Credit for Prior Learning (CPL)

Credit for Prior Learning is degree credit awarded for demonstrated relevant college-level education acquired through nontraditional schooling, work or other life experience. Through CPL, subject matter experts evaluate how prior experiences might translate to college-level knowledge and how that knowledge may equate to college credit.

Students may apply for CPL at any time after admission to the College. Credit approved through the evaluation process will be posted to the student's transcript. A student may obtain a maximum of 30 semester credits of CPL. Awarded CPL will not affect a student's grade point average or quality points, nor will it substitute for the required minimum of 20 semester credits of residency needed for graduation from Tri-C.


Students will be charged $50 per course approved for CPL through the By-Pass Credit and Challenge Exam Options. All fees must be paid at a Tri-C Admissions & Financial Services office.

Students taking a CLEP exam must pay associated costs directly to College Board.

Types of CPL

Advanced Placement Credit (AP)

Ohio students who score 3 or higher on a College Board AP exam are guaranteed to receive college credit, mainly in general education areas, upon entrance to any of Ohio’s public institutions of higher education. Learn more about AP credit.

By-Pass Credit (BYP)

By-pass credit is awarded for achieving competence equivalent to a course or sequence of courses applicable to fulfilling an academic degree requirement. By-pass credit may be awarded for learning attained through documented and valid academic and/or equivalent work experience, including professional certification/licensing, portfolio evaluation and completion of a formal training program. Formal training programs include, but are not limited to, hospital-based and corporate education for which requisite knowledge, skills and competencies are documented. Learn more about BYP credit.

Challenge Exam Credit (EX) — Including College-Level Examination Program Credit (CLEP)

In certain circumstances, students can earn CPL for a course by passing a comprehensive exam on the course material. The decision on which courses qualify for EX credit is made by faculty in individual academic disciplines.

College credit is guaranteed for students who achieve an established College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) test score for exams that have been endorsed statewide as college level. Statewide faculty panels have aligned CLEP exams to equivalent Ohio Transfer 36 and Transfer Assurance Guide (TAG) courses as appropriate. If an equivalent course is not available for the CLEP exam area, endorsed elective or area credit will be awarded and applied toward graduation.

Information on specific endorsed alignments and scores for individual CLEP exams are outlined in the CLEP Endorsed Alignment Policies document on the Ohio Department of Higher Education website. CLEP offers students an opportunity to earn college credit for what they already know at a fraction of the cost of a college course. Earning a qualifying score on one or more of the available exams can help students reach their academic goals and work toward a degree. Learn more about EX and CLEP credit.

Career-Technical Assurance Guide Credit (CTAG)

Collaboration among the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the Ohio Department of Education and other key stakeholders led to the development of policies and procedures to create statewide career-technical, discipline-specific articulation agreements. These agreements ensure that students completing coursework at an adult or high school career-technical institution can articulate and transfer agreed-upon technical courses/programs to and among any Ohio public institutions of higher education "without unnecessary duplication or institutional barriers." 

Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs) are statewide articulation agreements that guarantee the recognition of learning that occurs at public adult and high school career-technical institutions. It offers the opportunity for the award of college credit toward technical courses/programs at any public higher education institution. CTAGs serve as advising tools, identifying the statewide content guarantee and describing other conditions or obligations (e.g., program accreditation or industry credential) associated with the guarantee.

To be awarded CTAG credit at Tri-C, students must confirm that the College offers a degree program in their career-technical field. Learn more about CTAG credit.

Industry Recognized Transfer Assurance Guides (ITAGS)

ITAGs are a statewide transfer initiative that guarantees the award of college-level credit to students earning agreed-upon industry-recognized credentials. The award of credit is based upon the knowledge, skills and competencies gained through credential attainment, regardless of where the learning to prepare for the credential took place.

Statewide panels are comprised of postsecondary faculty, industry representatives and educators from either Ohio Technical Centers (OTCs) and/or Secondary Career-Technical Centers. Each ITAG panel will work to align content from the specified credential to postsecondary learning outcomes. Each new ITAG will be sent to Ohio's public colleges and universities for feedback and endorsement prior to being announced.

In some instances, ITAGs will overlap with other transfer initiatives. This will expand access to other statewide transfer agreements (CTAGs, MTAGs and TAGs) but not replace them. Learn more about ITAG credit.

International Baccalaureate Diploma Program Credit (IB)

High school students who participate in their school's IB Diploma Program must complete the course and take the corresponding exam. College credit may be awarded based on course and exam score. The IB Diploma Program provides a balanced education, facilitates geographic and cultural mobility and promotes international understanding. Learn more about IB credit.

Military Credit (MC) – Including DANTES Subject Standardized Tests Credit (DSST) and Military Transfer Assurance Guide Credit (MTAG)

Students may be able to receive credit for courses taken as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. The American Council on Education (ACE) has evaluated many of the courses taken as part of military service, and Tri-C uses its published recommendations as the basis for awarding credit for these courses.

The nationally recognized DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) program helps students earn college credits for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom. It offers more than 30 exams in college subject areas such as social sciences, math, applied technology, business, physical sciences and humanities. DSST exams offer students a cost-effective, time-saving way to accomplish their educational goals. More than 1,500 colleges and universities recognize the DSST program and award college credit for passing scores. Tests are administered year-round at colleges, universities and corporations throughout the United States and in some other countries. ACE’s College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE CREDIT) has evaluated and recommended college credit for all 30+ DSST exams.

The Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) and Tri-C are committed to the acceptance and awarding of college credit for training and experience in the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard. ODHE’s Articulation and Transfer Network develops Military Transfer Assurance Guides (MTAGs) to streamline and systemize the awarding of credit for military training, experience and coursework. ACE, or a regional accrediting body such as the Higher Learning Commission, must evaluate and approve all military training and experience for inclusion in Ohio’s statewide transfer guarantee. Learn more about MC, DSST and MTAG credit.

One-Year Option (OYO)

The One-Year Option (OYO) builds upon Ohio’s articulation and transfer system to help more adults accelerate their preparation for work by earning a technical associate degree. Consistent with the philosophy of the Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAGs), OYO guarantees that college credit will be awarded for college-level learning that occurs through adult programs at public career-technical institutions. Adults who complete a career-technical education program of study consisting of a minimum of 900 hours and achieve an industry-recognized credential approved by the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) shall receive 30 semester hours of technical course credit toward a standardized Associate of Technical Study (ATS) degree upon matriculation at a public institution of higher education that confers such a degree. The 30 semester hours will be awarded as a block of credit rather than credit for specific courses. Proportional credit is to be awarded toward the ATS degree for adults who completed a program of study between 600 and 899 hours and achieved an industry-recognized credential approved by ODHE. The credit earned through OYO will be applied to ATS degrees bearing the following standardized degree titles:

  1. Associate of Technical Study in Building and Industrial Technology
  2. Associate of Technical Study in Business Technology
  3. Associate of Technical Study in Health and Allied Health Technology
  4. Associate of Technical Study in Information Technology
  5. Associate of Technical Study in Services Technology

Learn more about OYO credit.

Tech Prep Credit (TPC)

Tech Prep credit is awarded to students who successfully complete required programs at schools and school districts that belong to or partner with the North Coast Ohio College Tech Prep Consortium. All credits earned through approved bilateral agreements are treated as CPL. Learn more about TPC credit.

Credit For Prior Learning Handbook

View the full Credit for Prior Learning Handbook for detailed information on CPL.

Articulation and Credit for Prior Learning Grading

Learn more about CPL grade codes. (Select Articulation and Prior Learning Grading on the landing page.)