Your Job Might Count for Credit at CNM
Firefighters are eligible to receive college credits for their completed trainings and on-the-job experience through CNM's Credit for Prior Learning program.

Your Job Might Count for Credit at CNM

If you’ve ever thought about coming back to school, previous work experience may earn you credit towards your degree requirements
May 31, 2018

The real world is often the best teacher. We get that at CNM, which is why the college has a Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) program where we award students class credit based on work experience or certificates previously completed.

Say you’re a licensed General Building Contractor but want to come back to school for your associate degree in Construction Management Technology—something that can help with career advancement. You can apply to the CPL program and likely knock out some of the requirements through real-world learning that has already taken place.

“We want to make sure people know that CNM respects the kinds of learning that take place outside of an educational setting,” says Tamra Mason, the Dean of CNM’s School of Health, Wellness & Public Safety.

Expanding the Credit for Prior Learning program is one of CNM's Strategic Direction goals and it’s already ahead of schedule. Gail Davis, the CPL Coordinator, says the program will only continue to grow.

“We want to always try and expand the options and opportunities,” she says.

One recent expansion of note is an agreement the college made with local fire and police departments where firefighters and officers receive credit for completed trainings and for their on-the-job experience. Those credits can then be applied toward a Fire Science or Criminal Justice degree.

It’s something Jeff Wenzel with Rio Rancho Fire and Rescue eagerly took advantage of. He wants to be a chief, so he took his on-the-job and training credits and used them toward a Fire Science associate degree. He then graduated with his bachelor’s in Fire Administration from Eastern New Mexico University, and is about to start his online master’s in Fire/Rescue Executive Leadership at Waldorf.

"When I saw how many credits were taken care of with my work experience, a degree became a no-brainer,” he says.  

Veterans or those currently enlisted in the military are often eligible for the CPL program, and down the road the program will also allow prospective students to present a portfolio of whatever work they’ve done. A faculty member will then review the work, and if it meets the learning outcomes of a college level course, credit will be awarded.

“We understand that there are many different ways people get an education and we want to be as helpful as possible,” Mason says.