Credit for Prior Learning

Both prior learning credit and certification to credit offer opportunities to accelerate your degree, reduce redundancy in learning and save on tuition costs.

At a glance:
  • Prior Learning Credit: the opportunity to earn academic credit for relevant experiences, such as work, training or military service.
  • Certification to Credit: a specific program allowing you to use a professional certification to earn credits towards your degree.

Prior learning credit

Prior learning credits recognize your knowledge and skills gained outside the traditional classroom setting. This includes work, training and military service.

Please be aware that earning prior learning credits is not guaranteed. The process is thorough and may require a substantial effort on your part. We are here to support you throughout this journey.

How to earn prior learning credit

  1. Consult with your advisor: Determine if your program accepts prior learning credit and what credits can be transferred based on your prior learning experience. Eligible graduate programs may accept up to 12 credits.
  2. Résumé and initial review: Submit your résumé for our team to determine eligibility for prior learning credit. CMU offers an easy-reference credit guide for determining the number of potential credits that you may be eligible for.
  3. Submit your portfolio: Build your prior learning credit portfolio showcasing your experience. Once your portfolio is complete, you will submit it for evaluation, and the $125 one-time evaluation fee will be charged to your student account.
  4. Portfolio review: Graduate faculty members of the prior learning assessment team will then evaluate your portfolio to determine if your written assessment of your experience qualifies for credits.
  5. Awarded credits: Once credits are awarded, your advisor will accept them and the $125 per credit hour fee will be charged to your student account.

Creating a graduate prior learning credit portfolio

These are documents that make up a graduate portfolio. Some documents are fillable forms. The order of the documents listed here is the order of items that need to be in a submitted portfolio. The documents listed that are not fillable forms are documents that you will also need to include in your portfolio.

  • Cover letter - Your cover letter is an optional section that can be used for specific information regarding your portfolio that you want to point out.
  • Personal and educational information - For sections one and two you will outline your personal and educational information with the provided form.
  • Academic history - Include your academic history which is available in your student account portal.
  • Table of contents - There are separate forms for work, training and life experience which all make up the table of contents.
  • Work experience - The work experience section consists of four parts (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) and you will complete all four parts for each job or position. 
  • Training experience - The training experience section consists of four parts and you will complete all four parts for each course or training experience.
  • Life experiences - The life experience section is an opportunity to highlight your volunteer experiences.
  • Signature - Sign the signature block.
  • Portfolio Checklist - Use the portfolio checklist provided to help organize and ensure that you have completed each section before you submit your prior learning credit portfolio to

Military prior learning credits

If you’re serving in the military, find out how your experience can boost your academic journey with credits for prior learning. CMU offers prior learning credit for active-duty military students.

Certification to credit

Leverage your hard-earned certifications for college credit. Through certification to credit, pre-assessed industry certifications allow you to use them as credits towards your degree.

At CMU, the following programs have specific pathways for converting certifications into credits:

    Put your professional certifications to work for you in Central Michigan University’s Master of Science in Administration program (MSA). Certification to credit for your MSA allows you the opportunity to save on tuition costs, accelerate your degree completion and avoid redundant learning through this specialized program.

    See MSA Certification to Credit

    Designed to empower educators with cutting-edge strategies and insights, the Master of Arts in Education offers a comprehensive curriculum tailored to meet the demands of modern classrooms. Elevate your teaching practice and deepen your impact on student learning. Click below to learn more about this dynamic program.

    See MAED Certification to Credit

    The Master of Arts in Learning, Design and Technology comes with two options of earning credits towards your degree:

    • MA in Learning, Design and Technology Certification to Credit
    • MA in Learning, Design and Technology Certification to Examination

    See MA LTD Certification to Credit

    Put your public sector background to good use with Central Michigan University’s Master of Public Administration program (MPA). Tailored for professionals like you, the MPA program allows you to substitute academic credits with your prior learning experience. Whether you’re aiming for career advancement or seeking specialized knowledge, our MPA program is designed to accommodate your expertise.

    See MPA Certification to Credit

    You can also connect with CMU Innovation and Online to explore additional opportunities for flexible learning and credit options. CMU’s online programs offer a convenient and flexible way to achieve your goals.