Credit for Prior Learning

Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) is defined as college credit earned through experiences outside of Indian Hills credit course completion.  CPL can be earned in a variety of methods, such as transfer credit, work experience, professional training, industry-recognized credentials, credit by examinations, military training and more.  A maximum of 18 technical credits can be earned through the CPL process.  A maximum of 30 credits may be awarded for CPL of any kind, with the exception of transfer credit from other institutions of higher learning.  Students must also meet the residence and college general education requirements.  A student must request alternative credit be awarded, the credit is not awarded automatically. 

Credit for Prior Learning may include:

  • Transfer Credit
  • Credit by Examination (CLEP, AP, DSST, Test Out)
  • Experiential Learning/Work Experience
  • Professional Training/Industry-Recognized Credentials
  • Military Education/Training

Transfer Credit

Indian Hills accepts credit from other regionally-accredited, post-secondary institutions and will apply these credits, when appropriate, toward requirements of the program in which the student is enrolled.  Acceptance of credit by Indian Hills does not guarantee acceptance at other colleges.  Indian Hills does not accept as transfer credit courses for which a grade of “D” or less (or equivalent) was earned.  Courses will be evaluated by the Office of the Registrar for final determination as to transferability of credit.

Students transferring from a technical education program to the Arts & Sciences program may transfer up to 16 semester hours of technical education credit.  These credits will be applied toward the elective requirements for the student’s particular major.

Students earning transfer credit from international colleges and universities may be required to have their credits evaluated by an accredited third-party agency. 

Experiential Learning/Work Experience & Professional Training/Industry-Recognized Credentials

Indian Hills may award students credit for training/learning that they received during their time of employment.  Credit for Work Experience/Experiential Learning and Professional Training/Industry Recognized Credentials will be evaluated by the Department Chair or Program Director, the divisional Dean and a Continuing Education & Workforce Solutions staff member, on a case-by-case basis upon examination of the student’s portfolio. 

The Experiential Learning/Work Experience and Professional Training/Industry-Recognized Credentials portfolios will include, but will not be limited to:

  1. Tangible examples of competencies and a completed portfolio worksheet
  2. A current résumé
  3. A job description that clearly defines duties and a letter from the employers verifying that the student has met the competencies of the course(s) requested
  4. Demonstration of skill (when applicable)
  5. Third party credentials, certificates or licensure


Credit by Examination

Indian Hills will accept for credit appropriate test scores, as recommended by the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service, on approved subject-matter tests provided by College Level Examination Program (CLEP), Advanced Placement (AP) and DSST (Formerly Dantes).

A maximum of 16 semester hours earned through the Credit by Examination process may be applied to the associate degree requirements.  Rules, guidelines, subject-matter examinations and test fees are available from the Indian Hills Testing Centers on the Ottumwa and Centerville Campuses.  There is a cost associated with the tests.  However, there is no additional cost to add the credit to an Indian Hills transcript.

Credit by examination will not be granted:

  1. If it duplicates courses previously passed or failed;
  2. For a course which the students does not meet the stated prerequisites listed in the Indian Hills catalog; or
  3. For a course which is a prerequisite to one for which credit has previously been earned.

Additionally, students may “test out” of courses at Indian Hills for which there is no CLEP, AP or DSST test. Credit by departmental examination is a means of being granted alternative credit by satisfactorily demonstrating subject-matter competency through an examination developed, administered, and evaluated by an Indian Hills faculty member. 

The student must be enrolled in the course and is required to achieve an “A” or “B” on the exam to receive credit. Indian Hills “test out” grades will appear as a “T” on a transcript. Contact an advisor or instructor prior to enrolling if you wish to “test out” of a course.

Students interested in CLEP, AP and DSST tests can contact the Ottumwa Testing Center by calling (641) 683-5142. The Centerville Testing Center can be reached at (641) 856-2143. Students can also email [email protected].

Military Education/Training

Indian Hills may award credit for applicable armed service school experiences and training, non-collegiate institution training, or earned professional certificates and licensures.  When applicable, credit will be awarded based on the American Council on Education’s (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service and the ACE Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services.  Official military transcripts will be evaluated by the Office of the Registrar.  Veterans should direct any questions regarding transfer credits to the Veteran’s Affairs Office or the Office of the Registrar.  All other Indian Hills policies related to transfer credits also apply to military credits. 

Students interested in the Credit for Prior Learning process, should contact an academic advisor to initiate the process. 



noah_profileNoah Eklund, Director, Enrollment Services & Academic Career Advisor
Indian Hills Community College

525 Grandview Avenue Ottumwa, Iowa 52501

Phone: (641) 683-5129 or (800) 726-2585, ext. 5129
Email: [email protected]