Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

Prior Learning is learning gained through life or work outside of structured higher educational courses. Many people learn through job training or military service, through courses taught outside of the college setting, or through other educational experiences. Prospective students who have work experience in the field of aviation, or other learning experiences outside of a traditional college curriculum, may be eligible to receive PLA credit.

The PLA process involves students identifying relevant learning experiences, demonstrating that learning through the appropriate documentation, and a review of those documents by MGA faculty and staff.

PLA will reduce the repetition of material for students with prior experience, learning, or degrees. PLA will also reduce the time and money required to earn an undergraduate or graduate degree. Certain PLA components require fees such as testing (e.g., departmental examinations and standardized tests) and portfolio assessment. However, in general, PLA should take less time and money to complete than taking regular classes.

FAA Certifications

The School of Aviation offers PLA credit for individuals with certain FAA certifications. Depending on your ratings, you may be able to receive up to 65 credit hours towards an aviation degree. A student seeking the BS-ASM Flight track may only use PLA credit for a maximum of two of the six required ratings. Additional ratings may be used in the BS-ASM Management track. Click below to learn more.

Other PLA Options

  • Military Experience: MGA follows the American Council on Education Military Guide's credit recommendations on formal courses and occupations offered by all branches of the military
  • National Exams: MGA awards credit for certain subject areas for learning demonstrated by successfully passing national for-credit examination programs, such as:
  • Transfer Credit: MGA will accept most prior academic credit from regionally-accredited colleges and universities.
  • Portfolio Assessment - Portfolio Assessment is the process by which prior experiences not covered by the above are reviewed and assessed by the School of Aviation. 
    • This process is not required for students receiving credit for an FAA certification; that credit can be awarded without a portfolio review.  Students who believe they might be eligible for PLA should contact the School of Aviation to determine if their experience will apply.  The process includes:
      1. Complete the PLA Portfolio application and review the PLA Porfolio and Academic Honesty Policy.
      2. Once your application for admission is approved, go to the Testing Center website to sign up and pay for the PLA. A nominal fee of $175.00 is required.
      3. Complete the Academic Honesty Statement and PLA Portfolio and submit to the School of Aviation for review.
      4. After a faculty panel reviews and approves the portfolio packet, a grade of will be awarded.  PLA can be repeated up to 5 times for 15 hours of credit.

Residency Requirements

  • Associate Degree: Earn at least 25% of distinct hours (minimum 15 credit hours) at MGA. Credit earned via examination cannot be applied to or included in the residence requirement. If the associate’s degree requires more than 60 credit hours, then additional hours will be required in residence at the University to satisfy the 25% minimum.

  • Bachelor’s Degree: Earn at least 25% of distinct credit hours (minimum 30 credit hours) at MGA.  Credit earned via examination cannot be applied to or included in the residence requirement If the bachelor’s degree requires more than 120 credit hours, then additional hours will be required in residence at the University to satisfy the 25% minimum.


If you have questions about receiving PLA credit for your work or other experiences, please contact Jannie Lamb at 478.448.4709 or .