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Credit for Prior Learning and Proficiency

Students with previous academic training, on-the-job experiences, military training, and other past learning activities can translate their acquired knowledge into college credit through the various following options. A maximum of 25 percent of a degree or certificate may be awarded using Prior Learning options.

Advanced Placement/College Board Test

Proficiency credit may be awarded for specific scores of advanced placement classes taken in high school. Official scores must be sent to the Director of Enrollment and Records. Students must earn 6 hours of HCC credit before Advance Placement credits are applied to their transcript.

Credit Granted for AP Examination Scores by Course

AP CourseScoreHCC CourseCredits Awarded
American Gov. & Politics3POL 1523
Art/Drawing3ART 1133
Art History3ART 2153
Biology3BIOL 1104
Biology4 or 5BIOL 208 & BIOL 2098
Calculus AB3MATH 1724
Calculus AB4 or 5MATH 2505
Calculus BC3MATH 2505
Calculus BC4 or 5MATH 250 & 25510
Chemistry3CHEM 1204
Chemistry4CHEM 1235
Chemistry5CHEM 123 & CHEM 12410
Computer Science3INFT 1903
English Language/Literature3ENG 1XX (Elective)3
Physics 13PHYS 1404
Physics 14 or 5PHYS 1414
Physics 23PHYS 1404
Physics 24 or 5PHYS 1424
Physics C Mechanics3PHYS 1414
Physics C Mechanics4 or 5PHYS 1434
Physics C Elect. & Mag.3 or 4 or 5PHYS 1424
Psychology3PSYCH 1613
Statistics3MATH 1343
U.S. History3HIST 1433
U.S. History4 or 5HIST 143 & 144

CLEP Exams

The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) gives students the opportunity to receive college credit by earning qualifying scores on a wide variety of subject examinations. Credit can be earned by demonstrating knowledge previously gained through independent study, prior course work, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits or internships. CLEP tests are administered in the Testing Center, located in the Student/Conference Center on the Highland campus during fall, spring and summer semesters. Contact Carolyn Petsche, CLEP test administrator, at 815. 599.3577 for more information. For information regarding CLEP course equivalencies, speak to a student advisor at 815.599.3573. To find out more about CLEP examinations and to access review materials, visit

Credit Granted for CLEP Examinations by Exam

CLEP ExamRequired ScoreCredits GrantedEquivalent Score
American Literature506ENGL 225 or 226
Fresh Eng Com503ENGL 121
Humanities503HUM 104
German Lang508GERM 151 or 152
Spanish Lang508SPAN 155 or 156
American Govt503POL 152
Human Growth/Dev503PSY 262
Intro to Ed Psych503PSY 261
Intro PSY503PSY 161
Intro Sociology503SOC 171
Micro Econ503ECON 112
Macro Econ503ECON 111
Hist US 1503HIST 143
Hist US 2503HIST 144
West Civ 1503HIST 141
West Civ 2503HIST 142
Biology504BIO 110
Pre Calc505MATH 170
Calculus505MATH 250
College Alg504MATH 166
College Math504MATH 132
Financial Act504ACCT 213
Intro Bus Law503BUS 223
Info Sys/Comp Ap503INFT 180
Pric Mgmt503BUS 249

IB Diploma Programme (DP)

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme subject tests may be used to fulfill HCC course requirements in a variety of areas. Download a guide to assessment to learn more about your IB diploma and college admission.

It is the student’s responsibility to request examination scores to be sent to the Director of Enrollment and Records. Credit will be designated with a “PR” test credit on the student’s transcript. No credit by examination will be recorded on a student’s transcript until the student has earned at least six (6) semester hours in regular classes at Highland Community College.

IB Test Equivalencies

Credit by Proficiency

Students can earn up to 25 percent of the credit hours required for an HCC degree or certificate by successfully completing proficiency tests. Proficiency tests are best suited for students with considerable academic and life experiences.

To take proficiency tests at Highland, a student must first be formally admitted to the College. Students are also encouraged to meet with an HCC advisor or instructor for an assessment of their qualifications before taking proficiency exams. Students must pay a non-refundable administrative fee of $25 and non-refundable tuition of a $25/credit hour before taking the test. The tests may include a written or oral exam, portfolio review, history of on-the-job experiences, or any combination of the above.

Following successful completion of proficiency tests, credit will be granted and will appear on the student’s official HCC transcript. Proficiency credit carries no grade value and does not affect a student’s grade-point average. It cannot be used to fulfill the residency requirements of HCC degrees. Students should check with their transfer institution regarding their policies for proficiency credit.

Proficiency credit earned at other accredited institutions will be accepted at Highland providing the course for which the test was taken is equivalent to an HCC course and as long as the institution recorded the credit on a student’s official transcript.

Interested students should contact the Office of Admissions and Records for details at 815.599.3414.

Military Experience

College-level credit will be awarded to veterans based upon recommendations listed in the most recent Guide to the Evaluation of Educational Experiences in the Armed Services or evaluation of the student’s SMART transcripts which are available online. If requested, up to four semester hours of physical education activity credit will be awarded to veterans whose DD214 verifies at least one year of “active duty” or more upon request. Contact the Office of Admissions and Records at 815.599.3414 for more information.

PEP (Proficiency Examination Program)

PEP credit will be allowed for specific nursing courses only. Students must make arrangements with the Director of Nursing for testing and test specifics.