity to earn credit by demonstrating that they possess college-level knowledge, and we have several methods to help students do just that. These methods include:
- Testing (TECEP®)
- This is the College’s own credit-by-exam program. Students can earn credit by taking a final exam without taking a course. The College also accepts credit earned from other testing programs, such as CLEP and DSST.
- Portfolio Assessment (formerly PLA)
- Many adult students are surprised to find that they come to Thomas Edison State College with knowledge in multiple subject areas that they can apply toward their undergraduate degrees. There are several options for developing a portfolio that can help you earn college credit. The best way is to take PLA-100 (Introduction to Prior Learning Assessment) and PLA-200 (Introduction to Portfolio Assessment), in which students learn about the options for getting their learning assessed, as well as how to develop a portfolio for undergraduate credit.
- Graduate PLA
Graduate level Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) allows students the opportunity to earn graduate credit for the knowledge acquired through work, through corporate, military or industry training, through workforce development programs, in-depth professional research and other learning experiences. With the guidance of an assigned graduate mentor, students articulate and document their learning equivalent to a specific graduate level course. This involves writing a narrative to address the graduate level learning outcomes specific to that course for which you’re attempting to earn credit. Additionally the submission of evidence verifying your learning and your background is essential for any successful PLA. Evidence may include letters or documents of support, samples of your work, an annotated bibliography and other items deemed appropriate by the PLA mentor. This online process is conducted within a 12-week graduate term and must be pre-approved by the office of the Dean of the School offering your graduate degree.
For additional information please contact the PLA office at PLAWeb@tesc.edu.
- Licenses & Certifications
- Students may earn credit if they possess one of more than 60 licenses and certifications in a wide range of fields, from aviation and healthcare to law enforcement and business. Licenses and/or certifications must be current and valid.
- Military Training
- Students with military experience may earn credit, depending on the military training documented in Joint Service Transcripts (JST), transcripts from the Community College of the Air Force and the Coast Guard Institute or, for service members who left the military before 1986, a DD-214 form.
- Professional Training
- Students may earn credit for professional training programs they have completed that have been evaluated by the College's Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning or through the American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service or the National College Credit Recommendation Service.
- Open Course Option
- This option enables students to take open, online courses offered by the Saylor Foundation at no cost and then apply what they learned in those open courses by successfully completing a portfolio assessment, TECEP® exam or other credit-by-exam program aligned with the open course.
- Credit for Courses Taught
If you have taught college level courses, for college credit, at regionally accredited colleges or universities, or have taught courses that have ACE or NCCRS recommendation of college credit, you can receive credit for the courses you’ve taught. You must be the primary instructor, the person responsible for determining and submitting course grades. There are instances where a regionally accredited college or university may employ a faculty instructor who is without a completed baccalaureate degree. In such instances, Thomas Edison State College recognizes the accompanying level of expertise of such unique individuals, and awards Credit for Courses Taught. Appropriate documentation is required. For additional information on this please contact the Office of Portfolio Assessment at PLAWeb@tesc.edu.
Download the Credit for Courses Taught form.
At Thomas Edison State College, what matters is that you possess that college-level knowledge – not how you acquired it.
Admissions Video Guide
Transfer Your Credit
Have you attended college before? If so, you may be able to transfer credits earned at other regionally accredited colleges or universities. The College also offers a variety of other ways to earn credit - all designed around the needs of adult learners, like you.