Earn Credit for What You Know 

The finish line to earning a college degree or certificate may be closer than you think.  

At Tarrant County College, students can turn life experience — military service, licenses earned, previous academic study — into college credit through a time-saving, cost-saving process called Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). 

It worked for Kevin Wilson. 

Sgt. Keith Wilson

Now a sergeant of police at TCC Northwest, he used his experience in the U.S. Navy (1993-1997) to jump-start his academic journey at TCC.  

“Some of my military experience transferred over to fulfill my physical education needs for my degree,” he said. “Using PLA credit helps you reach that goal faster. The quicker you can finish and get into the employment market, the better.”  

Wilson enrolled in classes at TCC Northwest, where he was patrolling the campus as a member of the campus police department. He says TCC’s process for reviewing his prior learning was flawless. “Realizing now that the hard work of years ago helps you in the long run is extremely gratifying when you look at those college transcripts.”  

After earning his associate degree in criminal justice in 2022, Wilson completed his bachelor’s degree at Tarleton State University. He came to find out that his new credentials enhanced his marketability. 

“I did need my degree to be promoted (within TCC’s police department) and also for after my career at TCC,” he explained. “I also wanted to inspire my children that no matter what, hard work does pay off.” 

In addition to military service and training, TCC offers several ways to earn college credit: 

  • Standardized exams 
  • Advanced Placement (AP)  
  • College Level Examination Program (CLEP)  
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) 
  • Credit-by-exam / experience  
  • Professional certifications and licenses  
  • Continuing education to undergraduate courses  

Alum Danna Trevino-Arteaga credits her “amazing” veteran counselor for helping her navigate the PLA process. The four-year Navy veteran encourages any veteran interested in earning a credential to leverage their military experience for college credit. Treviño-Arteaga was able to earn credit that exempted her from taking placement math and reading courses. 

The PLA credit moved her one step closer to earning a college degree.  

“I could see the light at the end,” she explained. “Everyone who has served should attempt to use those classes taken while on active duty. Treviño-Arteaga mentioned that veterans already have a strict learning background and the courses taken for the MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) could help give veterans an advantage.   

At one point, she took classes at TCC and Tarleton State to complete a BS in Human Resources. Trevino-Arteaga ultimate goal is to become a HR director or senior leader responsible for handling issues from staffing to removal of payroll along with benefits.  

For more information on earning college credit for your experience, visit TCC’s  PLA page