Current Students

Future Students

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Credit For Prior Experiential Learning

Bellingham Technical College is committed to fostering an educated and skilled workforce, which is essential for economic prosperity and meaningful work for its citizens. Prior Learning Assessment, or PLA, can help more students complete their training and degree programs sooner by evaluating an individual’s existing knowledge and competencies for college credit, including knowledge that may have been acquired through documented military training.

There are several ways for students to apply credit to their degree or certificate program in addition to completing a course(s) at Bellingham Technical College (BTC) or transferring credit from another college, university or other institution. Methods for awarding credit by prior learning assessment include:

  1. Credit by standardized testing or evaluation
  2. Course challenges
  3. Assessment of prior experiential learning (portfolios)
  4. Extra-institutional learning (crosswalks), including military training

PLA credits have the following limitations:

  • Prior experiential learning (Portfolio) credits can comprise no more than 25% of the credits used to complete a degree or certificate
  • PLA credits are not eligible for Financial Aid and do not count towards full or part time enrollment
  • PLA credits are not eligible for payment through Running Start
  • PLA credits do not count toward residence requirements
  • Only students who have completed the BTC admission process will be eligible to earn PLA credits

For more information contact Walter Hudsick, Dean for Professional technical Education at