Credit for Prior Learning

In order to comply with legislative action, Senate Bill 5917, the following changes were made to Credit for Prior Learning by the mandated date of September 15, 2018:

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is a process that enables individuals to demonstrate what they have learned and have that learning assessed for college credit. Granting college credit by utilizing PLA can have positive impacts on college affordability,  progress towards completion and overall student success. Clark College is committed to fostering an educated and skilled workforce, which is essential for economic prosperity by awarding credit for applicable learning experiences. Students may be able to earn college credit for knowledge and skills they have gained from previous education or training, military experience, volunteer, life and work experiences. Students may be assessed through various processes developed to determine the degree to which they have met the learning outcomes; this could be a test, written assessment, oral interview, project, performance or other appropriate method by which an appropriately qualified faculty member determines.

Currently, students at Clark may utilize the following types of PLA through the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Program:

Certification Crosswalks

Credit may be awarded for documented experiential learning outside the college upon the recommendation of appropriately qualified teaching faculty. Documentation may be in the form of, but not limited to, a licensure or certification document, that demonstrates that learning outcomes have been accomplished. For a current list of recognized Certification Crosswalks please contact the Credential Evaluations Office.

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Clark College awards credit for successful CLEP examinations. An up to date list of subjects and required scores can be found by going to the CLEP page. To be considered for credit, a student must pass the examination with a score of 50 or higher. For a current list of accepted CLEP exams please visit the CLEP page or contact the Credential Evaluations Office.

Course Challenges

 Students who believe that previous experience has provided them with the competencies essential for passing a course may request to challenge that course. A course challenge process may be used when:

  1. There is a specific Clark College course for which the student believes that the learning outcomes can be met;
  2. The course can be challenged (some courses may not be challengeable).

Students wishing to challenge a course may not be currently enrolled in, or previously attempted, the course they wish to challenge, nor may students challenge courses if they have completed a course with a higher degree of difficulty. The successful challenge will appear on the student's transcript within the quarter earned; there will be no transcript entry for an unsuccessful challenge. For a current list of challengeable courses please contact the Credential Evaluations Office.

Military Experience

Clark College meets the requirements of RCW 28B.10.057 by awarding academic credit for military training. The academic credit awarded for prior military training is granted only for training that is applicable to the student’s degree or certificate requirements. Credits will be conferred based on ACE credit recommendations, in consultation with academic departments.  It is recommended that students consult with the Veteran’s Affairs Office to discuss funding implications related to applying military credits to their degree or certificate plan.

The individual must be enrolled in Clark College and have successfully completed any military training course or program as part of the military service that is:

  1. Recommended  for credit by a national higher education association that provides credit recommendations for military training programs;
  2. Included in the individual’s military transcript issued by any branch of the armed services;
  3. Documented military training or experience that is substantially equivalent to any course or program offered by the institution of higher education.

For more information regarding our military policy please visit the Military Experience page or contact the Credential Evaluations Office.

Additional CPL Information


The following restrictions also apply to the awarding of prior learning credits:

  • Credits may be awarded only if the learning experiences fall within the regular curriculum of the College.
  • Prior learning credits cannot duplicate credits that have already been attempted or awarded.
  • Prior learning credits do not count toward the minimum residency requirement.
  • Prior learning credits will be recorded with an “S” grade.
  • A non-refundable fee per credit must be paid for prior learning assessments.
  • Additional information regarding these restrictions can also be found in our catalog.

Advanced Placement (AP)

Clark College grants non-traditional credit for completion of the College Board's Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. AP is a cooperative educational endeavor between secondary schools and colleges and universities. The program provides motivated high school students with the opportunity to take college-level courses in a high school setting. AP courses are taught by high school teachers, following course guidelines developed and published by the College Board. Students who participate in the program gain college-level skills and also earn college credit. For the list of AP examinations and their direct equivalencies, please visit the Advanced Placement page.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

Clark College grants non-traditional credit for completion of International Baccalaureate examinations.  The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a rigorous, pre-college course of study for high school students, designed to prepare students for liberal arts education at the college level. The term "international" reflects the availability of the program in several countries. For more information on IB credits, please visit the International Baccalaureate page.

Cambridge International (CI)

Clark College will grant a minimum elective credit for each Cambridge International Examination for A-level exam with a passing grade of B or above for approved examinations. Credit will be awarded on the basis of official Cambridge International Examination results, not transcript notation. Duplicate credit for the same subject taken on different exams will not be granted. No grades are posted for A-level exams.


For more information regarding the CPL Program contact the Credential Evaluations Office at (360) 992-2805 or