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Future Students

Academic Credit for Prior Learning (ACPL)

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:

 

Credit by Standardized Testing or Evaluation link image

Credit by Standardized Testing or Evaluation

BTC awards college credit for completion of certain standardized examinations.

Credit by Examination link image

Credit by Examination

The course challenge is a process permitting students to receive credit in courses in which the student demonstrates the knowledge and expertise of that course.

Portfolio link image

Portfolio

Credit for prior experiential learning is a process permitting students to receive credit for particular program course requirements for which the student demonstrates they have knowledge and expertise.

Extra Institutional Learning link image

Extra Institutional Learning

BTC accepts certain credentials from institutions other than regionally accredited colleges for credit.

For more information contact Heidi Ypma, Dean for General Education and Instructional Support at hypma@btc.edu

Credit by Standardized Testing or Evaluation

BTC awards college credit for completion of certain standardized examinations, listed below. Provide documentation of these exams, through a high school transcript or other means, and submit an Evaluation Request form to the Admissions Office, and the appropriate credit will be recorded on your BTC transcript.

If you have taken a similar standardized examination not listed below, please contact the ACPL Primary Point of Contact.

Advanced Placement (AP)


Students who have completed college-level (Advanced Placement) courses in high school and have taken the Advanced Placement (AP) exams administered by the College Board may receive college credit in selected courses at BTC. Credit awarded will be indicated in the student database and will appear on the graduate’s record of cumulative waiver/transfer earned upon program completion. AP scores may also be used to waive portions of the Accuplacer Admissions exam.

To request credit based on AP scores, students must submit either official AP test scores from the College Board or official high school transcripts containing AP scores along with an Evaluation Request form to the Admissions Office. Credit will be awarded according to the Advanced Placement Credit Chart below which outlines the minimum required scores and corresponding courses.

Advanced Placement Credit Chart

AP Exam Name Min Score BTC Course - Credits

Biology 3 BIOL& 160 – 5 credits
Calculus AB 3 MATH& 141& MATH& 142 – 10 credits or MATH& 151 – 5 credits
Calculus AB 4 MATH& 151 and MATH& 152 – 10 credits
Calculus BC 3 MATH& 151 – 5 credits
Calculus BC 4 MATH& 151 and MATH& 152 – 10 credits
Statistics 3 MATH& 146 – 5 credits
Chemistry 3 CHEM& 121 – 5 credits or CHEM& 161 and CHEM& 162 – 10 credits
Economics (Microeconomics) 3 ECON& 201 – 5 credits
Economics (Macroeconomics) 3 ECON& 202 – 5 credits
English Language & Composition 3 ENGL& 101 – 5 credits
English Language & Literature 3 ENGL& 101 – 5 credits
History (US History) 3 HIST& 146 – 5 credits
Physics C 3 PHYS& 221 – 5 credits
Psychology 3 PSYC& 100 – 5 credits
Spanish Language 3 SPAN& 121 – 5 credits
Spanish Language 4 SPAN& 121 and SPAN& 122 – 10 credits
Spanish Literature 3 SPAN& 121 – 5 credits
Spanish Literature 4 SPAN& 121 and SPAN& 122 – 10 credits

International Baccalaureate (IB)


Students who have completed International Baccalaureate courses in high school may receive college credit for selected courses at BTC. Credit awarded will be indicated in the student database and will appear on the graduate’s record of cumulative waiver/transfer earned upon program completion. IB may also be used to waive portions of the Accuplacer Admissions exam.

To request credit based on IB scores, students must submit official scores from the International Baccalaureate and a completed Evaluation Request form to the Admissions Office.

Exam Min Score BTC COURSE Notes

Soc/Cult Anthro 5 ANTH 900 Social Science Elective ANTH& 206
Environmental Sci 5 BIOL 900 Natural Science Elective
Biology 5 BIOL& 160 General Biology with Lab
Bus & Management 5 BUS 900 Business Elective
Chemistry 5 CHEM& 121 or CHEM& 161 or 162 Introduction to Chemistry
Economics 5 ECON 201 Social Science Elective
English A 4 ENGL& 101 English Composition I No credit for English B
Geography 5 GEOG 900 Social Science Elective GEOG& 100
any History 5 HIST& 146 Social Science Elective
Mathematics 5 MATH& 141 Precalculus I Both MATH& 141/142
Mathematics 5 MATH& 142 Precalculus II Both MATH& 141/142
Music 5 MUSC 900 Humanities Elective MUSC& 105
Philosophy 5 PHIL 900 Humanities Elective
Physics 5 PHYS& 221 Natural Science Elective
Psychology 4 PSYC& 100 General Psychology

CLEP Testing


Students who have taken College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams may receive credit. By obtaining a particular score, recommended by the American Council of Education, students can obtain college credit. Students must submit official CLEP scores and a completed Evaluation Request form to the Admissions Office. Credit awarded will be indicated in the student database and will appear on the graduate’s record of cumulative waiver/transfer earned upon program completion.

See the following list for policies on granting placement of credit for CLEP exams. Credit will not be granted for scores below the ACE recommended score.

EXAM Min Score BTC Course

Financial Accounting 50 ACCT 141 Financial Accounting I
Biology 50 BIOL& 160 General Biology with Lab
Introductory Business Law 50 BUS 900 Business Elective
Principles of Management 50 BUS 900 Business Elective
Chemistry 50 CHEM& 121
or CHEM& 161
or 162
Introduction to Chemistry
or General Chemistry I w/ Lab
Princ. of Macro/Micro Econ 50 Econ& 201 Social Science Elective
Intro to Ed Psych 50 EDUC 900 PTE Elective
English Composition 50 ENGL& 101 English Composition I
English Composition 50 ENGL& 102 English Composition II
College Mathematics 50 MATH& 107 Math in Society
College Algebra 50 MATH& 141 Precalculus I
Precalculus or 50 MATH& 142 Precalculus II
Calculus 50 MATH& 151 Calculus I
Introductory Psychology 50 PSYC& 100 General Psychology
Human Growth & Development 50 PSYC& 200 Lifespan Psychology
Introductory Sociology 50 SOC& 101 Introduction to Sociology
History of the United States I: Early Colonization to 1877 50 HIST& 147 United States History
History of the United States II: 1865 to the Present 50 HIST 900 Social Science Elective
Social Sciences and History 50 HIST 900 Social Science Elective
Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648 50 HIST 900 Social Science Elective
Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present 50 HIST 900 Social Science Elective
Analyzing and Interpreting Literature 50 ENGL 900 Humanities Elective
English Literature 50 ENGL 900 Humanities Elective
Humanities 50 HUM 900 Humanities Elective
Natural Sciences 50 BIOL 900 Natural Science Elective

Cambridge International (CI)


Washington community and technical colleges will grant a minimum elective credit for each Cambridge International Examination for A-level exam with a passing grade or above for approved examinations. Credit will be awarded on the basis of official Cambridge International Examination results, not transcript notation. Duplicate credit for the same subject taken on different exams will not be granted. No grades are posted for A-level exams.

DSST (formerly DANTES)


The nationally recognized Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST; formerly DANTES) provides college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom through a suite of 38 exams in college subject areas such as Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences and Humanities. The American Council on Education’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for all 38 DSST exams.

To request credit based on DSST scores, students must submit official scores and a completed Evaluation Request form to the Admissions Office. Credit awarded will be indicated in the student database and will appear on the graduate’s record of cumulative waiver/transfer earned upon program completion.

Exam Min Score BTC Course

Principles of Financial Accounting 47 ACCT 141 Financial Accounting I
General Anthropology 48/400* ANTH 900 Social Science Elective
Business Mathematics 48/400* BUS 150 Mathematics for Business
Business Law II 44 BUS 900 Business Elective
Human Resource Management 46 BUS 900 Business Elective
Foundations of Education 46 EDUC 900 PTE Elective
Human/Cultural Geography 48 GEOG 900 Social Science Elective
Physical Geology 46 GEOL 900 Natural Science Elective
Fundamentals of College Algebra 400 MATH& 141 Precalculus I
Principles of Statistics 48/400* MATH& 146 Introduction to Statistics
Business Ethics and Society 400 MGMT 900 Business Elective
Ethics in America 46/400 PHIL 900 Humanities Elective
Principles of Physical Science I 47 PHYS 900 Natural Science Elective
Astronomy 48  ASTR 900 Natural Science Elective
Lifespan Development Psychology 46 PSYC& 200 Lifespan Psychology

*In 2008, ACE revised 14 exams and changed to a score range of 200-500 for these exams, with 400 being the cut score for passing. Thus, in the chart you will see scores for both unrevised and revised exams. For example, “48/400” indicates scores before and after 2008.

Credit by Examination

Course Challenges:

The course challenge is a process permitting students to receive credit in courses in which the student demonstrates the knowledge and expertise of that course. To challenge a course, the student takes an examination or completes a demonstration of competency created by faculty who teaches that particular course and administered by the Instructor or the BTC Assessment Center. The course will be graded by the Instructor.

  • The course must be offered in the current College Catalog
  • A challenge procedure must be developed by appropriate faculty and approved by the appropriate Dean
  • Permission by the course instructor must be granted to the student to take the challenge. The instructor will first assess whether or not the student has a reasonable chance of successfully passing the exam. Credit for course a challenge cannot duplicate credit granted by transfer or previously graded course work
  • The student must complete and submit a Credit by Examination/Evaluation form to the Instructor and if approved pay the fee per credit earned/attempted at the Cashier prior to examination
  • A separate section of the course will be created to record the grade and credits awarded for the Credit by Examination
  • The student must earn the equivalent of a minimum score equivalent to a “C” grade or above on the challenge examination and is awarded a CR grade on their transcript after the Instructor has submitted the graded Credit by Examination/Evaluation form to Registration for entry
  • Students cannot repeat a course challenge

Process:

  1. Meet with the ACPL Primary Point of Contact to learn about policies and procedures required for Credit by Exam. You will learn if you are eligible to challenge a specific course
  2. If eligible, the PLA Coordinator and/or an appropriate Instructor will sign and complete the Credit by Exam form indicating approved course(s) and credits
  3. A special course section(s) will be created, and you will be notified when it is available
  4. Take the signed form to Registration and register for the special course(s)
  5. Submit the signed form and pay the Cashier the $70.00/credit fee. Keep your receipt
  6. Contact the Instructor and complete the assessment
  7. If successful, your Instructor will grade the course with a CR grade at the end of the quarter
  8. Forms submitted after the eighth week of the quarter will result in grades being posted the following quarter

Assessment of Prior Experiential Learning (Portfolio):

Credit for prior experiential learning is a process permitting students to receive credit for particular program course requirements for which the student demonstrates they have knowledge and expertise. Credit for prior experiences can be shown through various means of assessment; however, these experiences must be equivalent to learning gained through formal collegiate instruction. This experience may include industry certifications, work experiences, and similar out-of-classroom learning.

Prior learning credit is only available for some degree or certificate programs. Credit for prior experiential learning cannot duplicate credit granted by transfer or previously graded course work.

  • For a program to be eligible to award credit for prior experiential learning requires that a Prior Learning procedure for the specific program has been developed by the Instructor and approved by the appropriate dean
  • The student submits a Credit by Examination/Evaluation form to the Instructor to determine and indicate which program courses and how many credits will be approved for credit for experiential learning, and what sort of demonstration of competency must be provided by the student
  • After receiving a signed approval, the student takes their copy of the form and pays the Cashier the published fee per credit amount
  • Upon successful completion of the assessment, which should include theory and practicum (if applicable), Instructors will submit their graded copy of the Credit by Examination/Evaluation form to Registration to post a CR grade directly onto a student’s transcript for each course. Assessment of prior experiential learning is only conducted by appropriate program faculty
  • Note: It is most common for the student to develop a portfolio that demonstrates and documents the knowledge and skills the student has acquired through non-traditional means. Students choosing this option must be able to organize and synthesize outside learning, be able to identify significant experiences to demonstrate this learning, and compose self-reflective narratives documenting learning, knowledge and skills. The college may recommend online instruction in portfolio development if appropriate

Process:

  1. Meet with the ACPL Primary Point of Contact and appropriate faculty to learn about policies and procedures required for portfolio credit. You will learn if you are eligible to attempt demonstration for credits
  2. If eligible, your instructor will sign and complete this form indicating the course(s) and credits sought. You will receive course information which may include course syllabus, access to text and discussion course content
  3. Take the signed form to the Cashier and pay the $70.00/credit fee amount approved. Keep your receipt
  4. Complete the portfolio by the agreed-upon deadline and submit. After review, the instructor will complete the award of credits section
  5. Registration will post the CR grade for the awarded courses and credits to your transcript

Extra Institutional Learning

BTC accepts certain credentials from institutions other than regionally accredited colleges for credit. Students should provide documentation and submit an Extra-Institutional Learning Evaluation Request to the BTC Credentials Evaluator for credentials as listed below.

Program faculty and ACPL Primary Point of Contact may approve credit awards for additional credentials as appropriate.

Military Credits - American Council on Education (ACE)


Credit for military training will be awarded from a student’s official Joint Services Transcript (JST), or from a transcript from the Community College of the Air Force or any other college/university attended, based on recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE) guide for prior military training that is applicable to a student’s certificate or degree requirements

ACE's Military Guide presents credit recommendations for formal courses and occupations offered by all branches of the military. All recommendations are based on ACE reviews conducted by college and university faculty members who are actively teaching in the areas they review. ACE has reviewed and provided academic credit recommendations for more than 35,000 courses, examinations, and certifications offered by employers, federal agencies, professional associations, apprenticeship programs, online education providers, and other organizations.

  • Bellingham Technical College enrolled students who are veterans of any branch of the United States armed services must request transfer credit for military training by submitting an Evaluation Request form to the BTC Transcript Evaluator. The student must provide an official Joint Services Transcript (JST), from the Community College of the Air Force transcript or any other college/university attended
  • Upon receipt of the official transcript the Credit Evaluator will evaluate the transcript for reading, English and mathematics placement and any academic (general education) credits. Credits will be posted to the student record as applicable
  • If technical courses need to be evaluated, the transcript will be forwarded to appropriate program faculty to evaluate in 3 weeks, along with the course description and the accompanying American Council on Education (ACE) course recommendation. The American Council on Education (ACE) standards are used as a guide. ACE translates military courses and occupations into academic credit recommendation, and provides guidelines to interpret and recommend credit for college courses

Exception: Military transfer credit for some programs must meet outside agency criteria prior to BTC acceptance (exp: programs with external accreditation)

  • Any military training or experience that is substantially equivalent to any course or program offered will be accepted as applicable toward the veteran’ program of study
  • ACE military course recommendations are accepted for both the amount of credit suggested, and the level of credit recommended (upper or lower division credit) under the following circumstances:
    • Per the Veteran’s Administration, all veteran student transfer credit must be evaluated within two quarters of program start. After the third quarter, if the student does not submit all transcripts, he/she must be decertified for the use of VA education benefits
    • Veteran students using education benefits are not permitted to opt out of prior credit evaluation

A list of military courses that match the common BTC courses can be viewed below:

Military JST Transcript BTCCourses BTC Course Title

Introduction to Communication CMST& 210 Interpersonal Communication
College Composition Modular ENGL& 101 English Composition I
Computer Applications CAP 101 Introduction to Computers
Computer Software Applications CAP 101 Introduction to Computers
Records Management BUS 123 Records Management

HIV/AIDS, CPR, First Aid, Forklift, Flagging, (C-STOP) and ServSafe certifications


Students requesting credit for HIV/AIDS, CPR, First Aid, Forklift, Flagging, (C-Stop), and ServSafe certifications may have these credits evaluated by the Admissions Office using industry certification or a Washington State Department of Health approved course completion.

An Evaluation Request form should accompany the evidence of industry certification document. Students with equivalent certification do not have to register or pay course tuition to receive waiver. A waiver of coursework will be indicated in the student database and will appear on the graduate’s record of cumulative waiver/transfer earned upon program completion.

Software Certifications


The BCIS Program accepts industry-certification exams for the courses listed below. Students provide documentation of the certification and complete the Extra-Institutional Learning Evaluation Request Form, and the corresponding course is recorded on the transcript as CR.

Course

Credits

Exam

Minimum Score


CAP138 Word

5

MOS Word and
MOS Word Expert

700
700

CAP142 Excel

5

MOS Excel and
MOS Excel Expert

700
700

CAP146 Access

5

MOS Access

700

CAP114 Outlook

2

MOS Outlook

700

CAP148 PowerPoint

3

MOS PowerPoint

700

CAP101 Introduction to Computers

5

All three IC3 Exams
Computing Fundamentals
Living Online
Key Applications

 

650
620
720