Workplace training is an excellent (and sometimes free) way to earn college credit. Most often, workplace training is ACE-evaluated, making it worth college credit at a small handful of colleges or through a partnership.
The American Council on Education’s (ACE) primary service is evaluating workplace and military training. I encourage you to browse the National Guide since it contains over 3,500 credit-worthy licenses, classes, seminars, and training options. Even if your teen can’t utilize these options, an older sibling or parent might find something they’ve already done!
There are 2 ways to get college credit through workplace training:
(1) Workplace Certifications. A license, class, certification or seminar may be worth college credit. You can look up any certification you’ve already taken (or plan to take) and see if its already been evaluated for college credit. If it has, you simply have to claim your credit. Claiming ACE-evaluated credit is explained below.
(2) Employer Reimbursement. Employers often offer tuition incentives or reimbursement programs that allow you to pursue college credit with a college directly and your employer will pay for some or all of the costs. Parents may not realize this, but many programs are available to teens working part time! It is not uncommon for employers to ask for a commitment in return for this benefit. These kinds of programs are abundant but will vary greatly by employer.
Workplace Certifications worth College Credit (small sample)
- CompTIA certification, 3–9 credits
- Dale Carnegie Training, 2+ credits
- Dollar General Store Manager Training, 9 credits
- Electrical training ALLIANCE, 36+ credits
- Federal Aviation Administration, varies
- KFC Restaurant, 1–5 credits
- McDonalds Restaurants, credit varies
- National Restaurant Association ServSafe Certification, 1 credit
- Starbucks Barista Training, up to 6 credits
- Walt Disney Company courses, 3+ each
- Walmart College Track Training, credit varies
Employer Reimbursement Programs (small sample)
Through a partnership with Excelsior College, Pizza Hut offers the Life Unboxed EDU program. Excelsior College offers tuition discounts of 45% on undergraduate studies and 15% on graduate studies for Pizza Hut employees. Pizza Hut’s tuition assistance offer also allows you to earn up to 63 credits for on-the-job training.
This tuition-reimbursement offer is for available to both full-timers and part-timers after one year on the job. Employees get tuition, books, and fees reimbursed by Chipotle — up to the IRS limit of $5,250 per calendar year. Chipotle also has a partnership through Guild Education that lets you earn up to 38 and 44 credit hours through on-the-job training.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
For hourly team members and shift supervisors with at least six months of service, KFC offers the REACH Educational Grant Program. The program provides college tuition assistance via grants of $2,000 and $2,500. Grant recipients can attend any accredited two-year or four-year college or a trade/vocational school. Managers, meanwhile, can receive grants of up to $3,000 through KFC’s REACH initiative. Winners are selected by a competitive application process and may reapply each year.
NEW -this program JUST EXPANDED!! College for $1 per day. Walmart will cover the full cost – beyond financial aid – of tuition, fees, and books. Walmart has partnered with several universities where its employees can earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree online while working at Walmart:
- The University of Florida in Gainesville (Florida) *ranked #17 in the nation
- Brandman University (California)
- Bellevue University (Nebraska)
- Southern New Hampshire University (New Hampshire)
Walmart associates are eligible to apply once they have worked at Walmart for at least 90 days. Walmart expects that all Walmart associates who apply will be accepted. Choice of Degree: Management, Supply Chain, Computer Science, Cybersecurity, IT There is no requirement to stay with the company after graduation,
and they specifically allow teens to work part-time while
attending college. Since Walmart managers are required to hold
bachelor’s degrees, this program provides a direct and clear path from school to work. Learn More.
The Starbucks College Achievement Plan is a partnership with Arizona
State University that covers 100% of a bachelor’s degree (online) in over 200 different majors. You can get this benefit immediately and only have to work part time to qualify. Starbucks College Achievement Plan
Employees with McDonald’s for 90 days working 15 hours per week
are eligible. Eligible employees receive up to $2,500/year with no
lifetime credit cap.
Other “Teen-Friendly” Employers with Educational Benefits
- Harris Teeter Grocery
- Hilton Hotels
- Home Depot
- Lane Bryant
- Marriott Corp.
- Publix Grocery
- Verizon Wireless