Nashua Community College awards credit for students who may have acquired learning outside of the traditional academic learning environment.

This learning may have been obtained though industry certifications, work experience, employer training programs, independent study, non-credit courses, volunteer or community service, or non-college courses or seminars.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Is the term used to describe the process by which a student’s experiential learning is evaluated to grant college credit toward continuing education or training. There are four broadly applied approaches to PLA to ensure academic rigor and quality:

(1) National Standardized exams in specific disciplines, e.g. Advanced Placement Exams (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests;
(2) credit by exam (CBE);
(3) individualized assessments, particularly portfolio-based assessments;
(4) evaluated non-college programs, e.g., American Council on Education’s ACE credit service and evaluations of corporate and military training; industry recognized credentials. Adapted from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) definition of Prior Learning Assessment (

College Board Advanced Placement Tests

The College recognizes the College Board Advanced Placement Examination Program as a means of evaluating student eligibility for advanced placement. Matriculated students who have participated in the AP Program and who have been admitted to the College should have official AP grade reports forwarded directly to the College Admissions Office. These grade reports should come from the College Board, Advanced Placement Examinations, CN 6671, Princeton, NJ 08541-6671; telephone 609.771.7300. Upon receipt of students’ AP reports, the advising center will access the grade and evaluate for transfer credit. The minimum score to receive credit varies from 3 to 5. No credit is awarded on any AP exam score of less than 3.

CLEPStudents may choose to earn credits by taking a nationally standardized exam known as CLEP (College Level Examination Program). Nashua Community College is an approved testing site for CLEP. The college awards credits for courses in the areas of Business, Composition and Literature, Foreign Languages, Social Sciences, Science and Mathematics. A complete list of the CLEP exams accepted for credit by NCC is available on our website (, as well as in the Academic Advising Center. The cost of each exam is published on the College Board website

For further information and to schedule an appointment, contact Career & Technical Education Pathways Director, Kim Eckenrode at (603) 578-8979 or by email: [email protected]

Passing scores for CLEP are 50 and above unless specified otherwise. Successful completion of a CLEP exam is treated as a transfer credit. Matriculated students will need to request that a copy of their scores be sent to NCC for review. This request is made to the College Board and can be done during or after the exam.

Credit by Examination (CBE) may be earned by matriculated students who, by study, training, or experience outside the College, have acquired skill or knowledge equivalent to that acquired by students enrolled in a course at the College. Such skill, knowledge, or experience shall be in the area of the course concerned and determined to be relevant by the Vice President of Academic Affairs or other authorized personnel.

Students may challenge a course by requesting and completing an examination or evaluation that covers the instructional material of the course. If successful, the appropriate credits earned are applied to the students’ programs but may not be transferrable to another college. Since a traditional grade (A-F) is not entered, the Credit by Exam is not calculated into the student’s GPA.

For further clarification, check with the college you are planning to transfer to. Students requesting a CBE shall pay a fee of $25 per credit. This fee is non-refundable. Credit will not be given for grades below C. If a student fails to pass the exam, no entry is made on the academic transcript but a record of the unsuccessful completion will be maintained in the student’s file. Students receiving a grade below C are ineligible for another CBE in that course. Students may not CBE a course in which they are enrolled if they have earned a grade within the CCSNH, or if they have been administratively withdrawn, or if they dropped the course after the two-week drop/add period.

Please note that not all programs provide the CBE option. Candidates wishing to review the material for which they shall be held responsible in a CBE may apply to the chairperson of the department concerned for a list of areas of the subject matter covered upon which the exam will be based. The CBE will cover the content of the course being challenged. Students must apply for and take the CBE by the end of the Add/Drop period.

Credit for prior learning offers students the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge they have gained through life experiences and apply this knowledge toward credit in some degree/certificate programs. To prepare for this option, students will develop a portfolio to be assessed by appropriate college personnel. A student must be matriculated at NCC to be eligible to apply for experiential learning assessment credit.

Not all programs provide this option; students should consult with their respective college advisor and/or program coordinator for more information and the process used for application. Students may be awarded a maximum of 24 credits for experiential learning. Students will be assessed a fee based on 50% of the current tuition rate on the total credits awarded (e.g. for 12 credits awarded: 0.50 x current tuition rate x 12 credits)

Credit will be granted to students with military training, experience, or coursework that is recognized by the American Council on Education (ACE) based on the program the student is entering.

Students with any questions about ACE should contact the advising center at 603.578.6817. Students seeking credit for their military experience will also need to submit a military transcript to the Advising Office for the review/evaluation process.

Industry Recognized Credential is an umbrella term used to describe apprenticeships, badges, micro-credentials, certificates, certifications, degrees, diplomas and licenses. For example, but not limited to CISCO, CompTia and Microsoft. Adapted from the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) definition of Credential (

Please note that not all programs accept Industry Recognized Credentials for credit. Please consult with your program coordinator for further clarification.

Students may be admitted to programs with advanced standing if they have taken appropriate college courses at another accredited institution or System College and earned a “C” or higher. Courses successfully completed pBalance Transferrior to admission will be considered for transfer. It is the student’s responsibility to furnish the following:

  • transfer request form
  • official transcript
  • copy of the course description

The Vice President of Academic Affairs (VPAA), Department Chair, Program Coordinator or designee will evaluate each course and grade and determine if the credits should transfer. The student will receive a list of courses accepted for transfer.

Any current students seeking to take a course at another college and wishing to apply that course to their degree must submit a transfer credit authorization form to the VPAA for approval. Without this written approval prior to enrollment in the course, the College does not guarantee acceptance of this course as transfer credit.

Grades of courses transferred are not included in the GPA or CGPA. Approved Credits earned at another institution will be added to the total credits accumulated for graduation.

How to Turn Your Prior Learning
Into College Credit

Nashua Community College offers a variety of methods to earn credit for prior learning. Use the Credit Predictor Tool to determine what types of credit you may be eligible to earn at NCC!