Your prior learning experiences can come in many forms and may be more beneficial to your education than you already know. Depending on your types of experiences, you may have them evaluated and potentially receive academic credit for them. Prior learning can include:

  • Courses recognized by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) or the American Council of Education (ACE)
  • Programs offered by the military and by civilian organizations, such as businesses, corporations, government agencies, training providers, institutes, and labor unions and validated by a credit recommendation agency accepted by Walden.

Types of Assessment

Walden offers a variety of ways to assess whether your prior learning experience is eligible for academic credit, including:   

  • Credit by Portfolio: You can apply for credit recognized by NCCRS after developing a portfolio through the Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL) via For this option, you will first consult with a member of the Academic Advising Team as a Walden student. If appropriate, you will then speak with a Council for Adult & Experiential Learning (CAEL) advisor and complete a Letter of Permission. Next steps include:
    • CAEL offers two portfolio course options through First, is an ‘instructor led’ option. This six-week course prepares you to create your portfolio for evaluation in order to earn college credit. This course only needs to be taken once regardless of the number of portfolios created. By completing this course, you can earn three credits that can be transferred to Walden as elective credit. Please refer to the website for current fees associated with the course. The other course option is a “Do It Yourself” model which is offered at a significantly lower price point, however, the course itself is not eligible for transfer credit, however eligible portfolio credit is transferrable
    • Creating your portfolio and requesting an evaluation. Portfolios are evaluated by trained CAEL evaluators. CAEL will evaluate portfolios for credit and award credit on a National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS) transcript. Each portfolio costs $125.
    • Requesting that an official CAEL transcript through NCCRS be submitted to Walden.
  • Professional Certifications: If you are a member of certain professional organizations, you may be able to translate your certifications into academic credit for a number of our online degree programs. Learn more.
  • Credit by Examination: Prior learning credit can be awarded by examination through:
    • Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES)
    • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    • Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)
    • Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma
  • MOOCs: If you’ve completed a MOOC—a massive open online course—through an ACE-approved training program, you may be able to turn that course into credit if you completed it through an ACE-approved program.*

You will need to contact the appropriate accrediting organization to arrange your assessment. Please contact an enrollment advisor to learn more. Request information, call 1-866-492-5336 in the United States, or see a list of international toll-free phone numbers.

*Other ACE-approved training programs may also be used toward academic credit. Speak with an enrollment advisor.

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