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Get Credit for Your Experience

Knowledge isn’t just limited to what you can learn from a text book. Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is a practical and cost-effective way for adult learners to link their life experiences with academic learning and college credit at one of Massachusetts’ 15 Community Colleges. Balancing a busy schedule can be a major challenge—especially when trying to obtain a certificate or degree. With CPL, you can spend less time in the classroom and more time achieving your career goals.

How You Can Benefit from CPL

Save Time and Money

Adult learners pursuing a bachelor’s degree through CPL save an average of 2 - 10 months. That not only means fewer classes but also lower tuition costs and a better return on your investment. Although there are nominal fees associated with the CPL process, the cost is still considerably less than a traditional college course.

Accelerate Your Academic Progress

CPL is designed to measure what you’ve already learned outside of a college classroom through formal and non-formal experiences including workplace training, military service, and volunteering. When you earn credits through Massachusetts Community College system’s CPL program, our advisors will help you equate this knowledge with college-level classes — so you can skip ahead to higher level studies.

Validate Your Experience

Haven’t been to college before? Been years since you’ve even been in a classroom? You’re not alone. The CPL program is a way to validate your hard work and the contributions you’ve made in the real world. We’ll help you translate the many different ways you gained experience in your lifetime, and how you can apply that learning to a college degree or certificate.

Expand Your Career Options

Build upon your existing skills and knowledge and propel your career forward by demonstrating to employers how your prior learning and life experience can add real value to their organization.


Will I have to take a test?

Validating personal and unique life experiences can be difficult to uncover with just an exam. That’s why your profile and background information will be carefully reviewed by a qualified assessor at the college of your choosing. In certain situations, your advisor may also suggest an appropriate Institutional Challenge Exam or College Level Examination Program (CLEP).

Does a CPL Assessment guarantee college credit?

A CPL Assessment does not guarantee college credit. The program is designed to validate what you’ve learned through formal and informal training and experience and equate that knowledge to college-level coursework. Because everyone brings a different background and skill set to the table, results can vary.

How do I get started with a CPL evaluation?

Walking through our online CPL Wizard is the first step in the process. Once you submit your information, you will be contacted by a CPL specialist who will help guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

Is there a fee for CPL?

There is no cost to connect with a CPL advisor and explore your options. Depending on your college of choice and the CPL for which you are eligible, there may be a fee. This WILL still represent significant time and money savings when compared to enrolling in a traditional college-level course — and a great long-term value.

What are the potential tuition savings for CPL students?

For many adults, the thought of going back to college to finish a degree or complete a certificate can sound very appealing. But they’re often faced with concerns over whether they can afford tuition. Although cost is a major factor to consider, resources such as Credit for Prior Learning can help you save a significant amount of money while also achieving your career and educational goals. Adult students who receive prior learning credit typically earn an associate degree approximately 4.5 months quicker than their non-CPL peers, saving an average of $7,200 in college tuition.