Prior Learning


Prior learning is a term used to describe learning that a person acquires outside a traditional academic environment. This learning may have been acquired through work experience, employer training programs, military, non-credit courses or seminars, and volunteer work.

Prior learning assessment (PLA) is a term used to describe the process by which an individual’s experiential learning is assessed and evaluated for purposes of awarding college credit. NMCC has many approaches to PLA that help students save time and money on their way to achieving their college dreams!

  1. National standardized exams in specified disciplines such as Advanced Placement (AP) exams, College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, Dantes Subject Standardized Texts (DSST)
  2. Foreign Language Achievement Testing Service (FLATS) exams
  3. Proficiency Credit – Certificates, Examinations & Licenses from evaluated non-college programs
  4. NMCC Challenge Exams
  5. Portfolio Review
  6. Military Review
  7. Articulation Agreements

The college awards credit for examinations based on current American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations.

To estimate how your knowledge and expertise could equal college credit, try out our Credit Predictor Tool:

College credit for prior learning can help students avoid having to take courses in subjects they have already mastered. This is especially helpful for adult students who have acquired college-level learning through on-the-job training, work experience, the military, volunteer work, open source courseware and other self-study. Earning credit for prior learning saves students both time and tuition dollars in learning a degree. For more information, please contact Shannon Cook, Registrar, at 207-768-2791 or via email: