New TSC program offers credit for work experience, saves students time and money

Texas Southmost College is introducing a new option for students that will get them to graduation quicker. The new Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) program will give students credit for earned industry certifications, work experiences and licensure.

Already in effect, TSC’s PLA program aligns with the college’s strategic plan of developing accelerated pathways to move students to degree and certificate completion.

“TSC’s Prior Learning Assessment accelerates students’ completion of a college degree,” said TSC Director of Advisement and Testing and the PLA Academic Advisor Bervick Simon. “This provides a great advantage for our nontraditional students, in particular, because it allows students to bypass certain courses that teach them skills they may have already mastered, ultimately allowing them to finish a degree and enter the workforce faster.”

With more than 10 programs such as Automotive Technology, Computer-Aided Drafting Technology and Medical Office Management under the PLA umbrella, students have a variety of programs and career options to choose from.

To receive credit through the PLA, students must show evidence of knowledge and skills gained through one of the following: military training, professional work experience, licensure or professional certifications, or career education and workplace training.

Students who qualify for PLA can earn up to 75% of the credits for their degree plan.

“PLA is a case-by-case initiative, but it provides a number of opportunities to those we serve,” said Simon. “I really see this gaining popularity among our population and growing in the coming years.”

To request PLA credit, students must meet three requirements: be admitted in an academic or workforce degree program while maintaining a 2.0 grade-point average, successfully complete a minimum of six hours of TSC course work and provide official documentation of prior learning such as transcripts, licensures, certificates or work experience. Students will also need to complete 25% of their degree program at TSC in order to meet residency requirements.

Simon said PLA will not only save students time, but also money.

For example, there is no fee to assess military training, while there is only a $25 per course assessment fee for licensures and professional certifications and a $120 per course assessment fee for professional work experience.

“These fees are by far, less expensive than a course,” he said. “So, we encourage those who think they may qualify for PLA credit to contact us. Our goal is to help students earn their degree, improving their marketability and competitiveness in the workplace.”

For more information about TSC’s PLA program, call 956-295-3640.