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Credit vs Noncredit

CSI offers courses that earn credit as well as courses that don’t earn credit. Courses that earn credit can be used to earn a degree or certificate.  Courses that don’t earn credit are found in programs that offer opportunities for job training, professional development, and personal enrichment.


You should take credit courses if you plan to earn a credit certificate or degree at CSI or another college.  Each credit course is worth one or more credits based on the time you are expected to spend in that class. You earn the credits by successfully completing the course. Degrees and certificates require a different number of credits. You can look up how many credits you need to earn your degree in CSI's Catalog

Examples of Credit Students

  • You're working toward an associate degree in nursing. You plan to get a job in a doctor's office after graduation.
  • You're working toward an associate degree in English. You plan to transfer to a four-year college after graduation to earn your bachelor's degree.
  • You're attending a four-year college, but are home for the summer. You decide to take a course that will transfer to your home school and apply to your four-year degree.


You might take noncredit courses to learn job skills or just for fun. All community members may take noncredit courses through Community Education or Workforce Training.

Noncredit courses cannot be used toward a credit degree. However, some noncredit courses can count towards continuing education units, industry certifications or continuing education certificates.

Examples of Noncredit Students

  • You are looking to hone your current skills (e.g., Advanced Excel) or acquire new skills (e.g., Welding) to increase your value to the local workforce.
  • You are looking to receive the required 16 CEU credits on code update as an electrician to keep your licensure current.
  • You’re taking a Creative Writing course because you want to improve your writing skills, maybe get published, and learn from some of the best writers in the state but you don’t want the pressure of taking it for a grade or at the cost and length of a for-credit class.

Want help deciding?

You can browse through your different options at CSI to see which works best for you. We offer courses in three categories: Credit for Degrees and Certificates, Noncredit Job Training and Professional Development, and Noncredit Personal Enrichment.

If you still have questions about which option is the best for you, please contact the Office of Admissions. We're happy to help!