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"Degrees & Programs"

Surprise! You may have credits toward a college degree and not even realize it

By University of Phoenix
May 07, 2020 • 2 minute read

We all know there are some things you can learn only from experience. Even if you’ve read about a process in books or even observed it in action, there’s nothing quite like learning on the job to really understand how it works.

Education relies largely on teaching a base of knowledge and theories, with application typically woven in toward the end of your degree path. But what if you had the chance to take your real-world career experiences and apply what you already know directly to a degree program? It’s possible.

University of Phoenix’s Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program allows students to submit past training, certifications and experience for evaluation toward college credits that can expedite their education. For 3 credits earned through PLA, an undergraduate student can graduate 5 weeks faster, with a savings of about $1,200. PLA credits end up saving working adult students two of the most precious commodities — time and money.

Ann Szychowicz, a 2019 graduate of UOPX’s undergraduate business program, was able to graduate early because of PLA credits. Szychowicz worked closely with her Student Services advisor to choose skills that aligned with her two decades of work experience prior to submitting her PLA application for consideration.

“For me, as someone who has over 20 years of diverse work experience and was struggling financially, it was a good fit,” Szychowicz said. “I could write, which was on my own timeline, and I saved money because I had to complete fewer classes to graduate.”.”

Szychowicz noted that the process is rigorous, as it is intended to prove proficiency that an entire course would provide, but she also encouraged students with a strong work or volunteer background to pursue PLA, saying it is worth it in the end.

What to know about PLA credit?

So, what exactly are we talking about here? PLA credits are earned for learning that took place outside of the traditional school or classroom environment. Students looking to take advantage of UOPX’s PLA program are undergraduate students

As was mentioned, PLA credits can expedite a degree path and save money. When you’re a working adult student, this is a tremendous benefit. It’s like a gift of time and resources.