Life 101: Translating Work Experience to School Credits

The debate between book smarts and street smarts is not limited to IT — professionals in many fields say getting out in the real world and honing your craft pays as many, if not more, dividends than burying your nose in books. What is unique to IT, though, is how that real-world experience can translate to educational credit, whether you seek to get another degree or go back to school after years of working.

One institution that offers credit for real-world experience is Texas State Technical College Waco, the flagship campus for the Texas State Technical College System.

Cindy Kimbrell, assistant department chair of computer networking and systems administration, said her department can award nine to 12 “life credits” to students who provide valid proof of their work experience. Kimbrell said she or the department chair will call former employers for verification.

Once the student’s work experience has been established, the department determines where the experience best applies and awards credits accordingly.

“Usually, we try to look at what they did on their job, like if they were a database administrator or a network administrator, for instance — or even if they just did hardware or cabling, we can take that because we have hardware classes. If they just did technical support over the phone, we have an introduction to networking class that we can give them credit for,” Kimbrell said. “We try to fit whatever they did with our classes, so that they won’t miss…


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