Credit For Prior Learning

What Is Academic Credit for Prior Learning? 

You can earn Academic Credit for Prior Learning (ACPL) based on skills gained through work and life experience, military training and experience, formal and informal education, or training from in-state, out-of-state, or foreign schools. Academic credit for prior learning can make education more affordable and reduce the time it takes to finish a degree or certificate. 


Prior learning assessment is processed for students who are currently registered for classes at Shoreline Community College. As applicable, official transcript(s), test score(s), or other documentation must be on file in Enrollment Services. Fee(s), if applicable, are based on the type of prior learning assessment.

For more information, including restrictions on credit for prior learning, please see the Procedures for Policy 5164, review the ACPL Information Sheet, or contact advising.

Prior Learning Assessment Options

  • Knowledge and skills acquired through experience alone, evaluated subjectively by faculty via an evaluation of a compilation of work (i.e., portfolio).
  • May not be available for all courses. Student may need to show experiential learning for relevant prerequisite course outcomes as well as the petitioned course. If challenge exam exists for a course, credit by PEL will not be awarded and students should pursue the Course Challenge option below.
  • PEL credits awarded shall not exceed 25% of the credits required for the Shoreline program, degree, or certificate.


  • A student who has worked in a child care center for over 15 years provides a job description; summary of work responsibilities, skills, and knowledge; and has an interview with a faculty subject-matter expert. Based on the faculty member's assessment, the student receives credit for two courses in the Early Childhood Educator/Paraeducator AAAS.

Fee: $200 per course petitioned, whether awarded or not.

How to Apply: Complete the Petition for Credit by Prior Experiential Learning form

  • Knowledge and skills acquired outside the College and objectively verified through third-party certifications or industry-recognized testing/training. Shoreline has reviewed certain professional programs which are recognized regionally/nationally for certificates and training programs conducted within. Clear criteria have been established for assigning credits for these programs, therefore further review/assessment is unnecessary.

  • Certificates or professional training experiences for which clear criteria do not exist may be reviewed for credit through the PEL or Course Challenge.


  • A student worked for a distribution company and completed the certification for Certified Professional Contracts Manager by the National Contract Management Association. Student completes the EIL petition, provides copy of certificate and evidence certificate is current. Student receives credit for Business 203, Contract Management (4 credits).
  • A student successfully completed the Basic Law Enforcement Academy training in Burien, WA. Student completes EIL petition and provides copy of certificate from the issuing authority. Student is pursuing a transfer degree with an emphasis in Criminal Justice and receives credit for four required Criminal Justice courses (20 credits).

Fee: None, as assessment is based on crosswalks of approved training to Shoreline courses.

How to Apply: Complete the Petition for Credit by Extra-Institutional Learning form and submit training records and/or certification from business, industry, agencies, academies, or the military.

Programs with approved EIL include:

Approved credit from Joint Services Transcript

Training Name ACE ID Course Equivalent Credits Program
Military Police Basic MC-1728-0012 CJ 101 5 Criminal Justice AAAS
Law Enforcement NV-1728-0053 CJ 244 5 Criminal Justice AAAS
Unit Supply Specialist JST, AR-1405-0324 BUS 144 3 Purchasing and Supply Chain Management AAAS

Don't see your military transcript?

Please contact Rosemary Whiteside, Veterans & Military-Connected Students advisor at

  • A student who completes college-level work can receive appropriate credit or placement (or both) on the basis of performance in the following standardized tests: Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), and Cambridge International (CI).
  • A student will be awarded course credit based on Shoreline's course equivalencies, which adhere to the guidelines from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). 
  • For placement into an eligible advanced course, students present a copy of their test results to an academic advisor.

Advanced Placement (AP)

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • For IB, in most cases, five (5) credits (or more) are granted for Higher Level (HL) subjects in which a score of 5 or higher is earned. Students who earn an IB diploma can earn an additional 15 credits towards an Associate in Arts degree distributed equally among the three distribution areas: Humanities, Natural Science, and Social Sciences.
  • The International Baccalaureate® (IB) provides an official transcript of grades for the Diploma Programme (DP). Request IB transcripts be sent to Shoreline through the IB website.
  • Shoreline course equivalencies for IB scores

Cambridge International (CI)

  • In accordance with Washington state policy, Shoreline will grant limited elective credit for A-level Cambridge International Examinations with a passing grade.
  • Request official Cambridge International Examination results to be sent to Shoreline through the Cambridge International website
  • Shoreline course equivalencies are under development.


  • A student took AP Calculus course in high school and scored a "5" on Calculus AB exam. The student sends official test score to Enrollment Services and receives credit for Math& 151 and 152 (10 credits), and places into Math& 163.
  • A student took IB Biology and American History courses in high school. Student received a "4" score for American History and "6" for Biology. The student submits official test scores to Enrollment Services. Based on Equivalency chart (see link below), student does not receive credit for American History, but does receive credit for Biology& 211, which counts towards their Natural Science distribution area requirement.
  • A student took four years of Latin in high school and scored a "4" on Latin Literature and Culture AP exam. Student sends official test score to Enrollment Services and receives 5 credits of Humanities Distribution or Elective.

Fee: None, as assessment is based on course equivalencies charts.

How to Apply: Request test scores or transcripts as noted above.  

  • Course challenge examinations are sufficiently comprehensive to determine that students have the same knowledge and skills as those students who enroll in, and successfully complete, the course.
  • A student should have previous training, private study, work experience, or other bona fide qualifications indicating the student has knowledge or ability equivalent to the course completers.
  • Credit may be awarded only for courses for which Course Challenge examinations have been developed. Not all courses offer Course Challenge examinations.
  • Students may take a challenge exam for credit only once in the same course, and once a decision has been rendered and the grade issued, they will not be allowed to repeat the exam(s); however, they may choose to enroll in the course.
  • If evidence is found to validate that the student has violated the College’s policy on cheating and plagiarism, a 0.0 grade may be issued for the course challenged.
  • A student can appeal the Course Challenge decision by following the college’s Student Grievance Procedures - Academic Evaluation Policy 5035.


  • Student has taken Spanish I at a non accredited college. After consulting with an advisor, student completes Course Challenge Petition, pays fee and provides information to the Dean's office. The Dean works with faculty to schedule and assess student on faculty developed Course Challenge examination, which the student passes. Petition is updated and forwarded to Enrollment Services, which posts passing credit for SPAN& 121 and notifies student.

Fee: $200 per course petitioned, paid prior to taking the Challenge exam, and nonrefundable, whether credit is awarded or not.

How to Apply: Complete the Petition for Credit by Course Challenge form

Courses with an available Challenge exam include:

  • Business Technology:  Speed Keyboarding 1 (BUSTC 102)
  • Health Informatics & Information Management:  Medical Terminology (HIIM 134); Basic ICD-10 Coding (HIIM 171); CPT Coding (HIIM 172) 
  • Japanese:  Japanese I (JAPN& 121); Japanese II (JAPN& 122); Japanese III (JAPN& 123); Japanese IV (JAPN& 221); Japanese V (JAPN& 222); Japanese VI (JAPN& 223)
  • Spanish:  Spanish I (SPAN& 121);  Spanish II (SPAN& 122); Spanish III (SPAN& 123)

Have questions? Need assistance? Contact Us!

Advising Services

FOSS (5000) Building, Room 5229
(206) 546-4559
(206) 533-5101

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