Earn Credit for Your Knowledge & Experience

Many adult learners can demonstrate college-level knowledge and competencies that have been learned outside of a classroom. Regis University honors that knowledge and is one of more than 1,500 schools nationwide that awards adult students college credit for prior learning.

Regis University offers two methods of assessing and receiving college credit for prior learning with select programs: Prior Learning Assessment and Testing. Both allow you to demonstrate and document the extent of your knowledge and experience to earn college credit.

In addition, Regis University accepts American Council on Education (ACE) Credits. ACE Credits are awarded for workplace training that has a college level equivalency. ACE CREDIT was established in 1974 to connect workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside of traditional degree programs.

Find out how much of your prior learning experiences may transfer in three simple steps:
  1. Establish your goals. Meet your Regis advisor to discuss your professional experience as well as any educational goals you may.
  2. Explore your prior learning options. The tabs below highlight various options at Regis University and can help you determine which credit options will work best. Your advisor can also help you navigate this process to make sure the credits you earn align with a program of study.
  3. Begin to work towards getting college credit for your prior learning experiences.

You may earn up to 45-credit hours (the equivalent of 15 college courses) through the Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program. The PLA program is administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), a nonprofit that works make it easier for people to get the education and training they need. In the CAEL program, adult learners will take an initial class, CAEL 100, to:

  • Learn how to match experiences to college course descriptions
  • Create and present one portfolio that demonstrates how previous learning translates to college credit

CAEL 100 is offered on-line, in two different formats: Instructor-Led and Do-It-Yourself. Both courses use an online tool to help you build and store your portfolio as you work and only needs to be taken once. The more subject areas in which you have experience, the more portfolios you can build – and more credits you can earn.

Students have earned Prior Learning Assessment credit by matching their experience to a wide variety of college courses such as:


  • Customer Service
  • Managing a Small Business


  • Advanced Public Speaking
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Interpersonal Communication

Computer Science

  • Computer Science Fundamentals
  • Intro to Computing


  • Children’s and Adolescents’ Literature
  • Technology in Education


  • Technical and Report Writing

Physical Education

  • Principles of Personal Fitness

Religious Studies

  • Adult Spiritual Life and Growth


CAEL 100, Instructor Led + 1st Portfolio $895
CAEL 100, Do-It-Yourself $149
Additional Portfolios (3 credits each) $125

See if your experience and knowledge translate to college credit at www.learningcounts.org

You can also earn college credit through credit by-exam programs: CLEP, DANTES (DSST), and Challenge Exams. Most exams are pass/no pass and award 3 to 12 credit hours. The CLEP and DANTES national testing programs offer more than 65 exams that meet core, major, minor, prerequisite, and general elective degree requirements. National League of Nursing exams and Miller Analogies Tests are also offered.

Challenge Exams have been developed by Regis faculty and are based on specific Regis courses. Challenge Exams are designed to allow students to demonstrate mastery of a particular subject area gained through life or work experience. Some of the wide range of subject areas covered by these exams include:

  • Accounting
  • Computer science
  • Economics
  • Education foundations
  • English composition
  • Ethics
  • History
  • Languages: Spanish, German, or French
  • Law enforcement
  • Literature
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Natural sciences
  • Personal finance
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics

We offer testing facilities at most of our Front Range campuses. Testing times include a choice of evenings and Saturdays. You may obtain test preparation information, the testing schedule, and registration information from our website at www.regis.edu/testing. You are also welcome to drop by, or call the Testing Center, where the staff will be glad to help you.

Testing Center

Regis University
College of Contemporary Liberal Studies
3333 Regis Blvd.,
Learning Commons, G-18
Denver, CO 80221
Toll-free: 800.568.8932
Fax: 303.458.4941
E-mail: spstest@regis.edu
Website: www.regis.edu/testing

ACE College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT) was established in 1974 to connect workplace learning with colleges and universities by helping adults gain academic credit for formal courses and examinations taken outside of traditional degree programs. With over 35,000 courses reviewed, ACE is the national leader in the evaluation process for education and training obtained outside the classroom. See if you any of your past professional training translates into ACE Credit at www.acenet.edu.

ACE also collaborates with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to review military training and experiences and recommend appropriate college credit for members of the Armed Forces. ACE’s credit recommendations appear in the Military Guide and on military transcripts. Visit the Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services at www.acenet.edu.

Prior Learning FAQ

How do I convert my learning into college credit?

You can earn up to 45 credit hours or the equivalent of 15 college courses through Portfolio.

Start by checking with your admissions representative or advisor to determine if you are a candidate for our  portfolio preparation course, CAEL 100 offered through LearningCounts. If you are, enroll in the course through LearningCounts.

You will learn to demonstrate your learning by submitting one or more portfolios for faculty assessment. Most portfolios are comparable to three credit hours. When you complete the CAEL 100 course, and turn in a completed portfolio, you will earned three credits for the course and as many credits as you successfully completed a portfolio(s) for. Portfolio credits may be used for your core and/or general electives and one half (1/2) of your major or minor degree requirements. Always check with yourRegis advisor before writing any portfolios to ensure the credits can be used in your personal degree plan requirements.
Students may also utilize prior learning assessment options such as testing to fulfill degree requirements. 

Students should request a transcript for college credit from ACE (American Council on Education) to evaluated courses and certificates acquired through workplace coursework or training. The College of Contemporary Liberal Studies considers any courses evaluated by ACE as transfer credit. Check with your admissions representative or advisor for details.

What types of courses do students use for prior learning assessment credit?

Regis University offers numerous courses which you can use for your portfolio. In addition, you may choose a course description from another regionally accredited college or university. Check with your Faculty Advisor before using a non-Regis course description.

Examples of some of the more popular courses which have been petitioned for portfolio credit include:

  • Business Software Applications
  • Customer Service
  • Computer Science Fundamentals
  • Office Management
  • Interviewing Techniques
  • Small Group Communication
  • Coaching
  • Database Management
  • Marketing
  • Word Processing and Internet Use
  • Managing a Small Business, etc.

What information is included in a completed portfolio?

Your faculty member in CAEL 100 will guide you step-by-step through the process of completing a successful portfolio which demonstrates your prior learning.

Typical portfolio’s typical one or all of the following elements:

  • An expanded resume and learning goal
  • A 12-18 page essay describing in detail your prior learning related to a specific course
  • Documentation which provides evidence of your learning

What is the cost of taking the class and of the portfolio?

Costs for the CAEL 100 and the portfolio assessment are determined by LearningCounts. Regis University does not charge any additional fees for the course, portfolio, or transcripting of credit. Please visit the LearningCounts website for specific information on costs.

Do I have enough learning experience to earn college credit?

Yes! As an adult student, you have already acquired considerable learning through work, training, military, community, and family experiences.

Ask yourself:

  • Have I created spreadsheets for work or for my personal use?
  • Do I use a computer and email or use word processing on a regular basis?
  • Have I managed or supervised people?
  • Do I have experience in public speaking?
  • Have I used project management principles and techniques to manage projects?
  • Have I interviewed prospective employees and done performance appraisals?
  • Do I own my own business?
  • Does my job require me to know marketing strategies?
  • Have I learned effective advertising and promotion practices?

If you said yes to any of the items listed above, you may have acquired enough knowledge through your experience to earn college credit. Although this learning occurred outside a formal classroom setting, much of it is comparable to college level courses.

Thousands of Regis students have been surprised to find out that they have many work and life learning experiences which they can convert into college credit. For example, students with knowledge of software applications such as word processing, email, and spreadsheets have converted their learning to earn three credits in Business Software Applications.

Why should I take the portfolio course?

Students who use prior learning to earn college credit save a significant amount of time completing their degree plan, save money and can spend more time learning new information!

During the class, students complete self-assessment activities designed to help them understand their learning styles and explore the learning experiences that are comparable to college-level course work.

A CAEL 100 instructor assists each student in the process of selecting portfolio courses and checks to match the student's prior learning with his or her degree requirements.

Students are also instructed on a unique method of writing about their learning using the Kolb Model of Experiential Learning as well as ways to supply documentation for each course petitioned.

Since the portfolio process requires significant writing, we recommend that students complete their required writing courses before enrolling in the CAEL 100 course..

Where do I get more information?

  1. Carefully review the inforamtion on the LearningCounts website and complete their ‘Find Out Now’ activity.
  2. Talk about your findings with your Regis Advisor.
  3. Contact Prior Learning Assessment at Regis.
Clarke Hall #241
3333 Regis Blvd, L-4
Denver, CO 80221-1099
Phone: 303-458-3531 or 1-800-967-3237 x3531
Email: portfolio@regis.edu

What do students say about the portfolio process?

"At forty-four I found myself a candidate for promotion at my company. However, a bachelor's degree was a requirement and I had never attended college before. Even though my employer paid for my education, completing a four year degree part-time seemed impossible to me.

By using Regis' Portfolio and Testing options, I earned over half of my degree gaining 73 credits for knowledge I acquired through years of work and life experiences. This allowed me to concentrate on the core of my business studies, while saving over three years time. Now I have that promotion and the time needed to complete my MBA studies at Regis, so I won't miss my next career opportunity."
Jim Hardt, Assistant Sales Manager, Cooley Gravel Company

"Returning to school after years of raising a family and working was very intimidating for me. Through the portfolio program, I improved my writing skills and gained self-confidence by recognizing and validating what I had already learned! I was awarded the full 45 credit hours in Portfolio for course work as varied as Computer Science, Advanced First Aid and CPR and Successful Parenting. The portfolio process of identifying and describing learning experiences provided me with a strong framework to excel in my other course work."
Gayla O'Fallon, Martin & Associates

"I can't say enough good things about the Portfolio program at Regis University. By receiving college credit for my life's learning experiences, I was able to accelerate my undergraduate degree by eight months.

Portfolio credits saved me countless classroom hours and thousands of tuition dollars. I created seven essays on subjects ranging from adult spiritual life and growth to the fundamentals of professional sales and marketing.

I found the process of evaluating my own personal, spiritual, and professional learning in terms of college courses to be invigorating. I never realized how much I really knew about so many subjects until I sat down to analyze my skills and knowledge! I was given personalized support and guidance from a wonderfully talented instructor who continually encouraged me to dig deeper into myself and produce quality, college-level work. I owe so much to Regis University and the portfolio process."
Renee Palmer-Jones, Director in a Non-Profit