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Prior Learning Assessment: Earn College Credits and Professional Credentials For Acquired Expertise

by Andrew Stratton

posted in Reference and Education

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If you're a job seeker with experience, you know how daunting it can be to find the best career match. Competition is stiff for openings across professions and locations, so the stronger the profile you present, the better your chances are to stand out favorably as a candidate. Of course, having a degree or academic credits can give your profile a crucial advantage, whether you're applying for college or a job. Fortunately, going to school isn't the only way: professionals also master their skills through hands-on learning and attain perfection through practice. Taking a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) could help provide the credentials you need to underscore your expertise, validate your experience, and earn college credits. To understand why taking a PLA could be a genius move for you, you first need to know what a PLA is, and how it works.
A PLA is a testing tool collaboratively developed by professional assessors and academic accreditors, and it is reviewed by relevant industrial experts. The test assesses the experience you bring to the table in a given field and establishes a 70% benchmark for recommending the equivalency in college credit. Recommendations for college credit from PLAs are accepted at over 1,500 participating accredited institutions of higher learning.
A PLA can work for you in two principal ways. First, as just noted, for the new or continuing student, it offers an obvious time- and cost-saving advantage. You can turn your life experience and professional expertise into earned college credit, upon acceptance of the recommendation by any participant college or university. The credits could be a real springboard for starting a new program of study. Even if the school you've chosen doesn't have a published policy, you can always inquire if it will accept your PLA credit recommendation.
Second, the PLA can be a real plus for job seekers and professionals who want to strengthen their portfolios or curricula vitae. You can include the college credit recommendation report on your résumé to demonstrate your mastery of the area assessed to potential employers. In this way, the report can serve as a professional credential for your hands-on experience, much as a certificate or transcript does. Taking a PLA could also save you both time and money, compared to earning a credential by enrollment in workshops or classes.
For both students and professionals, at whatever stage of their careers, taking a Prior Learning Assessment offers the potential to get a leg up on the competition and a feather in the cap. In any case, the cost is a modest investment with real return potential, in the short and long terms.
About the Author: When looking to attain a prior learning assessment, visit Nocti Business Solutions. Learn more about our services at
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