Where to start with RPL – Recognition of Prior Learning

RPL steps to follow

What is RPL – Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process of assessing and recognizing an individual’s skills, knowledge, and competencies gained through formal, informal and non-formal learning experiences.  It is also known as Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR), Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), or Prior Experiential Learning (PEL).

RPL allows individuals to receive credit for their prior learning, which can be used towards achieving a qualification, certification, or other forms of recognition. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have gained significant work experience, undergone training or education in non-formal settings, or have acquired skills through other means outside of traditional academic pathways. RPL enables individuals to save time and money by avoiding repetition of learning that they have already acquired.

The RPL process involves gathering evidence of prior learning, assessing that evidence against specific learning outcomes or competencies, and making a judgement about the level of credit or recognition that should be awarded.  This process can be conducted through a range of methods such as interviews, assessments, portfolio’s or observations.  The recognition given for prior learning may result in full or partial credit towards a qualification or certification, or the award of a separate credential.

Celma please add the blog: what do credit mean in a qualification and why are they important. – Not sure which this one is

Who assesses for Credits and RPL?

An Examination body or Professional Body will be responsible to provide the RPL assessment and exemptions.  ICB operates as a Quality Assurance Partner to QCTO and Examination Body and as such can provide the RPL review process.

Not sure what an Examination body is? Read here – https://www.icb.org.za/examination-body/ Or what a Professional Body is – have a look here; https://www.icb.org.za/why-join-a-professional-body/

What are the steps to follow to start the RPL process?

The RPL process is easy to and consist of ONLY 7 steps:

RPL steps

Steps to follow when applying for RPL:

  1. Read the guidelinesClick here to download it
  2. Register and update your contact details on the ICB student portal.
  3. Pay the applicable RPL fee (invoice can be requested via the Contact Page).
  4. Complete the online application form  below (after point 12). Remember that the RPL application with proof of payment must be sent via this link;
  5. Receive the outcome
    – Remember: The review takes up to 6 weeks and ICB will then write to you with the final outcome
    – The ICB’s Exemptions Board reviews each application, case by case, to determine if there is sufficient evidence of competency in particular learning area’s.
    – If the criteria is met, the Exemptions Board will grant exemptions for ICB programmes.
    – Feedback will be given by learning area (subject) and the result could be any of the following
    *Full Exemption,
    *Conditional Exemption or
    *Exemption not granted.
    – For Exemptions not granted please find more information and read this Knowledge Base article
  6. Accept the Outcome
    You have six (6) months to make use of the exemptions granted. If you have not accepted and paid for these exemptions within the six months, you will forfeit the outcome and will need to resubmit your application if you want to go the RPL route.
  7. Get your RPL PoE and start.

Some final notes:

  • If you have studied similar courses previously, or have relevant work experience, you can apply for RPL/Exemption. Read more here; https://www.icb.org.za/what-to-do-with-an-incomplete-qualification/
  • Applications must be based on the NQF registered qualifications/part qualifications and need to to be submitted with supporting documentation.
  • Qualification Certificates are only issued once a full qualification is obtained.
  • No Certificates are issued for exempted learning areas/subjects.

What Job titles could open up to you with RPL?

Have a look at this article to see what options are available to you after successfully completing your qualification.

Use your time confetti to better your lifestyle and get a credible qualification and make use of RPL to fast track your qualification


Don’t hesitate to contact the ICB today, to complete your studies OR have your relevant work experience credited to a Full Qualification to secure your dream job and future stability.

Don’t wait. Apply for RPL Today!