All the hands-on experience you may have gained by working in the real world can save you time and money when you are pursuing a college degree. A work experience degree is gained by earning college credit through testing or through working directly with the college where you will earn your degree.

Some schools offer college credit for work experience to entering freshmen. Accredited life experience universities online can offer a degree quickly through online tests that the student pays for and takes instead of slogging through rudimentary college classes such as math and English.

Accredited Life Experience Universities

Many online universities offer life experience programs so students can get to the end of their schooling quickly. This saves time as well as money for tuition. Life experience degrees also place the student in the workforce at a much faster pace.

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Competency exams allow a student to bypass semesters of entry-level college courses. There are many online universities that offer life experience degrees. Make sure to use an accredited university that offers opportunities for college students to get ahead.

Universities that offer life experience degrees include:

  • Western Governors University
  • Capella University
  • Charter Oak State College
  • Walden College
  • Colorado State University’s Global Campus
  • Central Michigan University’s Global Campus
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • University of Memphis’s Global Campus
  • University of Phoenix

Accelerated College Programs

If you are planning on a career that needs extensive schooling, such as veterinary medicine or radiology, life experience credits can help you get through schooling faster. Prior learning and experience credit paired with competency exams can shave a year or more off of your extensive college career. This also allows you to focus on your area of interest rather than using your time to complete basic college courses.

Ways to Use Life Experience for Credit

If you have been working in your area of expertise for some time, a college-entrance exam can earn you credits. For instance, if you worked your way up through an accounting or office management department, you may be able to gather a majority of your college credits by proving that you know the subject well.

The College Level Exam Program, or CLEP, is accepted by nearly 3,000 accredited colleges. The undergraduate degree credit test has 33 single-subject exams and five general exams from which to choose. The single-subject exams cover material that would otherwise be learned in a single college course, such as algebra. The five general CLEP exams can offer a whopping 30 credits to an entering college student who passes each of them.

The CLEP general exams cover:

  • College mathematics
  • English composition
  • Humanities
  • Natural sciences
  • Social sciences

The DSST standardized subject tests have 38 subject-specific exams. It covers business, math, physical science, humanities and social science. Each exam costs $80. New York offers the Excelsior Life Experience Exam for adult students.

Write for Credits

If testing is a difficult endeavor for you either due to time, cost or nerves, a well-written essay can gain the attention of an admissions official who can grant college credits. A detailed portfolio of your past work experience and/or current position can sway a college acceptance team.

An entry essay, or comprehensive portfolio, should include:

  • Any accreditations you have received
  • Certificates of merit
  • Awards from your company
  • Letters from clients stating how your expertise assisted them in a particular situation
  • Business plans you have written
  • Artwork or visual projects
  • Other published work that shows your knowledge of subjects that can earn you college credit

Some colleges, such as Ohio University, offer programs that help students learn how to create an outstanding academic portfolio. Upon completion of the course and portfolio, the student has the opportunity to earn college credits.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.