Credit for Prior Learning and Work Experience

Earn credit for what you already know!

You may be able to receive college credit for your work or prior learning experiences either by sending sufficient documentation or by testing to demonstrate your knowledge. Credit for Prior Learning puts your hard-earned knowledge to work for you by awarding college credit and jump-starting your progress toward a degree.

Read below to learn about opportunities to earn credit for your prior work or learning experiences.

  • ACE Tests

    Achieved Credit by Examination (ACE) tests, are exams created by SMC that, when passed, earn SMC credit for basic subjects in Automotive Technology, Computer-Aided Design, Construction Technology, Industrial Technology, and Robotics.

    More details and a complete list of available ACE tests can be found here.

    IMPORTANT: Credit granted via ACE tests will count towards the completion of a certificate or associate degree at SMC, but may not be transferable from SMC to other institutions. If you plan to continue your education beyond an associate degree, please consult with an advisor to determine if and how ACE credit should be used.

  • AP Tests

    Advanced Placement tests are offered by College Board, an independent organization. AP tests are typically taken at the end of a high school course designed specifically to prepare students in that advanced subject matter.

    To get credit for AP tests, log in to and have your scores sent directly to SMC. You can see a list of SMC’s AP Equivalencies

  • Certifications in Information Technology

    Since the IT field changes very rapidly, IT certifications held by incoming students will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of the School of Business and Advanced Technology. If the certification is recent enough to meet the requirements for a specific class, the student may be granted credit for that class, at the Dean’s discretion, after payment of a $35 recording fee.

  • Challenge Tests

    Students may test out of a basic biology course by taking a challenge test. The first attempt is free; the second attempts cost $20. Below are the classes students may currently attempt to test out of along with a description of the test. Please contact the testing center to schedule a Challenge test.

    CHEM 100 Challenge Test

    • 60 minutes, 50 multiple-choice questions
    • Formula sheet, periodic table, and calculator provided
  • College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) Tests

    College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests are offered by College Board to assess your knowledge in one of many different subject areas. SMC accepts credit for 27 CLEP tests with a score of 50 or higher (in most cases). 

    If you’ve already taken a CLEP test at another institution, log in to and have your scores sent directly to SMC. 

    If you’d like to take a CLEP test at SMC, please follow the steps below.

    You do not have to be a student at SMC to take a CLEP test. If you are planning to send your scores to another institution, it is important that you contact the school and ask if they accept credit for the tests, what course it is for and what score they consider as passing. If you are planning on attending SMC, we accept CLEP credit for 27 different CLEP tests. See the CLEP tests we accept and required scores here.

    College Board charges an $89 CLEP test fee per test, plus there is a $20 SMC proctoring fee for each test taken. For more information, visit the CLEP website at

    To Take a CLEP Exam…

    1. Find the test you want to take on the CLEP website. Register and pay CLEP’s test fee through the CLEP site.
    2. Contact the Testing Center to set up an appointment. You will pay the $20 SMC proctoring fee when you arrive.  
  • Early Childhood Education Credentials

    Students who already work in a daycare or preschool may have a Childhood Development Associate (CDA) credential that can be used to earn SMC credit. A valid Infant/Toddler CDA may be granted credit for EDUC 115 and EDUC 208 (3 credits each), while a valid Preschool CDA may be granted credit for EDUC 115 and EDUC 217 (3 credits each). Upon receipt of proper documentation by the Records Office, the ECE Program Director will evaluate the credentials and recommend credit be granted by the Dean of Arts and Sciences, after payment of the $35 recording fee.

  • LPN Certification

    Certified LPN students should submit a copy of their LPN license to SMC’s School of Nursing and Health Services. A valid license will earn credit for NURS 166. After the license has been received, it will be verified through one of the licensing agencies such as LARA (for those licensed in Michigan), then signed by the Dean of Nursing. Upon payment by the student of a $35 recording fee, credit will be granted for NURS 166, and the student may register for NURS 167 and other courses.