Is it possible to get a college degree based on work experience?

Receiving a college degree based on work experience is not typical. However, most colleges offer “life experience” credits to non-traditional students based on their resumes and work experience. 

Let’s take a closer look at how you can receive live experience credit towards your degree.

Life Experience Credits

Accredited online universities developed the life experience credit to help non-traditional adult students gain their degree faster and with less money lost. 

To get life experience credit, you need to speak with your college counselor and start a college credit assessment. The assessment uses several factors to determine if your life experience translates to credited courses. For most assessments, you’ll see one or more of the following reviews:

  • Competency exams
  • Work portfolio reviews
  • Professional credentials and licenses 
  • Military training
  • Corporate training
  • Competency Education

Life Experience Credit Limits

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Every school has a different maximum for life experience credits. Some are as low as 12 credits, while others will allow you to spread them out via various courses. However, it’s important to remember that it’s very rare a degree will be awarded to you based solely on life experience credits. 

Rare circumstances

If you’ve had many years of specialized training, such as working for the government, military, or other unique corporate opportunities, you may be eligible for a life experience degree. As of right now, these degrees are only offered by two accredited universities, Thomas Edison State College and Excelsior College

These colleges were specifically opened to help adult students with work experience access degrees without overloading themselves with classes. However, most students at both universities still need to take some courses towards their degree, and a full degree is rarely awarded based on life experience. 

If you’re hoping to use life experience credit to save on college, talk to your college counselor and start planning for your assessment. Otherwise, reach out to one of the colleges below to understand your workload based on your life experience.

Remember, online colleges prey on individuals hoping to get a degree the easy way. If a college offers you a degree in exchange for money — be wary of attending or giving them your money without doing some research first.