Credit vs. Non-Credit: What’s the Difference?

At Front Range Community College and many other colleges, some courses are for credit and some are non-credit. What’s the difference?

Credit Classes

When you see “credit,” think academics. At FRCC and elsewhere, most credit courses are applicable to a degree or certificate.

Most, but not all. Classes below the 100 level may say they have one or more credits, but these are measures of the number of contact hours they represent – for example, 1 credit equals 15 hours of class time. Some of these below-100-level classes are companion classes taken with a class that offers credits that are applicable to a degree.

At FRCC, you will find these classes in Advancement of Academic Achievement (AAA), College Composition and Reading (CCR), English as a Second Language (ESL), and Mathematics (MAT). The CCR and MAT classes, in particular, have a “co-requisite.” For example, MAT 093 Algebra Lab has MAT 121 College Algebra as a co-requisite.

You receive a grade after completing a credit course. The course appears on a college transcript.

A Pathways advisor can help you decide whether you should be taking credit or non-credit courses.

Non-Credit Classes

Let’s break this down into two categories – continuing education and training.

Continuing Education

A non-credit continuing education class is usually taken for personal or professional interest or professional development where there is no need for academic credit. For example, you are interested in learning more about genealogy, digital photography, or basic conversation in a foreign language, or you want to learn to ride a motorcycle safely and skillfully.

Non-credit classes do not become part of an academic transcript. Continuing Education at the Larimer Campus can provide, however, evidence of completion of a non-credit course, usually in the form of a certificate signed by the instructor. This can be useful for someone needing proof for Continuing Education Units that may be applicable to their professional standing. Many continuing education classes are offered through several online options, particularly in the professional development arena.

Training

The other part of “non-credit” is training. Think skills. At FRCC, think Corporate and Workforce Solutions, the Small Business Development Center, or the non-credit option for Precision Machining.

Corporate and Workforce Solutions partners with industry leaders and subject-matter experts to create industry-specific trainings that contribute to a highly skilled workforce.

FRCC houses and sponsors Small Business Development Centers at the Westminster and Larimer campuses. Each has satellite offices in area cities. The centers help new and existing businesses grow and prosper through training, consulting, and business resources.

Precision Machining is a good example of the differences between credit and non-credit because it offers both options.

  • Credit: Comprehensive, in-depth training. Non-credit: Short modules for the basics.
  • Credit: 15-week semesters, four days a week. Non-credit: Six- to 13-week modules two nights a week.
  • Credit: Earn college certificates. Non-credit: Earn certificate of completion.
  • Credit: Earn college credits that may be applicable to certificates or degrees. Non-credit: No transcript.

Either way, know that you are enrolled in a National Institute of Metalworking Skills-accredited program that meets rigorous national standards.

If you still are undecided about whether to choose credit or non-credit courses, you will find contact information on the links provided above.

Related Posts

Avatar for John Feeley

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College.