Certifications Earned College Credits

This post was originally on Microsoft’s Born to Learn on July 16, 2014

You may have seen these advertisements: “Current IT Certifications could waive up to 25% of the credits toward your college degree.” I had ignored the ads in the past but thought it might be time to check them out.  If nothing else, I could see if the claim in the ad was real. If it turns out to be true, I could get accepted and finally complete my college degree. What do I have to lose, right?

25 years ago…

My first attempt at college was 25 years ago but at the time, it wasn’t my top priority. Instead, I earned my Microsoft Certifications and started an excellent career, even without a college degree. However, I had always promised myself that when the time was right, I would go back.

Fast forward to 2014. After seeing the aforementioned advertisement, I collected my transcripts from Indiana State, Microsoft, and CompTIA to submit my application to return to college. A day or two later, I received a call from an admissions counselor who walked me through the entire enrollment process. In order for me to apply to the college, my first task was to take a readiness assessment. While the exam part was fairly easy, I wasn’t expecting to have to write an essay so I just wrote something about baseball and figured that was that.

John Dearduff

If not now, when?

Well, about a week later, I received three emails from the college I applied to. The first email let me know that I had successfully passed my assessment test and essay. The second email was a transcript evaluation stating how many credits my certification exams would cover. The last email was an announcement of my acceptance into the university!

At first, I was excited about returning to college but then it occurred to me: I am way too busy with my job to go back to college. How would I ever make this work? But then I thought to myself, “If I don’t do it now, then when would I ever finish earning my college degree?” So on April 1, 2014, I officially went back to school.

Technical Certifications = Credits towards my college degree

Now, I know you’re curious about my transcript evaluation, but before I get into it, keep in mind only current certifications earned in the last five years counted towards college credit. With that out of the way, here’s how my certifications translated to college credits.

Of the 121 credits required for me to graduate, my Microsoft Certifications earned me 25, my CompTIA certifications earned me 18, and my college credits from Indiana State carried over for another 11. This left me with only needing 67 more credits to graduate. As of July 1, 2014, I’m happy to say I’ve completed five courses for an additional 12 credits, which leaves me with just 55 more credits to go.

So can technical certifications help you earn a college degree? Individual situations vary, but in my case, they’ve certainly helped, and now I am that much closer to fulfilling the promise I made 25 years ago. I’ll be sharing more about my progress here on Born to Learn.

How about you? Are you also considering going back to college?

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