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10901 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia MD, 21044
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312 Marshall Avenue, Suite 205
Laurel, MD 20707
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Credit for Prior Learning

Get credit for what you already know!

We recognize that knowledge and experience are acquired in many different ways. In addition to the traditional classroom setting, college-level proficiency can happen through training, skills and knowledge obtained through work, military experience, and volunteer service. In accordance with Maryland State law, credit for up to 75 percent (generally 45 credits) of an associate degree, or 75 percent of a certificate may be granted for prior learning. 

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Learn about Reverse Transfer

  • Credit Time Limits

    Credit age limitations apply to many nursing and allied health programs. Five to ten-year time limitations and minimum grade requirements may exist for science, math, and general education courses used as prerequisites for some nursing and allied health programs. Adequate knowledge of prerequisite coursework leads to student success. Therefore, students are strongly advised to retake or otherwise review prior prerequisite coursework whenever necessary.

  • Transcripts & Evaluations

    To be awarded transfer credits, students must have a declared area of study. Official transcripts, along with an official Transcript Evaluation Request Form, must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Advising.

    When students change their learning program, a new transcript evaluation must be done. It is the student’s responsibility to officially request a new evaluation. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with transfer institutions regarding transfer credit policies. Howard Community College cannot guarantee that other colleges and universities will evaluate their credit in the same way HCC does. 

  • Traditional Prior Learning

    College and University Credit

    Credit may be granted by HCC for coursework completed at accredited colleges and universities. Transfer credit is granted by HCC based on:

    • A student’s learning program.
    • A grade of “C” or higher required for any coursework that is prerequisite to nursing and allied health clinical courses.
    • Other coursework completed with a grade of “D” or above. While “D” grades may satisfy general education requirements at transfer institutions, ”D” grades may not satisfy specific course requirements directly related to a student’s major at HCC or at the transfer institution.

    International College and University Credit

    Credit is awarded, as appropriate, for coursework completed at international colleges and universities. Generally, HCC does not evaluate international transcripts. International transcripts must be evaluated by an international credentialing agency that is a nationally recognized accredited agency in the United States. Students must submit an official copy of the results directly to HCC’s Office of Admissions and Advising. The same policies and procedures that apply to coursework completed at U.S. colleges and universities are used. Additional information and a list of approved international credentialing agencies are available through the Office of Admissions and Advising.

    High School Articulation Credit

    Students who have completed Howard County Public School System career programs through Career Academies may be eligible for academic credit at HCC through an articulation agreement with the school system. Eligibility for this credit is based on a number of factors, including:

    • The student’s HCC area of study
    • Other college coursework the student has completed
    • The student’s grade in the high school course
    • The specific terms of the articulation agreement

    Students must submit to the college’s Office of Admissions and Advising an official high school transcript and an Articulated Credit Form (available in high school guidance offices and HCC’s Office of Admissions and Advising). The award of credit for high school coursework does not guarantee that transfer institutions will grant credit for these courses or grant credit in the same way.

  • Nontraditional Prior Learning

    State law limits the number of credits that can be awarded for nontraditional learning to thirty (30) for both two-year and four-year colleges and universities. This limit is based on a 60-credit associate degree or a 120-credit bachelor degree. The nontraditional credit limit can be increased proportionally when degrees exceed these credit totals. The college awards applicable credits earned for the following nontraditional prior learning:

    Noncollegiate Programs

    Credit may be granted for educational programs that apply to students’ learning programs and have been successfully completed at noncollegiate organizations such as government agencies, corporations and businesses, trade and technical schools, and others. Noncollegiate courses will be evaluated in accordance with the American Council on Education (ACE) recommendations, as well as other approved organizations, in accordance with the college’s articulation agreements with nontraditional organizations and agencies. Official transcripts, along with an official transcript evaluation request form, must be submitted to the Office of Admissions and Advising.

    Military Education and Training

    Credit may be granted for a variety of formal military, vocational, and educational programs based on a student’s declared learning program at HCC. Students will be awarded credit based on recommendations made by the ACE, as well as in accordance with the college’s articulation agreements with individual military branches and organizations. Official military transcripts, including Joint Services Transcript (JST), Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) or other military transcripts must be submitted with a transcript evaluation request form to the office of admissions and advising.

    Credit by Examination

    Students may be awarded credit through nationally standardized or HCC institutional testing programs. Howard Community College has specific policies for all testing programs for which it awards credits based on scores, other credits earned, and students’ learning programs. Credit is generally not awarded for institutional exams taken at other colleges and universities. Students must submit official score transcripts, declare an area of study, and submit an official transcript evaluation request form to receive credit for national examination programs. HCC’s test center administers some of these exams to its current and prospective students. Information regarding required scores and credits awarded may be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising.

  • National Examinations

    The national examination programs for which the college awards credit are:

    Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

    The college generally awards credit for scores of 3, 4, or 5 for certain subject matter tests. Further information can be obtained by contacting high school guidance offices or the College Board website.

    International Baccalaureate (IB) Exams

    The college generally awards credit for scores of 4, 5, 6, or 7 for these subject matter tests. For more information, contact the office of admissions and advising or the International Baccalaureate program website.

    College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

    This national credit-by-examination program provides individuals of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to receive credit for college-level achievement acquired in many academic areas. Howard Community College administers CLEP examinations to current and prospective students at its test center. Additional information regarding CLEP can be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising or the College Board website.

    DSST (formerly known as the DANTES Subject Standardized Tests)

    Students may earn up to three credits for each examination based on their scores and the American Council of Education’s (ACE) score recommendations. We administer DSST examinations at our test center. For a list of exams, please come to the Office of Admissions and Advising. Additional information regarding DSST can be obtained by contacting the office of admissions and advising or the DSST website.

    Excelsior College Exams

    Students may complete subject-based exams developed and offered through Excelsior College and Pearson VUE. Students must receive a grade of “C” or higher for these examinations to be equated to HCC courses. Exams are administered through the HCC test center. For more information and a list of accepted exams, please contact the office of admissions and advising.

  • Institutional Examinations

    Institutional exams offered at HCC for selected courses include:

    Proficiency Exams

    These exams are taken prior to course enrollment when students believe they have mastery of course skills and objectives. Successful test performance results in course credits and appears on transcripts as proficiency credit. Proficiency exams cannot be retaken and cannot be taken by students previously unsuccessful in courses for which they are seeking credit. Students must be admitted to the college prior to taking proficiency exams. A fee equal to fifty percent of the current in-county tuition for the course will be charged for each proficiency examination. Proficiency exams must be taken within thirty calendar days after fee payment. Students who do not take exams within this thirty-day limit will be notified that credit will not be issued.

    Challenge Exams

    These exams are taken after enrolling in courses when students believe they have acquired course skills and objectives. Successful test performance results in the award of course credit, which, along with the grade earned, appears on a student’s transcript. A challenge exam may only be attempted once during a course. If the exam does not result in a passing grade, the student remains in the course. There is no additional cost for challenge exams beyond course tuition and fees.

    Students must contact the appropriate faculty or division chairperson to arrange proficiency and challenge exams. These exams are offered for some, but not all, credit classes. Information on proficiency and challenge exams is available in the office of admissions and advising and in the appropriate academic division offices.

    LPN-RN Mobility Exam

    Howard Community College administers the LPN-RN Mobility Exam as one part of the process of determining advanced standing in the LPN Pathways program. This exam is designed to facilitate LPN to RN career mobility. The exam is one method to assess prior learning and experience in the nursing field. It is used by HCC in combination with other requirements to award clinical nursing transfer credit and advanced standing.

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