Credit for Non-Traditional Learning

Credit for Non-Traditional Learning (CNTL) is awarded in the following areas: Credit by Testing, Prior Experiential Learning, Extra-Institutional Learning, and Course Challenges.  General guidelines for the awarding of CNTL would be as follows.

> Credit by Testing – The College accepts credit through Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP).  The College also has a process to award Credit by Examination though a challenge exam.   This policy is found earlier in this Academic Regulations section. A maximum of 45 credits will be awarded by credit by examination.

Advanced Placement - Students may receive credit for Advanced Placement scores of “3” or higher. Advanced placement grade reports should be requested from the College Board and sent to the Enrollment Services office. Once received, the student will submit a Transfer of Credit form request for the AP score to be evaluated. AP coursework completed through the high school class will not be accepted for credit.  Score chart available at:

Course Challenge – Students may receive credit for a course by satisfactorily completing a challenge examination.  The student should register for the course and indicate to the instructor the desire to challenge the course.  Instructional divisions may reserve the right to deny challenges for specific courses.  An exam is administered and graded, with the grade recorded at the end of the quarter.  The student cannot participate in the class in an attempt to raise the grade. 

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)/DANTES – Examinations are accepted if students score above the ACE recommended score (normally 50). The distribution of credits must be no more than 10 credits in each of the following areas: English, natural sciences, mathematics, humanities and social sciences/history. Students are responsible for forwarding CLEP exam records directly from the College Board to the Enrollment Services Office. Test scores in the General Examination are not equated with specific course descriptions in the college catalog.  Students with English scores above the 50 are not exempt from ENGL& 101 or 102 requirements. CLEP English scores and credits can be applied toward communications or humanities credit with the exception of ENGL& 101 and 102. Acceptable test scores and credits granted can be applied to the General Education List requirements.  Students may receive credit in areas in which you have not already earned 10 credits. Students who have earned college course credit prior to taking the General Examination may earn credit in each of the five examination areas to the extent that the total course credits and examination credits do not exceed 10 in any general area.

> Prior Experiential Learning – Credit is awarded through assessing knowledge and skills gained through work and life experience that correspond to the student learning outcomes of some existing professional/technical courses at South Puget Sound Community College

> Credit for Alternative Learning Experience (CALE or called Extra-Institutional Learning by the state) – Awarded through documented third-party training, industry certifications or occupational crosswalks.  The training must be formal and documented.  Transfer of military credit is done through the Joint Services Transcript (JST) and based on the recommendation of the American Council on Education (ACE).  Students receiving College credit for military service through their JST or based on their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) must still earn credits consistent with the College residency policy in order to be granted a degree or certificate.  No more than 25% of credits used for a degree can come from CALE.  Students are charged a $25 application fee and $10 per credit for CALE (fee waived for military transcripts)

> Advanced Standing – Students may enroll in an advanced course when an evaluation of previous experience and education indicates that credit could be given for lower-level courses in the program. Credit will be given up to a maximum of 45 quarter credit hours only with completion of the higher-level courses with a grade of “C” or better, or with a grade that is agreed upon through a specific agreement with area high schools.

The request for advanced standing can be started by completion of the special enrollment form found in Enrollment Services.  The form must be signed by an advisor and the appropriate division dean to be reviewed for eligibility.