Earning Credit for What You Already Know
Thomas Edison State University 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 University’s own credit-by-exam program. Students can earn credit by taking a final exam without taking a course. The University also accepts credit earned from other testing programs, such as CLEP and DSST.
- Portfolio Assessment
- Many adult students are surprised to find that they come to Thomas Edison State University 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 University's Office for Assessment of Professional and Workplace Learning, a member of the Consortium for the Assessment of College Equivalency (CACE), 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.
At Thomas Edison State University, 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 University also offers a variety of other ways to earn credit - all designed around the needs of adult learners, like you.