Work Experience, Life Experience, and Community College Can Fast Track a Degree at University of Phoenix

As an innovator in higher education, the University of Phoenix has developed numerous ways that adult working students can benefit from their prior knowledge and work experience and that they can fast track the completion of their undergraduate or graduate degrees, saving time and money. Among these are Prior Learning Assessments (PLAs), a means for students, if eligible, to turn their existing business skills, technical certification, military experience and even parenting experience (must complete an essay) into college credits.

Each PLA is generally equivalent to three credits, measured based on an evaluation and aligned with one of seven different educational categories: communication arts, humanities, physical/biological science, physical education, science/technology, social science and an interdisciplinary category. And for every three credits earned, students graduate five weeks faster and save approximately $1,200 in tuition costs. Possible work experiences that are eligible include police academy training, real estate license, IT certifications s, nursing and more. The full list is extensive and covers training and experiences across numerous industries. Whether students have trained as yoga instructors, studied to become paramedics or hold a radiotelegraph operator’s certificate, University of Phoenix provides a means, via an evaluation for eligibility, to turn that training into credits that can accelerate a degree. The University also categorizes on-the-job training by employer so current and prospective students can quickly see if they have training that qualifies. 

Experience journals provide yet another route for University of Phoenix students to turn valuable life experience into college credits. To qualify, students submit a first-person, journal-style essay on what they have learned about hundreds of approved topics ranging from leadership, to office administration, to parenting and nutrition. On average, 65 percent of undergraduate students at University of Phoenix were eligible to receive PLA credits.

Exams Provide Another Pathway to College Credit

In addition to PLAs, students looking to demonstrate their mastery of specific subjects and earn credits that can help reduce the time and cost of a degree program can choose to undertake a College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). There are more than 30 subjects available through CLEP including psychology, spanish, literary analysis and chemistry. There are also a number of other proficiency exams that can be taken to save on tuition and time at University of Phoenix, such as DSST Credit by Exam Program which covers 38 subject areas and Excelsior College Exams which allow students to test out of courses in nursing, business, education and arts and sciences. Additional options include Advanced Placement Exams, taken by high school seniors to earn credit, Berlitz Language Evaluations which evaluates language proficiency in speaking, listening, reading and writing and Defense Language Proficiency Tests taken by active duty military personnel.

Transferring Made Easy at University of Phoenix

Those who start their higher education journeys at community colleges can transition easily into undergraduate degree programs at University of Phoenix. University of Phoenix makes the process of transferring between institutions easier with dedicated staff who provide academic advising and request transcripts on behalf of students from prior institutions. Trained evaluators at the University also review prior credits, ensuring that students are able to maximize credit transfers.

The University’s credit transfer options allow students to cover up to 75 percent of the credits needed to complete their bachelor’s degree. Through the University’s 3+1 Transfer Pathway Program, students with an associate degree from one of numerous participating community colleges can transfer up to 87 credits toward a bachelor’s degree at University of Phoenix in high-growth industries like health management, information technology and nursing. New students with at least 13-60 combined transfer credits who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree at University of Phoenix are eligible to apply for a $3,000 Transfer Student Scholarship provided they are continuously enrolled and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

“University of Phoenix believes strongly that transfer is a valuable path to degree completion,” said University of Phoenix Provost John Woods, Ph.D. “We have a continued focus on helping students to get the most out of their transfer credits, to help them save as much time and money as possible and to quickly leverage their degrees and enhance their career path.”

About University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix is committed to advancing the educational goals of adult and nontraditional learners and providing maximum support for transfer students to reach their goals affordably. The University offers numerous associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs that prepare students for in-demand careers in fields including criminal justice, business, healthcare, education, information technology, and cybersecurity. Flexible schedules with multiple start dates give working adults the opportunity to complete their degrees without putting their lives on hold. The University of Phoenix offers numerous scholarship opportunities, online learning, career-guided degree programs, and a Career Services for Life® commitment to active students and graduates to help them more effectively pursue career aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit

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