Sources of credit for work & life experience

Your accomplishments matter. We recognize the academic value of your professional achievements. We give credit for work experiences such as technical training, professional licensure and certification.

The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT®) connects workplace learning with colleges and universities. CREDIT® helps adults gain access to academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside traditional degree programs.

For decades, colleges and universities have trusted ACE to provide reliable course equivalency information to facilitate credit award decisions. Participating organizations include corporations, associations, schools, training suppliers, labor unions and government agencies.

To see if any of your professional development courses will potentially yield college level credit, please contact your advisor.

Partners In Corrections Program

The Columbia College Partners in Corrections Program is designed to give students interested in becoming correctional officers up to 24 semester hours in course equivalencies for successful completion of the corrections basic training academy.To qualify, students must successfully complete a departmentally mandated corrections academy in any of the 50 states or U.S. territories.  The academy must be a departmentally-mandated basic training academy with a minimum 275 hours in length.  Academies complete over five years prior to applying for equivalency credit will not be considered unless the applicant can demonstrate adequate work experience in the field since completion of his or her academy. An approved demonstration of work experience is a letter on appropriate letterhead from a supervisor or human resources administrator confirming employment in the field; the letter should include employment dates/history and current position. The specific course equivalencies are listed below:

Partners in Corrections Program
Course code Course title Credit hours
CJAD 320  Cultural Diversity in Criminal Justice 3 upper level
CJAD 345 Ethics and Morality in Criminal Justice 3 upper level
CJAD 144  Criminal Justice Elective 9 lower level

The equivalency policy is based on the following provisions:

  1. The academy must be one of basic correction and required for employment by the respective state in question and must have been completed within five years prior to applying for equivalencies.
  2. Students who complete a basic corrections academy consisting of less than 275 hours will be eligible to earn up to 12 semester hours of criminal justice elective credit in which one semester hour will be awarded for each 20 hours of basic training.
  3. Students may not be awarded credit for both the Partners in Law Enforcement (PILE) program and the Partners in Corrections (PIC) program.  Students may not be awarded credit for one of the Partners programs and awarded criminal justice electives for other training.
  4. If a student completes an acceptable academy for one of the Partners programs and then subsequently completes a state cross-over training program for the other, then as long as the original academy training meets the eligibility rules for acceptance, the students may choose which program (PILE or PIC) for which to be awarded credit.  Students cannot be awarded credit for both programs.
  5. If a student has completed basic academy training for both programs but neither training meets the eligibility rules for PILE or PIC, then the student may be eligible to earn up to 12 semester hours of criminal justice elective credit in which one semester hour will be awarded for 20 hours of basic law enforcement and corrections academy training.  Total credit may not exceed 12 semester hours.
  6. Students must have successfully completed 15 semester hours of college coursework at Columbia College before equivalencies may be applied.

Note: Completion of the corrections academy within the last 36 semester hours of a student’s degree program may reduce the number of hours applied under the Partners in Corrections Program.

Many students who participate in learning experiences outside the classroom wish to earn college credit for their work. Columbia College offers a number of ways students may earn such credit. CLEP tests, ACE credit and course test-outs are preferred because they require a theory base, have national norms/criteria or both. If none of the above credit-awarding methods are an option, Columbia College awards credit for prior learning.

Please see the credit for prior learning page for more specifics.

A student may receive credit for an EMT program based on the number of hours on the certificate. 
Credit is granted as follows:

EMT-B, Emergency Medical Technician — Basic
Credit hours Instruction type
6 maximum
ELEC 144
110 Total instruction hours
EMT-I[1], Emergency Medical Technician – Intermediate
Credit hours Instruction type
6 maximum
ELEC 144
175-225 Classroom / practical lab
50-75 Clinical
75-100 Field Internship
300-400 Total instruction hours

1 Not available in all states—including Missouri

EMT-P, Emergency Medical Technician – Paramedic
Credit hours Instruction type
9 ELEC 144
1000-12000[2] Total instruction hours

2 Not a set number of hours. Emphasis based on competence of graduate.

Partners In Law Enforcement Program

For students desiring to become law enforcement officers (or if already in law enforcement), Columbia College offers Partners in Law Enforcement. This collaborative initiative between Columbia College and the state’s police academies is designed to give students up to 24 semester hours in course equivalencies for successful completion of the academy. To qualify, students must successfully complete a minimum of 400 hours at a state certified, basic police academy. Academies completed over five years prior to applying for equivalency credit will not be considered unless the applicant can demonstrate adequate work experience in the field since completion of the academy. An approved demonstration of work experience is a letter on appropriate letterhead from a supervisor or human resources administrator confirming employment in the field. The letter should include employment dates/history and current position. The specific course equivalencies are listed below:

Partners in Law Enforcement Program
Course code Course title Credit hours
CJAD 301 Criminal Law 3 upper level
CJAD 311 Police in a Democratic Society 3 upper level
CJAD 415  Criminal Procedures 3 upper level
CJAD 144 Criminal Justice Electives  9 lower level
ELEC 144 General Electives  6 lower level

The equivalency policy is effective based on the following provisions:

  1. Basic law enforcement academies must be a minimum of 400 hours in length and must have been completed within the five years prior to applying for equivalencies;
  2. Students who complete a basic law enforcement academy of less than 400 hours will be eligible to earn up to 12 semester hours of criminal justice elective credit in which one semester hour will be awarded for each 20 hours of training;
  3. Students may not be awarded credit for both the Partners in Law Enforcement (PILE) program and the Partners in Corrections (PIC) program.  Students may not be awarded credit for one of the Partners programs and awarded criminal justice electives for other training.
  4. If a student completes an acceptable academy for one of the Partners programs and then subsequently completes a state cross-over training program for the other, then as long as the original academy training meets the eligibility rules for acceptance, the students may choose which program (PILE or PIC) for which to be awarded credit.  Students cannot be awarded credit for both programs.
  5. If a student has completed basic academy training for both programs but neither training meets the eligibility rules for PILE or PIC, then the student may be eligible to earn up to 12 semester hours of criminal justice elective credit in which one semester hour will be awarded for 20 hours of basic law enforcement and corrections academy training.  Total credit may not exceed 12 semester hours.
  6. Students must have successfully completed 15 semester hours of college coursework at Columbia College before equivalencies may be applied.  Students must notify the Evaluations Office when they are eligible for credit to be applied.

Note: Completion of the police academy within the last 36 semester hours of a student’s degree program may reduce the number of hours applied under the partners in Law Enforcement Program.

You  may be eligible to receive college level credit from other sources of non-traditional education. Please contact your advisor if you have questions regarding credit from sources not listed on this page.

National Institute of Corrections: Management Development for the Future Series

Students pursuing a Master of Science in Criminal Justice with Management track in Corrections Administration (MSCJ.CA) or with the dual track option of Management tracks in Corrections Administration and Law Enforcement Administration (MSCJ.CA.LE) are eligible to receive credit for completion of the NIC’s Management Development for the Future Series.

There is no restriction on home campus or course location. Any student pursuing an MSCJ that includes the Management track in Corrections Administration is eligible for this credit.

Completion of the training qualifies the student for:

Corrections programs
Course code Course title Credit hours
MSCJ-550  Readings in Criminal Justice Administration  3
MSCJ-587  Corrections Administration  3
MSCJ-589 Community Corrections 3

To receive credit the student must submit a certificate of completion from the National Institute of Corrections that includes the following information:

  • Name of course
  • Length of course
  • Date of completion
  • Location of training

If any of the above information is missing, the student must submit supporting documentation (letter from supervisor on certified letterhead with a signature) in order to receive credit.

This credit can be transferred in whole or in part. If the student has already completed one or more of the requirements that completion of this training would provide, they can still receive credit for the other(s) via completion of this training, without losing previously earned credit.

This credit can be completed at any time during the student’s academic career, but Evaluations will not apply it to the student record until the degree is posted. Once the training has been reviewed for credit, a notation will be added to the student's degree audit indicating the receipt of credit and its future application.

Pilot's License

A Pilot’s License has been institutionally evaluated as a former course here.  The student must submit a copy of his Pilot’s License for evaluation.

Credit is granted as follows:

Pilot's License
Credit awarded Columbia College equivalency Credit hours
Ground School/Intro to Aeronautics/Pilot Training ELEC 144 6

Real Estate License

Transfer equivalency credit will be granted for students with a current, state-issued real estate agent's or broker's license.

A photocopy of the license, which must list dates of validity indicating the student's current licensure, will be accepted as official documentation for credit-granting purposes.

Credit awarded Columbia College equivalency Credit hours
Real Estate Agent / Real Estate Broker FINC 397 3

Nursing License (Non- Nursing Degree Students)

Note: This credit will be granted to students with an RN or LPN license that are not pursing a nursing degree at Columbia College.

Nursing school graduates will be awarded credit upon completion of the nursing program when a copy of the license is provided along with an official transcript from the nursing school.  The license verifies state approval and therefore will be given credit as follows:

LPN License
Credit awarded Columbia College equivalendy Credit hours
Medical Terminology ELEC 144 2
Sociology SOCI 111 3

All students having an RN License get the following 30 hours.  Additional credit is granted based on the 2-year or 3-year program.

LPN License
Credit awarded Columbia College equivalendy Credit hours
Chemistry CHEM 110 5
Microbiology BIOL 312 4
Sociology SOCI 111 3
Psychology PSYC 101 3