Prior learning assessment and recognition

At NorQuest College, we recognize the skills, competencies, and knowledge you have gained through study, work, and life. These experiences can help you earn college credits. 

Benefits of taking an assessment

Through prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR), you can gain college credits towards one of our ministry-approved programs without needing to complete all the coursework.;

This means you can:

  • Reduce the length of your program
  • Reduce the cost of your program

When to request an assessment

Once you have applied and been admitted into your program, you should submit a PLAR request as soon as possible and well before your program starts. 

PLAR assessments can take up to 12 weeks to complete. If you are enrolled in the course for which you are requesting PLAR, you must submit your request no later than the drop deadline of the course

We focus on PLAR requests for the upcoming term. Requests for future terms will be held for processing once the upcoming term’s drop deadline has passed. 

Note: You are not eligible for PLAR credit for a NorQuest College course if you have already attempted or completed the course. 

Steps for requesting PLAR

  1. Be admitted to or waitlisted for your program: Before you can request an assessment, you must be admitted to or waitlisted for a program that is eligible for a credential. We will add a PLAR credit to your student record once you are active in your program.

  2. Research your program’s courses: Review the course descriptions on the course listing page for your program, and compare your study, work, and/or life experiences to the descriptions. You can find your program on the Programs and courses page.

  3. Collect proof of past experiences that relate to specific course(s): Proof can include other post-secondary or school credentials, work or volunteer hours at past organizations you were employed at, awards or official recognition that align with specific course(s) in your program, etc.

  4. Discuss PLAR options with your program chair: Set up a time to meet with your program chair to discuss which course(s) you would like to request an assessment for. Your program chair will provide information on the types of assessments and will also determine your eligibility.

  5. Request your assessment: To request an assessment, email In your email include:

    • The course(s)
    • Your program
    • The name of the program chair you discussed your options with

  6. Pay your fees: The cost for an assessment is 50% of tuition plus a $25 administration fee for each course. PLAR charges are due at the time of the request and are non-refundable. Any outstanding amount is subject to a financial penalty.

    Note: We assess Tuition fees on a per-credit basis. Your program will determine this rate.  

  7. Complete your assessment: Your program chair will assess prior learning and grant or deny credit. Once we’ve processed your assessment, we will email your assessment decision to your MyMail account. You will receive a grade of ‘PL’ on your NorQuest transcript.

IMPORTANT: You must submit your PLAR request before the drop deadline of your course. Failure to do so may affect your full-time status in your program.

Method of assessment

The method for your assessment will vary based on which course(s) you’re requesting PLAR for. The assessment will ensure you meet learning outcomes for the course and may include:

  • Portfolio assessment
  • Examination and/or assignment
  • Skills or lab assessment

Your program chair will provide your specific assessment information.

Residency rule

The residency requirement is the minimum number of credits in a program that must be taken through NorQuest College to receive a credential. You must meet NorQuest College’s residency rule of 50% of the program’s credit load. This is the least number of credits you must complete at NorQuest to graduate.

PLAR for Practical Nurse students who are health care aides

If you are a health care aide and have been accepted to the Practical Nurse program, you may request:

To submit your request, email and include:

  • a copy of your health care aide certificate
  • a copy of your official transcript, showing completion of an approved health care aide program 
  • a letter of employment or portability letter that shows you have worked at least 500 hours as a health care aide
  • proof of registration with the Alberta Health Care Aide Directory (or equivalent), with issue date and expiry date visible (Your directory license must be current and active at the time you are requesting this credit. If the license has expired, you are not eligible).