Credit for Prior Learning | BCTC

Credit for Prior Learning

Prior Learning Accelerates Credit Earning

You've lived your life, and you've learned a lot, so isn't it time to be rewarded for what you already know?

We realize that learning isn't limited to the inside of a classroom or to individuals of a certain age. Whether you've been working for years or you're a younger student ready to start your college experience, opportunities for receiving academic credit for college-level learning that you already know are possible.

Through the use of prior learning assessments, Bluegrass Community and Technical College can measure the college-level knowledge you've gained through your day-to-day life and offer you credit for that prior learning. Perhaps you:

  • Studied Spanish through an online course
  • Are a certified EMT
  • Own a long-standing business
  • Received specialized training through military service provided for our country

All of these experiences and more, and the learning associated with them, could allow you to earn college credit that will help you save money and complete your education in less time.

To begin your journey toward credit for prior learning, explore the various prior learning assessments honored by Bluegrass Community and Technical College below and then speak to your advisor or our Credit for Prior Learning Coordinator to determine which options might be appropriate for you and your selected program area.

We are excited to help you explore prior learning and the immediate and long-term benefits it can have for your education! Let us help you Find Your Place!

How Do I Earn Credit for Prior Learning?

What Is Credit for Prior Learning?
Credit for prior learning is a term used to describe knowledge gained outside of a traditional academic environment. Potential areas for credit for prior learning can include:

  • Work experience
  • Participation in employer training programs
  • Military service
  • Independent study
  • Volunteer work or community service
  • Study of open source courseware

By demonstrating the knowledge gained through these experiences, via various prior learning assessments, you may be able to earn college credit. Credit for prior learning is the same credit that would be awarded if you learned through a traditional class.

How Can I Use Credit for Prior Learning?
Credit for prior learning applies toward majors, minors, concentrations, general education requirements, and electives that count toward the degree or certificate you are seeking.  It can also satisfy prerequisite requirements.

What Are the Requirements for Using Credit for Prior Learning?
Credit for prior learning can only be awarded to students who have been admitted to Bluegrass Community and Technical College.

We also recommend that students interested in credit for prior learning meet with their academic advisors to ensure the credit they are interested in will meet requirements for their academic programs. Changing majors may result in the reassessment of the credit and how it can be used toward the new program's educational requirements.

How Much Prior Learning Credit Can I Use?
Bluegrass Community and Technical College will honor a maximum of 30 credit hours of prior learning credit for an associate's degree; however, whether you are seeking a certificate, diploma, or degree, at least 25% of the credit hours required for a credential must be completed at Bluegrass Community and Technical College.  This means that the amount of prior learning credit you can apply to your credential may be less than the full 30 credit hours.

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What are the Options for Earning Credit?

AP exams are a series of standardized tests that enable high school students to complete college-level courses and demonstrate college-level achievement. Students must score 3 or higher on the exams to receive credit. See the approved list in the KCTCS catalog (new window).
Students may receive up to 54 credit hours within the Automotive Technology program by passing the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) exams. These hours may be applied to the AAS degree upon successful completion of 15 credit hours at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Students should submit a copy of the ASE scores and their BCTC Student ID number to the Automotive Technology Coordinator for review.
Students who successfully pass the Certified Professional Secretary (CPS) Examination may receive a maximum of 21 credit hours in specified courses after completing 12 credit hours at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. See the approved list of courses in the KCTCS catalog (new window).
After successfully completing one 3-credit hour IEC course, a student enrolled in the IEC program who holds a current Child Development Associate (CDA) credential from the Council for Professional Recognition will be granted credit for IEC 101, IEC 102, and IEC 190.  Students should submit a copy of their credential and BCTC Student ID number to the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Coordinator for review.
After successfully completing one 3-credit hour IEC course, a student enrolled in the IEC program who holds a current Commonwealth Child Care Credential (CCCC) from the State of Kentucky will be granted credit for IEC 101. Students should submit a copy of the credential and their BCTC Student ID number to the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education Coordinator.
CLEP exams test mastery of college-level material learned through general academic instruction such as classes, significant independent study, or extracurricular work. Students can receive credit for general education classes by successfully passing a CLEP exam. See the approved list of exams under Academic Services in the KCTCS catalog (new window).
Students who have passed the Kentucky State Board of Hairdressers & Cosmetologists licensure exam and hold an active license in Kentucky may receive 54 semester hours applied to the AAS degree upon completion of 15 credit hours at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. Students should submit a copy of their license and BCTC Student ID number to the Cosmetology/Esthetics Program Coordinator for review.
Dual credit is concurrent enrollment in high school and Bluegrass Community and Technical College with credit awarded by both.  A high school student may earn both high school and college credit (dual credit) for the same course upon completion of course requirements. Additional information is available on the Dual Credit site or by contacting an Dual Credit advisor at (859) 246-6367. 
Students who have passed the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) Examination will be awarded 37-39 semester hours of credit after completing at least 15 credit hours of general education classes at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. The student must also provide proof of successful completion of the American Heart Association Basic Life Support course for Health Care Providers. A copy of the course completion and BCTC Student ID number should be submitted to a Respiratory Care advisor for review.
The portfolio is a collection of information gathered by the student and presented in an organized format to demonstrate practical learning that has occurred.  A portfolio can include documentation such as certificates of training, work samples, awards and honors, job descriptions, performance evaluations, samples of artwork, evidence of self-directed learning, and resumes.  The Portfolio Development Student Handbook (PDF, new window) provides the guidelines for compiling the portfolio.

These institutional exams are developed and administered by Bluegrass Community and Technical College to award credit toward specific program requirements. Students must be accepted for admission and enrolled in the college prior to applying for the exam(s) through the individual program areas where credit is  being sought. Additional information is available in the STEP Exam Rules outlined below.

KCTCS colleges offer students institutionally developed special examinations to demonstrate mastery of course content and receive credit toward program requirements. Special examinations are course specific and charges are separate from regular tuition charges. A $20 non-refundable per course charge is required for a written assessment exam and a $40 non-refundable per course charge for a practical assessment exam. Special exam charges are payable in full at the time the exam is scheduled.

Students who are enrolled in a course from which they elect to take a special examination in lieu of completing the course must officially withdraw from the course. The withdrawal date determines the status of the student's assessment, refund, and grade for the enrollment period. All special examination credit is awarded using the test credit process. In such instances, a grade will not be awarded on the current term grade report. Please contact the college's office of Student Records for application requirements. (KCTCS catalog)

Some examinations may require only a written assessment while others may require both the written assessment and a practical assessment. A minimum written score of 75% is required to receive credit for the course. On exams requiring the additional practical assessment component, students must receive the minimum score on the written assessment to continue on to the practical component. Practical scores must receive a minimum score of 75%. On examinations requiring both assessment components, the final score will be an average of both examinations.

To apply for a special examination, students must be accepted for admission (enrolled) in the college and apply for the exam through the Student Records Office. The student must pay in full in Student Billing for the examination and obtain required signatures when scheduling the exam at the college Assessment Center.

All special examinations are a one time attempt.

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Transparency of Credit Decisions

When a student has applied for credit for prior learning, the student is entitled to the following:

Portfolio Credit
The evaluator of the portfolio (faculty member or subject matter expert) must provide reasoning for the amount of credit hours awarded or a written explanation for the evaluation of the portfolio if credit is denied.

Non-Portfolio Credit
If credit is denied for a KCTCS-evaluated course equivalency, an explanation or justification must be made available to the student.

Note: Recommendations and scoring done by ACE, CLEP, AP, and other external bodies are under the auspices of the evaluating body and justifications or explanations of credit denial may not be available.

Appeals
If you feel that your prior learning credit was denied in error, you retain the right to appeal through the KCTCS appeals process, outlined in the KCTCS Student Code of Conduct (new window).

Students appealing a portfolio review may submit revised portfolios upon recommendation of the evaluator after receiving recommendations or reasons for credit denial.

Note: Recommendation by ACE, CLEP, AP, and other external bodies are under the auspices of the evaluating body and cannot be appealed through KCTCS.

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