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Earn College Credit By Making the Most of Your Experience

Jul
23
2013

Life has been known to teach us many lessons. Wouldn’t it be great if you could get college credit for some of those lessons? Maybe you can. Piedmont Technical College offers exemption credit for military service, work or life experience to those who qualify.

Life Experience

The life experience exemption credit signifies that you have met the competencies required for a class without taking the class. In other words, to receive a life exemption credit, you have to be able to demonstrate that you’ve gained the knowledge covered in the class through your previous work or life experience.

For example: an administrative assistant who works each day with Microsoft Office may not need to take CPT 101; a machinist who simply needs the credentials to advance in his job  may be eligible to exempt some of the required courses.

The trick is being able to show that you use those skills every day. Life experience exemption can be a very helpful option for people who are working in their chosen field, but have hit the wall for advancement because they lack a degree.

Military Service

Exemption credit is also available if you’ve served your country in the military. Credit can be given for military experience or training that closely corresponds to the PTC program you want to pursue.

Credit by Examination

PTC also offers several credit by exam options. Courses like Keyboarding offer the opportunity to demonstrate your skills through a test that measures your competency. If you have the knowledge, you may be eligible to test out of a class for a small fee.

Other nationally-recognized testing is also accepted to exempt a student from class. Those include AP (Advanced Placement), CLEP (College Level Examination Program) and PEP (Proficiency Examination Program). Students may take any one of these tests in courses ranging from Spanish and biology to English and economics. Credit will be awarded based on the test scores and the recommendation of the testing service.

Is There a Downside?

There are advantages – and disadvantages – for earning exemption credit.

Exemption credit means you won’t have to take as many classes while at PTC, and this can save you time and money on your path to earning your degree.

However, exemption credit doesn’t give you a grade. So the knowledge you have can’t help your GPA. Additionally, exemption credit won’t transfer to another college. So if you plan to earn an associate degree and then transfer to a four-year university, you may end up taking the classes you were exempted from at that university to meet their requirements for a degree.

Exemption credit may also affect whether or not you can graduate. One of the requirements for a degree at PTC is that 25 percent of the coursework be completed here—too much exemption credit may put you over the limit.

A Good Place to Start

Knowing the possible disadvantages, exemption credit is definitely worth looking into if you have the experience and background, but not the education to go with it.

If that’s where you are, the first step is to meet with the department head in the area where you intend to pursue a degree. Together, you can determine if exemption credit is right for you and begin the process with the necessary documentation and paperwork.

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