Credit for Prior Learning: Bette Feldeisen Charts A New Career Path

Due to the economic downturn that started in 2008, thousands of adults pursued further education to help them find new jobs. Today, nearly 40% of all U.S. undergraduates are over the age of 25 (NCES, 2012). And a majority of students juggle many commitments including families and jobs, as they pursue their education (Complete College America, 2011). Because of these commitments and other factors adult learners are spending longer than ever in pursuit of attaining their degrees, more than three years for an associates degree and six years at four-year colleges. A majority never complete their degrees (NCES, 2011). However, a practice known as credit for prior learning (CPL) is helping more adults graduate and in a shorter period of time.

CPL is a practice more and more higher education institutions are using to give students academic credit for demonstrated competency and mastery of knowledge and skills earned through experiential learning—such as independent study, noncredit courses, work experience, licensure or certification, or a credit by examination program. In other words, students are able to earn credit toward graduation from activities that are outside the traditional academic environment. This credit is awarded to students during the admission process and can shorten the time to graduation by months or even years.

To examine CPL, we have created a four-part podcast series. In this third podcast, we talk with Bette Feldeisen, who graduated in 2012 from Rowen College at Gloucester County in New Jersey with an Associate’s degree in Applied Science and Technical Studies. She benefitted from receiving college credits for her prior work experience as a plumber. Bette shares why she decided to pursue further education, how she learned about receiving credits for prior learning and work experience, how she was able to get a job as a supervisor, and her plans to pursue even more education. She has great advice for anyone considering going back to college.

Visit our website for more information on CPL and read Bette’s full story.





Complete College America. (2011). Time is the Enemy. National Report. Retrieved from

National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). The Condition of Education 2011 in Brief. (NCES 2011-034). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from

National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). Digest of Education Statistics, 2011. (NCES 2012-001). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from