Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)


Departmental Credit By Evaluation is administered in accordance with AR 2.2.4. The Maricopa Community Colleges are committed to the idea that people deserve credit for verifiable college-level learning, no matter how it was acquired. Many people have developed learning outside of the traditional classroom. This evaluation of credit is referred to as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). Prior learning can be identified and assessed in a variety of ways to determine if college credit should be awarded. Credit is awarded only to certificate or degree-seeking students who:

  1. plan to enroll, and
  2. are admitted and matriculated within the college awarding the credit.

PLA credit may be applied toward a degree program, certificate, general education requirements, concentration, and general electives that count toward the student’s elected pathway. Some restrictions may apply depending on the specific program of study. PLA credit may satisfy prerequisite requirements using the same policy that applies to other course equivalencies.

Associate degree-seeking students may be awarded no more than 45 credit hours through prior learning assessment, unless required by a specific program of study within the Maricopa Community Colleges. Up to 60 credits earned through PLA can be applied to a Bachelor’s degree.

Evaluated credit from post-secondary institutions and military credit as indicated on Joint Service transcripts, Community College of the Air Force, and Air University are not included in this credit limitation. Evaluated credit and credit awarded for prior learning do not count as hours in residence for graduation requirements. Please refer to 2.3.9 General Graduation Requirements. Exceptions to this institutional policy must have prior written approval of the program director, department/division chair, or designee and documentation of rationale and approval included as part of the admission process and/or application to graduate.

No more than 20 credit hours may be applied to the Arizona General Education Curriculum (AGEC). Please direct questions about Prior Learning Assessment at the Maricopa Community Colleges to the Admissions and Records/Enrollment Services Office.

No Fees Assessed

No feeds are assessed for transfer credit from nationally recognized institutions, international coursework that has been officially evaluated by a foreign evaluator service (such as Educational Credential Evaluators), standardized college-level exams (such as CLEP, AP, IB, DSST, CIE), GED exams, Military Transcripts, ACE (American Council On Education) transcripts, credit received through organizations and companies that offer nationally recognized credit evaluated by ACE, NCCRS, Straighterline, NOCTI, Study.Com, etc., industry-recognized credentials, industry/corporate training, Skill Center and clock hour transcripts.

Credit for Industry Credentials

For several of our programs, Mesa Community College offers Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) for students with existing industry certifications, licenses, and approved corporate training. With approved PLA, students can receive credits at no cost for industry-recognized credentials. Explore the available programs here.