Credit for Prior Learning available at HCC


(Release: June 14, 2013) - HCC offers credit for prior learning and experience, which allows students to receive credits for previous college coursework, lifelong learning, and military and work experience.

Below are the types of credit that can be received. For more information, contact the Admissions Specialist for Prior Learning by emailing

Credit by Validation
Students may be awarded up to 15 credits for work and life experience as validated by HCC via portfolios, advanced standing and/or institutional (or challenge) examinations. These credits cannot be used to fulfill the required minimum credits in residence for graduation.

Institutional Examinations
Institutional examinations (practical or written) are offered at HCC in selected subjects for which CLEP and DSST exams are not available. Students must be admitted to the college before taking an institutional exam. An examination fee will be charged. An institutional exam per subject area may be taken only once and is arranged through the faculty and division chair or director.

Advanced Standing
By completing upper-level courses, students can demonstrate prior knowledge and receive corresponding lower-level credits retroactively. Students must first meet with an appropriate faculty member and complete all paperwork before beginning the upper-level course.

Credit by Portfolio
Students can present portfolios of their work history to appropriate faculty members to receive college credit. Portfolios can include items such as writing or work samples and job descriptions. Some certifications have already been evaluated and deemed appropriate for credit. For more information, see the “Industry Certifications” section of the college catalog available online at

Nontraditional Students
Nontraditional students are those who do not enroll in college immediately after high school. They can be any age and include those who do not have any previous college experience. At HCC, nontraditional students can be awarded up to 30 credits for:

  • Military experience
  • Programs evaluated and recommended for credit by the American Council on Education
  • Nationally Standardized Exams including
    -Advanced Placement (AP)
    -International Baccalaureate (IB)
    -College Level Examination Program (CLEP)
    -Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST)

CLEP and DSST examinations can be administered at HCC’s Testing Center. Visit for scheduling information.

Transfer Students
HCC welcomes applications from transfer students. To ensure the successful transfer of previous college credits, students seeking a degree at HCC must submit official transcripts from all colleges attended and any applicable military transcripts to the Office of Admissions, Records and Registration. A review of the transcripts will not be completed until all documents are received and a Transcript Evaluation Request Form has been submitted. If the student has taken CLEP, DSST, AP, or similar exams, official score reports must be submitted as well. It is important that students have a completed credit evaluation before scheduling courses at HCC. Credits taken at regionally accredited institutions will be applied to the program of study chosen by the student.

HCC adheres to the general education and transfer policies of the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Visit for the complete policy. Note: Students transferring into a health sciences or nursing program will need to meet additional program requirements and criteria. Contact the Academic Advising Office at 240-500-2240 or by email at for more information.