PLAR credit

Prior Learning and Recognition (PLAR) Credit

PLAR credit assesses what you know, no matter how you learned it. Knowledge and skills may be acquired through work, non-formal training, independent study, volunteer activities and hobbies.

Example:
  • If you learned computer skills at work, you may be eligible to challenge PLAR credit for a Sask Polytech computer skills courses.

Eligibility

  • Cannot get transfer or equivalency credit for the same course(s).
  • Have previous learning that matches the learning outcomes for one or more courses available for PLAR credit in your program.
  • Are willing and able to prove what you know.
  • Meet your program's PLAR eligibility criteria.
  • Consult with the program head and are approved for PLAR.
  • Are prepared to pay the PLAR fee that is 75% of the tuition you would have paid.

Learn more about important factors to be cautious of before considering PLAR.

Cost

The fee for each PLAR course assessment is 75% of the course tuition fee that the student would have otherwise paid. Since tuition fees are typically higher for international students and for part-time courses, PLAR fees are proportionally higher as well. Fees may be reduced or waived in exceptional circumstances when approved by the academic chair for the program.

Deadline

Check the Candidate Guide on your program web page for deadlines.

Process

If you have not already done so, check with Registration/Enrolment Services to ensure that PLAR registration will not reduce your course load below the minimum required for a study permit, sponsorship, student loan, etc. 

PLAR credit is not calculated in your GPA. If you need to raise your GPA, consult with your program head. See the important factors to be cautious of for more information.

  1. Review these PLAR steps.

  2. Review the PLAR frequently asked questions. 
  1. Find your program in our A-Z Listing.

  2. Scroll down to the Get Credit for What you Know heading. Click on the + sign to expand this section.

    plar

  3. Click on the Candidate Guide link, if there is one. Read the guide thoroughly before contacting a program head or a program's PLAR advisor.
    • If there is no Candidate Guide link, phone our Contact Centre at 1-866-467-4278. Ask for the program head at your nearest campus. Skip to step six.
  1. If the Candidate Guide for your program says “Why consider a PLAR assessment” on page four or five, follow the directions here instead of the 10-step process in the Guide. However, still look for other important details in the Guide.

  2. Review eligibility criteria in the Guide to see if you qualify for PLAR.

  3. Complete self-rating checklists in the Guide to estimate how closely your skills and knowledge match learning outcomes for each course.

  4. Review course assessment methods for each course. Consider the work involved compared to taking the course with instruction
  1. Apply for admission to the program, if required for PLAR eligibility in that program.

  2. Print or save the PLAR application form (pdf) and completed self-rating checklists (if available). You will need to submit these to the program head.

  3. Arrange to consult with the program head. If contact information is not in a Candidate Guide, phone our Contact Centre at 1-866-467-4278 and ask for the program head at your program's campus.
    • The program head will clarify eligibility, fees, deadlines and assessment method. They will also provide an assessment plan with details and deadlines for completing your assessment.

d. If the program head approves your request, they will sign your PLAR application.

  1. Submit the completed PLAR application form (pdf) to Registration/Enrolment Services at your program's campus in person or by email, fax or mail.

  2. PLAR fees go on your student account. If your account becomes past due, you will be unable to access transcripts, grades, or graduation credentials.

Complete the assessment before the end date for your PLAR registration or the deadline outlined in your assessment plan.

  • Assessment may involve one or more assessment methods.
  • Ask the program head or PLAR assessor questions as needed to clarify.

The assessor evaluates all evidence and submits the results to Registration Services.

If you are successful, credit for the course(s) appear on your transcript as CR. Log in to mySaskPolytech to view your unofficial transcript or request an official transcript.

If are unsuccessful, you will receive mailed or emailed notice with further options:

  • Consult with the program head for advice,
  • Appeal the evaluation and grade, and/or
  • Take the course by distance education or in class. You cannot re-register for PLAR.

It is your responsibility to withdraw from courses for which you have prior learning credit. 

Full-time program students

Students in full-time programs are typically registered in all courses required for graduation before the program begins. Registration/Enrolment Services completes a Student Registration form and instructors review the form with students during the first few days of a program. 

  • Check your list of registered courses on page two of the Student Registration form. Identify any courses for which you believe you have transfer, equivalency, or PLAR credit. 
  • Print a Program Adjustment Form (pdf) and list registered courses for which you believe you have prior learning credit.
  • Take this form to your program head for signed approval to withdraw from one or more courses.
  • Take the approved form to Registration/Enrolment Services. Ask them to confirm that you have transfer, equivalency or PLAR credit for each course before they process a withdrawal.
  • Delayed course withdrawal may reduce any available tuition refund.

Part-time program students

Students in part-time programs self-register in one or more courses at a time. It is your responsibility to avoid registering for course(s) for which you have prior learning credit.

Questions?

Thinking of attending Sask Polytech? Contact askaquestion@saskpolytech.ca

Already a student at Sask Polytech? Contact your program head

Want to explore other ways to get your international education and experience recognized in Canada? Contact a career counsellor.

 

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…

  • reviewing the PLAR Candidate Guide on the program web page, or
  • if there is no Candidate Guide on the program’s web page, call the Sask Polytechnic Contact Centre and ask to be transferred to the program head for that program.

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 international@saskpolytech.ca 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, childcare, etc. Contact your sponsor or other support agencies to confirm requirements.
  • International students should check online information or email international@saskpolytech.ca 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 Registration 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.

Deadline

  • When you register for PLAR, ask Registration 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 the program head through the Contact Centre at 1-866-467-4278.

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 Registration 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.