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Credit Prior Learning

credit prior learning

Credit for Prior Learning

Advanced Standing for prior learning is earning credit for what you already know: Southwest Virginia Community College supports awarding college credit for prior learning assessment (PLA). This learning typically takes place outside of the traditional classroom by work experience or other methods.  Students may consider options from the following list that the College offers to accelerate their degree pursuits.

Find out if you can get credit for what you know!   Request a prior learning assessment.
Dionne Cook, Coordinator of Enrollment Services

Phone: (276) 964-7301
Email: dionne.cook@sw.edu
Office: Tazewell Hall Room T-105

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Options

  • Advanced placement exams
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP) administered by The College Board
  • Challenge exams offered by the College
  • Military occupation/experience
  • Workforce certifications or licensure
  • Non-Credit Workforce Solutions Training Certification/Credential (see crosswalk in this section)
Process: Students must earn and complete 25% of their program requirements at SWCC. Prior learning credits or transfer courses from another institution do not count toward this 25% requirement. To qualify for PLA credits you must be enrolled at SWCC with a declared major.

Assignment of credit: No grade will be reflected on the student’s transcript for PLA credits and all awards will be assigned a “T” and not calculated as a part of the student’s grade point average (GPA).  All decisions for acceptance of PLA credits is the responsibility of the College.

Types of PLA Credit Available

Advanced Placement Exams: AP exams are offered by the College Board to high school students attending classes with college level curricula.  Scores accepted at SWCC are a part of this section.

College Level Examination Program-CLEP: The CLEP measures how much you know about academic subjects. You may earn college credit by taking this test and receiving a satisfactory score in the subject area.  A list of subjects and scores required are a part of this section. Thousands of colleges and universities accept CLEP test scores, which are administered by the College Board.

Challenge Exams: Challenge exams are offered by faculty in selected courses and are provided, developed and scored by college faculty.  Students should consult the Dean in the division offering the course to be challenged to determine availability.  Some courses/faculty do not offer challenge exams.

Military Occupation or Experience: Credit is offered by all of Virginia’s community colleges for current and prior military experience and training.  Active military personnel and veterans can evaluate how many credits they have already earned toward a degree by having an original joint service transcript available for upload to the Credits2Careers website. (https://www.credits2careers.org/ ) Current and former members of the Air Force must utilize transcripts from the Community College of the Air Force.

Workforce Certifications or Licensure: Certain IT certifications, National Board Licensure Examinations, and other Health Care Licensure may qualify for college credit.  Students holding these qualifications should contact the division Dean.

Non-Credit Workforce Solutions Training Certification/Credential: Students should examine the Workforce Solutions Training Certification/Credential crosswalk that is a part of this section to determine potential credit awards.

Non-Traditional Credit by Experience:  Request must be submitted to the Dean of the division where the requested course is housed.  This credit must be evaluated by faculty in the course discipline and approved by the Dean.  No credit by experience or non-traditional credit will be approved until the student has completed a minimum of 12 credits at SWCC in his/her declared major.  Application for these credits must be submitted on the Non-Traditional Credit form

AP and CLEP Examination Scores Required

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SubjectAP ScoreCLEP ScoreCollege Credit
ACCOUNTINGNA50ACC 211/213
BIOLOGY350BIO 101/102
BUSINESS LAWNA50BUS 241
CHEMISTRY350CHM 111/112
ENGLISHNA50ENG 111
ENGLISH3NAENG 111/112
FRENCH350FRE 101/102
GOVERNMENT3NAPLS 211/212
U.S. HISTORY350HIS 121/122
LITERATURE350ENG 241/242
MANAGEMENTNA50BUS 200
MATH350MATH 154
MATH3NAMATH 154/155
MATH3NAMATH 245
PRIN MACROECONA50ECO 201
PRIN MACROECONA50ECO 202
PRIN MARKETINGNA50MKT 100
PSYCHOLOGY3NAPSY 201/202
SOCIOLOGYNA50SOC 200
SPANISH350SPA 101/102


Students seeking advanced placement in college level courses using AP or CLEP examination must follow the procedure outlined below:

AP scores are sent to the Admissions Office by the College Board to be evaluated according to the accepted College policy.  The Admissions Office will forward to Division Deans, as required, copies of AP scores of students receiving credit and/or those needing further assistance.  The Admissions Office will award credit and arrange placement on the student’s college transcript.

Students seeking credit by CLEP EXAMINATION should contact the Admissions Office.  Students achieving the exam score required will have credit placed on their college transcript.  No grade will be awarded.

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Workforce Solutions Training Certification / CredentialVCCS Course PrefixVCCS Course #Credits   
Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AEDRPK1602
SAF1272
Adult CPR/AEDSAF1272
Adult First Aid/CPR/AEDSAF1272
Wilderness & Remote First AidRPK1602
Certified Interpretive GuideRPK1253
CompTIA IT FundamentalsBUS1063
NCCER Carpentry Level 1BLD1315
NCCER Carpentry Level 2BLD1325
BLD1353
NCCER Core CurriculumBLD1103
NCCER Electrical Level 1ELE1354
ELE1404
NCCER Electrical Level 2ELE1363
NCCER Masonry Level 1BLD1473
NIMS CNC Milling OperatorMAC1213
NIMS CNC Turning OperatorMAC1223
OSHA 10 ConstructionSAF1272
OSHA 10 General IndustrySAF1272
OSHA 30 ConstructionBLD2152
CompTIA A+ITN1063
ITN1073
CompTIA Network+ITN1013
CompTIA Security+ITN2603
CISCO CCNAITN1544
ITN1554
CISCO CCNPITN1564
ITN1574
Internet and Computing Core Certification (IC3)ITE1153
Leave No Trace TrainerRPK1401
NCCER Welding Level IWEL1173
WEL1233
NCCER Welding Level IIWEL1503
WEL1603
WEL 1303
NCCER HVAC Level IAIR1214
AIR1224
AIR1653
AIR1363
NCCER HVAC Level IIAIR1214
AIR1224
AIR1654
AIR1364
AIR2354
AIR1543
AWS MIG WeldingWEL1603
AWS Pipe WeldingWEL1263
AWS TIG WeldingWEL1303
Siemens Mechatronics Level I CertificationMEC1403
MEC1653
IND2433
MEC1552
MOS Word, Excel and PowerpointITE1153
Map/Compass/GPSRPK1511
Trip Ride GuideRPK1501
BackpackingRPK1701
Preparation for Wilderness AdventureRPK1031
Digital LiteracyITE1021