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Earn Credit for Prior Learning

Do you speak Spanish or another language? Are you proficient with computers and software? Do you have career or military experience? Then you may be able to earn college credit for your knowledge and skills. With NECC’s Credit for Prior Learning, you can save money, move through the sequence of courses at a faster pace, and graduate quicker!


Prior Learning Assessment Options

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

Advanced Placement (AP) Exams

The College Board Advanced Placement Program (AP) provides participating high schools the opportunity to offer college-level coursework to students in a variety of subject areas. Upon completion of an AP course, the high school student may take an AP examination. AP scores range from 1 to 5 points. AP scores of 3, 4, and 5 are commonly accepted as the equivalent of college-level coursework. Please view the Advanced Placement (AP) Credit Policy at NECC and complete the Advanced Placement (AP) Request form to get started!

CLEP and DSST Testing

CLEP and DSST Testing

Taking a CLEP or DSST exam is a great way to get a head start on or fast track your college credits. You can earn credit for what you already know, earn up to 12 college credits toward your degree, (nine credits for foreign language exams), and transfer these credits just about anywhere!
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) and the DANTES Subject Standardized Test (DSST) offer exams in areas such as foreign languages, business, composition and literature, history and social sciences, science and math. MORE about 'CLEP & DSST Exams'

Challenge Examinations

Challenge Examinations

If you feel that your background, education, and experience have given you sufficient knowledge in a subject area, you may challenge certain courses. By passing an exam in a certain subject area, you earn college credits. Challenge exams are not available as an option if other proficiency examinations (such as CLEP) are available. MORE about 'Challenge Exam Overview'.

Evaluation by Portfolio

Evaluation by Portfolio

A portfolio evaluation is an in-depth document you prepare showing how your experience meets with a particular course’s objectives. MORE about 'Credit Portfolio Evaluation'.

Evaluation by Credential

Evaluation by Credential

If you have had training or received certifications through your professional work, you may able to have your experiences evaluated for college credit. MORE about 'Credit Credential Evaluation'.

Proficiency Testing - Foreign Languages

Proficiency Testing – Foreign Languages 

Measure your Proficiency of a Foreign Language by testing at NECC through language testing services offered at the NYU School of Professional Studies (NYU) & Brigham Young University Foreign Language Achievement Tests (BYU FLATS). The test is offered in more than 50 languages and can be used by universities to grant academic credit or to grant you advanced placement in your language of study. MORE about 'Language Proficiency Testing'.

Military Evaluations

Military Evaluations

We are pleased to offer college credit for your military experience. Earn academic credit for your military experience. View and print our Military Crosswalk and complete the Military Transcript Evaluation Request form to get started! MORE about 'Military Evaluation'.

Seal of Biliteracy

Do you speak more than one language? At Northern Essex Community College, you can save money, move through the sequence of courses at a faster pace, and graduate quicker! Ask about our Seal of Biliteracy credit award program.

Massachusetts State Seal of Biliteracy
The State Seal of Biliteracy is an award provided by state approved districts that recognizes high school graduates who attain high functional and academic levels of proficiency in English and a world language in recognition of having studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. Our vision is to help students recognize the value of their academic success and see the tangible benefits of being bilingual. The State Seal of Biliteracy takes the form of a seal that appears on the transcript or diploma of the graduating senior and is a statement of accomplishment for future employers and for college admissions.

This is free for students who enroll at Northern Essex Community College. 

What you need to do:

What you earn:

  • 12 college credits with the Seal of Biliteracy with Distinction
  • 9 college credits with the Seal of Biliteracy


Articulation Agreements

Credit may be awarded through the following internal Articulation Agreements:

If you think you may be eligible for articulated credits, click here!

High School Statewide Articulation Agreements:

Some NECC students can earn articulated credits at the college as a result of courses they took in high school which were included in statewide articulation agreements. Classes taken per the agreement between the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Massachusetts Chapter 74 Approved Secondary Career/Vocational Technical Programs allow for students to enroll at any community college and be awarded articulated credits for work completed at the vocational high school level.  

To learn more information about statewide articulation agreements, please click on the links below. Please note that NECC decides which courses listed on the agreements students may receive credit for.

If you think you may be eligible for articulated credits, please complete the Massachusetts Statewide Articulation Agreement (

Credit for Prior Learning Requirements and Costs



  • You must have matriculated into a program of study.
  • You should understand that the awarding of credit is based on knowledge, not simply on experience.
  • You must be able to demonstrate, in a verifiable manner, that you have acquired the same level of academic knowledge that would be obtained by taking the NECC course.

The standards for issuing credit are necessarily rigorous. The center relies heavily on the faculty’s expertise in evaluating the experiential learning for which the individual is seeking credit. The standards applied to the evaluation process must be consistent, documented, and meet guidelines developed by the American Council on Education (ACE) to assess experiential learning.

Credit for Prior Learning Residency Requirements and Grading System



  • You need to pay an NECC non-refundable $40 administrative fee, in advance, through our online Destiny One payment system, mail-in or walk-in. The fee for credit for prior learning portfolio review, credential evaluation, and a challenge exam is $50 per credit hour.  This information will be required when completing the Credit for Prior Learning Application.
  • For CLEP and DSST Exams, you will pay a non-refundable $40 NECC registration fee, in advance, to reserve a seat. You are also required to purchase the CLEP exam for $93 through the College Board | CLEP or register for a DSST exam through DSST Prometric. The DSST exam is $100.
  • For BYU Language Proficiency Exams, you will pay a $85 non-refundable Proctored Testing Services fee to NECC in advance, and you will complete a BYU registration form, pay for the BYU exam, and request your results be sent to NECC. Testing will take place at NECC.
  • For NYU Language Proficiency Exams, you will register, pay and test online through NYU. Upon completion you will request your results be sent to NECC.

The exam cost to College Board | CLEP, DSST Prometric, NYU and BYU are subject to change.

There is no fee for credits issued based on military experience. Visit for additional information.

Is Credit for Prior Learning for you?  Click here!

  • Click Get Started Now
  • Click Let’s Go
  • Select Northern Essex Community College from the college drop down list.
  • Click Let’s Go  
  • Click Confirm College
  • Choose your Program and click Next
  • Answer 8 the CPL Wizard
  • Click Sign Up Now! 
  • Create Account
  • Once the wizard is completed, you will be contacted by the Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) Specialist to discuss what options would be beneficial to you.

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Consortiums

Northern Essex Community College is part of the Massachusetts Community College Prior Learning Assessment Consortium (MACCPLA) and the New England Regional Prior Learning Assessment Consortium (NERPLAC).

  • Credit for Prior Learning Testimonial MACCPLA:  Click here!

Contact Us

Donna Felisberto
Coordinator, Academic Placement & Testing Center

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