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If you are considering earning a college degree, you should know that you may be closer to graduation than you think. Many US universities award eligible students with college credit for work experience, allowing those who have participated in the workforce to save time and money as they complete their degrees. To earn college credit for work experience, begin by talking to a student adviser at your prospective educational institution to verify that the school recognizes work experience and that your experience qualifies for credit. You must then assemble proof of your prior work experience. Alternatively, you may in certain cases be able to take an exam that confirms your expertise in a particular area.
In order to earn college credit for work experience, you should start by speaking to an adviser at the college or university you wish to attend. Find out whether the school recognizes prior work experience as sufficient grounds for awarding credit. Then, confirm that your particular work history entitles you to credit. In most cases, your work experience must be related to the degree you wish to pursue in order to merit credits. Thus, if you wish to earn a degree in hospitality services, for instance, experience such as working as a restaurant manager or a hotel concierge may qualify for credits.
Once you have confirmed that you are eligible to earn college credit for work experience, you generally must assemble proof of that work experience. This will likely involve writing a detailed job description and getting letters from former employers. Evidence of any certification you may have earned during your period of employment can also help demonstrate your expertise in your area of experience. This documentation will in most cases be submitted to your university’s office of admission and records for review.
You may also be able to earn college credit for work experience by taking an examination that confirms your knowledge of the field in which you previously worked. These exams, known as College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) tests, are available in more than 30 subject areas and are offered at testing centers throughout the US. If, for instance, you previously worked in a marketing firm, you could take the marketing CLEP test. Should you pass the exam, you will in most cases be awarded credits equivalent to those earned for a semester-long class. Before taking a CLEP test, confirm that your prospective university grants CLEP credits.