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Prior Learning Assessment

Your Knowledge and Experience Can Work for You

Capella helps you find savings for the knowledge you’ve gained from previous work and training, or as demonstrated by your industry certifications, through a prior learning assessment.

How Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Works

Our PLA program, designed around the CAEL Standards for PLA, allows you to earn credit when you demonstrate relevant, college-level knowledge gained through formal and informal work training, continuing education, self-instruction, professional certifications, and other learning.

Two primary ways to earn credit through PLA:

Option One | Documented credit [for certifications]

  • Submit required documentation for your specific industry certifications.
  • We’ll apply credit as applicable to you program.  

Option Two | Petition [for all other prior learning]

  • Use the PLA petition to describe how you’ve mastered the concepts of a specific course and how you apply that knowledge.
  • A Capella faculty expert reviews the petition to determine if credit should be awarded.
  • Use the PLA lab, a free resource, to develop your petition(s).

View Capella's Prior Learning Assessment policy and PLA Fees

Not sure if you’re eligible or how to proceed?

Talk with an expert who can answer your questions and guide you to the next best step.

Eligible Programs

The following programs are eligible for PLA credit. Your enrollment counselor can guide you through the options for each program.

  • BS in Business
  • BS in Criminal Justice
  • BS in Health Care Administration
  • BS in Information Technology
  • BS in Nursing
  • BS in Public Health
  • BS in Psychology

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Master of Health Administration (MHA)
  • Master of Public Administration (MPA)
  • Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
  • MS in Analytics
  • MS In Education
  • MS In Education Innovation and Technology
  • MS in Higher Education
  • MS in Human Resource Management
  • MS in Information Assurance and Cybersecurity
  • MS in Information Technology

PLA Eligibility

PLA petitions are available only to current students who meet the requirements. Documented credit can be applied once you’re admitted.

GuidedPath Eligibility

You are eligible for the PLA process if:

  • You are currently enrolled in a PLA-eligible program at Capella (you must remain enrolled throughout the PLA process).
  • Your course is PLA eligible.
  • Your course meets the requirements of your program.

FlexPath Eligibility

  • You can only submit PLA within 10 weeks of starting your first FlexPath course. FlexPath learners can petition selected courses, so work closely with your enrollment counselor to plan your PLA.

We accept more than 50 certifications including:

  •  CISSP®
  •  PMP®
  •  Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST)

Find Funding Options

We’re here to help you find ways to pay for college without acquiring overwhelming debt. Capella financial aid advisors are available to guide you, or you can download our step-by-step financing guide.