Prior Learning Assessment


Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is an evaluation process to determine if learning achieved outside of the traditional classroom meets the requirements of academic equivalency for college-level credit toward Western International University® (West) academic programs.


Join West for our quarterly online workshop to learn how our complimentary PLA service can help you earn college-equivalent credit toward your degree. A live, online workshop is held the third Wednesday evening in January, April, July and October. You can fax or email your transcripts, licenses, and continuing education materials from non-college training courses for an on-the-spot preevaluation of your professional training and experience. It's time to get the credit you deserve! Click here for additional workshop details, or contact our PLA team at (602) 429-1158 or for more information.


A maximum of 60 credits may be earned through any combination of PLA and credit by examination toward a West bachelor degree. A maximum of 24 credits may be earned through any combination of credit by examination and PLA toward an associate degree. These credits do not apply as resident coursework.

This is a complimentary service allowing students to participate at any time during their academic programs. For best results, students are encouraged to use this complimentary service very early in their programs.

The University follows the guidelines for prior learning established by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). Visit the CAEL website for more information.

The award of potential PLA credits requires the submission of official documentation substantiating that equivalent college-level learning occurred outside the classroom. All PLA submissions will be evaluated to determine if credits can officially apply toward a Western International University program.

Western International University offers two opportunities for PLA:

  1. Professional Training Portfolio (PTP)

    This portfolio will include a PLA Item List identifying corporate training courses, professional exams or licenses, continuing education units, or unaccredited college transcripts submitted for evaluation. All courses need official certificates, transcripts, or a letter from the employer who hosted the training. Course hours, course descriptions, and contact information of the instructor or supervisor may be required to verify documents. Check with your employer for training courses from West’s corporate education partner companies that have been evaluated for recommended credit toward a West degree.

  2. Experiential Learning Essay (ELE)

    This portfolio will include a PLA Item List identifying items submitted for evaluation, as well as an autobiography, experiential essay(s), and official documentation supporting the college-equivalent learning experience. Experiential Learning Essays are a way for students to demonstrate their knowledge through way of personal and professional experiences and researched sources by writing on an approved course description from the Essay Topic List to express learning gained outside the traditional classroom. Essay topics must be selected from a topic list of equivalent courses and written in APA format. The topic list will provide descriptions, subtopics, and potential credit amounts.

For more information on submitting prior learning for evaluation, please contact our PLA team at (602) 429-1158 or