Credit for Prior Learning | Westmoreland County Community College, Youngwood, Pennsylvania

Begin College Work at Advanced Levels

Students may receive academic credit for prior learning, enabling them to begin college work at advanced levels and shorten the time required to obtain degrees, diplomas or certificates.

Prior learning is experience-based learning attained outside the sponsorship of an accredited postsecondary educational institution (college or university). Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) may be awarded for learning acquired from:

  • Work and life experiences
  • Community and volunteer extension courses
  • Individual study and reading
  • Civic, community, and volunteer work
  • Military
  • Participation in informal courses and in-service training sponsored by associations, business, government, and industry

CPL is not awarded for the experience, but for demonstration of equivalent knowledge, skills, or competencies that were a result of the experience. View the CPL Handbook

Student studying in Founders HallAwarding Credit for Prior Learning

National Standardized Examinations

Enrolled students who can document an acceptable score on an approved standardized exam may receive college credit. Test fees may apply if the examination is taken in our Testing Center but there is no charge for transcripting the credit.

Currently, approved examination programs include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) - A program authorized by the College Board that allows a student to study college-level subjects while enrolled in high school and to receive advanced placement and college credit for earning a qualified score on the course-related Advanced Placement Program exam. Credit may be awarded to students who attain a score of three or higher on the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. Students must have official Advanced Placement Examination scores sent directly to the Westmoreland Admissions Office to be considered for credit. More information on Advanced Placement
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) - A set of standardized tests developed by the College Board for various subjects, and on which a qualifying score can be used to earn college credit. More information on CLEP
  • Defense Activity for Nontraditional Educational Support (DANTES/DSST) - A set of subject exams approved by the American Council on Education (ACE) that tests knowledge of both lower-level and upper-level college material. Credit may be awarded to students who take the DANTES exam for skills acquired during military service. Also, military courses may be submitted for review on an individual basis. Credit is normally awarded based upon the recommendations of the ACE. More information on DANTES
  • International Baccalaureate (IB) – The "International Baccalaureate Diploma Program" is an academically challenging two-year precollege diploma program comprised of three core requirements and six academic subject areas with final examinations that prepare students, 16 to 19 years of age, for higher education and life in a global society. More information on IB
  • Cambridge Advanced - The Cambridge AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) program is an international, advanced secondary curriculum and assessment program equivalent to the British system of “A-Levels.” To qualify for college credit, students must earn an appropriate passing score on the nationally administered exam. More information on Cambridge Advanced

To request credit, official scores must be sent to the Enrollment Center, 145 Pavilion Lane, Youngwood, PA  15697.

Departmental Examinations

Enrolled students who wish to demonstrate learning that is equivalent to a Westmoreland credit course may request to be examined and have their learning evaluated by a Westmoreland subject matter expert. The examination method may be written, oral, skill demonstration or a combination of all three at the discretion of the examining discipline.

Students may demonstrate mastery of Westmoreland courses and obtain credit by taking examinations except for the following:

  • Developmental courses
  • A course previously completed
  • A course which is a prerequisite for a course previously completed
  • A course for which the student is currently registered

Students must complete the Petition for Credit by Examination form to apply. This form is available in the division offices and at the Student Information Center. A $135 fee is charged for each exam. View courses approved for department examination

Portfolio Assessment

Portfolio assessment allows students to present prior learning experiences in portfolio format.  Check with the division dean to verify availability of portfolio assessment for the course. A $135 fee is charged for portfolio assessment. Portfolio Assessment Approval Form

Career and Technology Center Courses

Students may receive credit for approved occupational courses completed at area career and technology centers. 

Students Occupationally and Academically Ready 

These career and technical education programs of study include a statewide articulation agreement between secondary schools and postsecondary institutions. More information on SOAR

Credit for Certification Based on Published Guides

Enrolled students who can document completion of an approved apprenticeship or industrial/corporate training program may request credit by certification by contacting the Enrollment Center.

Industry Credentials

Enrolled students who have current industry credentials that are not addressed by the ACE guides may request credit by certification. To request credit, contact the division dean of the course.