Prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) is a type of course delivery that includes assessment without instruction. It is way to earn credit for Sask Polytech courses from informal learning, training, or education that is not eligible for transfer credit.

PLAR involves proving that you know the content of a course, no matter how you learned it, which may include:

  • work experience
  • mentorship
  • on-the-job training
  • certified training
  • seminars and workshops
  • courses from unrecognized schools
  • independent study
  • online podcasts, MOOCs, etc.
  • volunteer training and experience
  • hobby or recreational activities

Just like admission requirements, PLAR eligibility varies by program.

  • Some programs require admission to the program before applying for PLAR. Proof of English language proficiency may be required for some applicants.
  • Some programs require a minimum period of recent, related work experience.
  • Some programs do not require admission and have no additional eligibility criteria.
  • Some courses cannot be challenged until pre-requisite course(s) are completed.

Check specific PLAR eligibility criteria for each program by…

The actual assessment process will not begin until you have submitted a PLAR application form (pdf) signed by the appropriate program head.

  • International students should consult with to find out if PLAR credit will affect their study permit  or eligibility for an immigration program.
  • Newcomers to Saskatchewan or Canada should check if the occupation they want to pursue is a regulated occupation in Saskatchewan. If so, a regulatory body determines eligibility to work in that occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, clarify requirements with the appropriate regulatory body.
  • People with prior training or experience in a designated trade (e.g., cook, electrician, glazier, hair stylist, etc.) should first seek assessment by the Saskatchewan Apprenticeship and Trade Certification Commission. Your skills may be beyond the level of a Sask Polytech program.
  • Students with sponsorship or student loans should check whether PLAR affects funding eligibility or continuation.
  • People with prior post-secondary education should first check eligibility for transfer or equivalency credit. Those are less cost and work for you.
Please see the Cost section on this page.
PLAR assessments are conducted by a qualified assessor who is a content expert for the course(s). For multiple courses, you may work with different assessors.
PLAR assessment methods vary to fit the skill or knowledge being assessed. A program's PLAR Candidate Guides may describe methods for each course or ask the program head. The following are examples of methods that may be used:
  • skill demonstrations
  • written exams
  • assignments or projects
  • simulations
  • work samples
  • evidence file or portfolio
  • structured interviews
  • oral examination
PLAR and transfer credit are both ways to receive credit for prior learning that matches one or more Sask Polytechnic courses.
  • Transfer credit applies only to formal education from recognized or authorized post-secondary education institutions and to certified training from approved sources. PLAR applies to learning you can prove with your program's assessment process, provided you meet eligibility requirements.
  • Transfer credit must be verified with a transcript or other official documentation. For PLAR, verification of employment and/or training may be required.
  • Transfer credit is free. There is a fee for each PLAR challenge.
  • Compared to PLAR, transfer credit is typically less work, time and cost for you.
  • To apply for transfer credit, you must already be registered for a course or admitted to a program at Sask Polytech. For some programs, you can apply for PLAR even if you are not already a Sask Polytech student.
  • PLAR is an alternative to transfer credit for prior post-secondary courses if:
    • your courses do not closely (80 per cent) match Sask Polytech courses,
    • your previous post-secondary institution is not recognized or authorized, your courses are older than five years and your learning is no longer current,
    • your official transcript (or acceptable alternative) is not available, or
    • your transfer credit request is denied and your program head approves PLAR for the same courses.
  • Save time.
    • If you already know what is taught in a course, you can go straight to assessment and bypass course instruction.
  • Lighten your load.
    • For incoming or current students, lighten your course load by successfully challenging one or more courses before they start.
  • Save money.
    • PLAR assessments typically cost less than tuition for the same course(s).
  • Improve employability.
    • Recognized credit for particular courses may improve your employment prospects, even if you have not yet completed a program.

Jeopardizing funding or other eligibility criteria:

  • PLAR or other credit for prior learning may reduce your course load or attendance. You are responsible for maintaining the course load or attendance required to be eligible for student loans, sponsorship funding, housing, child care, etc. Contact your sponsor or other support agencies to confirm requirements.
  • International students should check online information or email to find out how a reduced course load may affect your study permit or immigration eligibility.

Being unsuccessful in a PLAR assessment:

  • If unsuccessful, there is no refund and you cannot repeat the PLAR assessment. You can, however, register to complete the course with instruction if not already registered.
  • Unsuccessful PLAR does not appear on your Sask Polytech transcript. 
Whether a course is completed with instruction or through PLAR, your skills and knowledge will be assessed at the same level of academic standards.
  • Your transcript will show "CR" (credit granted) rather than a percentage grade for courses successfully completed through PLAR.
  • A graduation credential (certificate, diploma, or degree) does not identify how courses are completed.
  • Use self-rating checklists in a program's PLAR Candidate Guide to assess your competence level for learning outcomes of each course.
  • Consult with your program head before you register for PLAR. Be thorough and honest about your experience and expertise. Pay close attention to the program head's recommendations.
  • Know what to expect for assessment. Request printed instructions or directions. Ask questions as needed to clarify.
  • Review recommended resources to refresh your knowledge before assessment.
  • If you have a verified disability, request accessibility accommodations during assessments such as a quiet room, extra time, assistive technology, etc.
  • Only successful PLAR challenges appear on your transcript. If unsuccessful, you will be advised by letter from Enrolment Services.
  • There is no fee refund, and you cannot re-register to PLAR the same course.
  • You can ask the PLAR Assessor to explain why you were unsuccessful.
  • You can appeal your assessment by following our Grade Appeal process (pdf).
  • If not already registered in the course with instruction, you can register for next time it is offered.
If approved by the program head, you can challenge as many courses as are available for PLAR in that program.
  • Most programs offer one or more courses available for PLAR.
  • Some programs offer block PLAR assessment for a group of courses.
  • A few programs offer PLAR for the entire program by single courses or blocks.
  • To PLAR a course block, practicum or clinical placement, most programs require that you first apply to the program and meet admission requirements.
  • You may be able to combine prior learning credit, distance learning, and/or in-class instruction. Consult with the program head to consider all options.
Most post-secondary institutions in Canada offer PLAR credit for their own courses and accept it for transfer credit from other institutions. If you plan to go on to a program at another institution, check directly with that institution.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic provides reasonable accommodations for verified disability limitations. Examples include extra time for tests, quiet test room, assistive technology, exam reader or scribe, etc.
  • Advise the program head at first contact that you have a disability. You are not required to disclose the nature of your disability but may do so if you wish. Ask for a referral to Accessibility Services.
  • Be prepared to provide documentation of your disability to an Accessibility Services counsellor to negotiate accommodations for fair assessment.

Time to complete

  • Depending on the assessment method, it may take from a few days to several weeks to complete assessment. Consult with the program head and allow enough time to complete PLAR assessment before the same course(s) are scheduled to start.


  • When you register for PLAR, ask Enrolment Services about the registration expiry date. That will be your deadline to complete the PLAR assessment. The expiry date is usually the end of the current semester or academic year, but there may be exceptions.
See the process section on this page for detailed information. 

Some programs offer PLAR assessments year round. Many programs do not offer them during July and August when most instructors are not on campus. Other programs offer PLAR applications and/or assessment during limited times in the year.

Look for details in a program’s PLAR Candidate guide under “Get Credit for What you Know” on the program’s web page. If there is no Candidate guide for a program, contact

Yes, a T2202 form used to claim tuition (including PLAR fees) and education credits on a Canadian income tax return is issued each year by Enrolment Services. Look for it under “Tax Forms” in the “My Finances” page when you log into mySaskPolytech for students.

For part-time or full-time Canada/Saskatchewan student loans, courses completed with PLAR are included in calculations of course load and tuition costs.

Other funding sources (e.g., banks or credit unions loans, First Nations, Worker’s Compensation Board, etc.) may not recognize PLAR fees as tuition or PLAR registration as attendance. Consult directly with your funding agency and get written approval before registering for PLAR.

Assessment is usually done on campus, which is convenient if you are attending other courses on campus. When consulting for PLAR approval, indicate how far you would need to travel for assessment. If possible, the assessment plan may be designed to keep travel to a minimum.

  • First review a program's PLAR Candidate Guide, if available, to find contact info directions for that program. To find a Candidate guide, scroll down a program's web page to the Credit for Prior Learning heading.
  • For programs that do not have a Candidate Guide, phone our Contact Centre (1-866-467-4278). Ask for the head of that program at your nearest campus. Clarify PLAR options and directions with the program head.