Prior Learning Assessment

Did you know that you may be able to earn college credit for what you already know and have accomplished?

Prior learning assessments (PLAs) is where students may earn credit for college level learning gained outside of the traditional classroom setting. PLA credit may include competency examinations, employer training programs, military service and other learning experiences. Students may earn up to 60 credit hours of PLA credit, with no more than 24 credit hours of any one type of PLA credit. PLA credit may satisfy general education, major, or minor requirements, or be granted as elective credit.

PLA credit is only awarded for college level learning.


Credit By Examination

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
  • College-Level Examination (CLEP)
  • DSST Credit by Exam Program (Formerly DANTES)
  • International Baccalaureate (IB)
  • UTC Credit by Special Examination
  • Cambridge International Exam


Training Programs

  • Military service credit
  • American Council on Education (ACE)
  • Workplace training and certificates
  • Center for Professional Education Units (CEU)
  • Correspondence and Extension Credit


Prior Learning Assessment by Portfolio

The Integrated Studies program may be an appropriate degree for a student with prior learning. It allows students to create a course plan to fit their educational and career goals by integrating courses by tow or three disciplines.

How Do I Earn Portfolio Credit?

Evidence of acquired college-level learning must be provided by the student; this may include certificates, training, program information, and other materials developed under the guidance of a faculty member or advisor. 


The process for awarding credit will vary with the type of PLA credit the student is seeking.

  • AP, CLEP, Military/ACE, DSST, CEU, & IB - official score reports or transcripts must be sent from the testing agency or institution directly to the Admissions Office at UTC, 615 McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37403.
  • Credit by Special Examination - these challenge exams are administered in the relevant academic department and must be arranged by the student; the student must pay fees for any credit awarded.
  • Portfolio Credit - evidence of acquired college-level learning must be provided by the student; evidence may include certificates, training program information, and other materials developed under the guidance of a faculty member or advisor.