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Prior Learning Assessment

PLA student picture

Overview & Purpose

Collin College strives to provide meaningful learning opportunities for our students, while also recognizing the knowledge and skills students have gained outside a traditional college setting. The Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process is designed to recognize and evaluate learning gained through diverse educational, work, and/or training experience. 


PLA offers students the ability to earn college credit for learning acquired outside of a formal classroom setting. Recognizing students’  learning experiences through a prior learning assessment process helps students complete their degree or certificate sooner at a lower cost.

 PLA Opportunities

Advanced Placement (AP) – administered by the College Board, the Advanced Placement (AP) program offers an opportunity for students to complete college level course work in secondary schools. Please click here for more information.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP) - Administered by the College Board, the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) offers an opportunity for students to earn college credit based on their performance on certain exams that cover introductory level college course material.  Generally, CLEP exams are computer-based and contain multiple choice questions about the subject area. Please click here for more information.

International Baccalaureate (IB) - The International Baccalaureate diploma is an international program of courses and exams offered to high school students. Please click here for more information.

Departmental Exam - College credit awarded based an institutional exam (written or skills demonstration) developed by faculty who teach the course and designed to assess learning outcomes related to a specific course. Please click here for more information.

Certification/Licensure – Many students attend college while working and may obtain industry certifications or licenses. The completed trainings can be evaluated by Collin College faculty to determine if the credential is equivalent to a college credit course. Students must provide evidence of an official, current licensure or professional certificate to receive credit.
Linked Courses (Credit through Continuing Education) – Courses taken through Collin College Continuing Education may be eligible for college credit. Requirements in Linked Courses match the requirements of a college credit course. Please click here for more information.
Military Credit – Students may receive course credit by presenting evidence of having satisfactorily completed a program of military training for which equivalent college credit may be given in accordance with the American Council on Education Standards and Recommendations and/or evaluation by Collin College faculty.

Student Eligibility & Process 

  • Currently enrolled students or enrolled within the past 5 years
  • Completed 3 credit hours at Collin College
  • Not currently enrolled in course for which PLA is requested
  • Declared a degree program
  • Meet requirements specific to the assessment option
  • Prior learning credit may not be requested:
        - for a previously completed credit course.
        - for partial credit.
        - more than once for a specific course.
  • Credit through PLA may not exceed 75% of student's coursework in a degree or certificate; 25% of the degree or certificate must be completed at Collin College. 
  • PLA will be added to student's transcript only upon request and after student has completed 3 credit hours at Collin College.
  • PLA credit is not computed in student's grade point average (GPA) and is not guaranteed to transfer, students who plan to transfer to another institution should consult with the receiving institution on GPA requirements and course transferability. 
  • Credit earned through PLA cannot be removed from a student's record or transcript once it has been awarded. 
  • How do I know if PLA is right for me?  Contact your department or advisor to determine if PLA best supports your academic goals.  
  • Can PLA save me time in completing my degree? PLA credit may help you complete your degree faster by earning credit for what you already know.
  • Can PLA save me money? If the amount of time to complete your degree is shorter, you can save money.