How to Earn Credit for College with Life Experience

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How to Earn College Credit for Life Experience

What if you could use life experiences and turn them into college credits via a Life Experience degree program?

I went to the school of hard knocks. Life is the best teacher. You may have heard these adages before and there is some truth in them. Many of us do learn from life experiences. While the learning may not always be welcomed at first, we may look back and see how much we’ve grown. We might even be amazed at the knowledge we gleaned—even if the process was filled with potholes. What if you could use those life experiences and turn them into college credits via a Life Experience degree program?

With many nontraditional students returning to college—single moms, professionals seeking new career paths, full-time employees who want to finish their undergrad work—new challenges arise. Trying to juggle family life, work, and earning an online degree isn’t easy. However, if you could transform certain life experiences into legitimate, academic credits that would be accepted by quality, accredited colleges, you may find yourself inspired and motivated to earn that Bachelor’s or Master’s degree you have your heart set on.


What questions should you ask yourself to determine if earning Life Credits is right for you?

  • Is my knowledge up-to-date?
  • Is my learning similar to a certain class described in my college’s course catalog?
  • Does my learning correlate to the subject or major I will be studying at my university?
  • Do I understand the ideologies behind what I have done as well as the concrete steps I took to gain my life experience?

If you answered “yes” to the above questions, earning Life Credits may be an option for you. Of course, only certain online colleges and universities accept Life Credits so you should check with the college you are interested in to ensure they have a Life Experience degree program and that they will accept your Life Credits.

Each college is different regarding their Life Experience program but here are some things you may have to do in order for your Life Credits count for academic credit:

  • Fill out a Life Experience application either online or in-person
  • Take a learning assessment exam like CLEP[i] or DSST subject test[ii]
  • Write an essay regarding your life experience
  • Create a comprehensive Life Experience portfolio[iii] filled with materials that support your life experience such as references, work samples, copies of awards or certificates, transcripts, and resume with job descriptions

Here are some examples of experiences that you may earn Life Credits for:

  • CPR certification[iv]
  • Military training schools[v]
  • Police academy
  • Certified Computer Programmer
  • Technical programs
  • FAA pilot, engineer, mechanic licenses
  • Students Occupationally and Academically Ready (SOAR)
  • Career programs
  • Professional licensures
  • Chartered Financial Assistant
  • CLEP exam
  • American Council on Education (ACE) programs[vi]
  • Certified purchasing manager

You may look around you at work and realize that you know more about your job than your co-workers with college degrees. If so, you should consider earning credits for your life experiences and check into college Life Experience programs that you might enroll in. It’s never too late to earn your degree. With so many flexible, online, college degree programs, you should have no trouble locating the right degree program for you. 

[i] | [ii] | [iii] | [iv] | [v] |  [vi]   Additional Sources: