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Unfortunately in higher education today, there are many institutions that claim “competency-based” advantages but few that truly offer a comprehensive range of resources students can access to save time and money as they earn their degrees.  Competency-based means that students can get credit on their transcripts for knowledge, skills and abilities developed since leaving school.  This can save time, money and/or create an opportunity for additional valuable courses that meet a student’s goals.


Three ways to get credit for your “life lessons.”

As a returning student, chances are you’ve learned quite a bit from the work and life experiences you have had since you left college, and there is simply no need to learn (and pay for) those skills again! Lipscomb offers four avenues for assessing a student for prior learning of skills and specific knowledge. Each offers the opportunity to add credits to your transcript and get you closer to graduation even before you start to finish your college work. These can be used individually or together to create up to 60 total credit hours toward the 126 hours required.

1. Credit through an “Assessment Center”

Earn up to 30 credits toward your degree through this method.

assessment center iconCORE Competency Assessment Center

Lipscomb is one of the few universities in the nation that offers a full-day, experiential assessment experience that not only pinpoints your competencies but also gives you a personalized program for strengthening and adding to your competency profile. Through this assessment center day, a student can earn up to 30 hours of credit. Learn more about how this program works.

2. Credit for Prior Learning

Earn up to 30 credits toward your degree through this method.

pla icon Credit by exam. If you do not have a transcript, certificate or other record that documents knowledge in a specific area such as math, foreign languages, science or history, you can take an exam to document your proficiency. The number of hours credited is dependent on the number of areas tested.

Credit through portfolio. This is the most common “competency-based” approach and requires the creation of a portfolio of previous work to demonstrate that course-learning objectives have already been achieved.  This is the only competency-based method offered by many, many universities, and it is the one least likely to make a large impact on your program when used without other methodologies.

Credit for training. This would include getting credits that you can support with a transcript, certificate, military experience or other training that can be documented. The number of hours credited is dependent on the documentation offered.

3. Transfer Credit

Earn up to 94 credits through this method.

submit transcripts iconCompleted college coursework at a regionally accredited institution? We can see which courses may earn you transfer credit. You may transfer up 94 hours from a four-year college, 63 hours from a two-year college, and the final 30 hours of your degree must be completed at Lipscomb. See our undergraduate catalog for details. Earn 63-90 hours!

Use this handy online tool to get an idea how many of your credits will transfer in.

For more information

Contact us at (615) 966-1100 or