DANTES Credit-by-Examination

SAT Test

College credit examinations are widely accepted by colleges and universities. By passing these examinations, you may earn one-third or more of the credits required for a college degree. These examinations are available in more than 150 subject areas and are similar to end-of-course tests offered by colleges and universities. The American Council on Education (ACE) recommends college credit for the following credit-by-examination programs.

In most cases your examination results are forwarded to the appropriate military educational transcript system (i.e., SMART, CCAF, AARTS, Coast Guard Institute). This will simplify the transcript request process when you begin the college enrollment process.

DANTES New Retest Policy: The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) announced they will only provide funding for initial testing for College Level Entrance Examination Program (CLEP) exam, DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) and Excelsior College Examinations (ECE) exams taken after May 20, 2010. If a retest is required for exams taken after this date, it will be at the expense of the servicemember. Retests will continue to be funded through DANTES for servicemembers who took a test prior to May 20 and take the retest before Dec. 11, 2010.

: Before taking any of these tests, check with the college or university you plan to attend, or with your education counselor, to ensure the credits meet your degree requirements.


  • Saves You Money - An average college course can cost you over $100 per credit. Through DANTES, Credit-by-Exam tests are free. (Note: Civilian students pay more than $40 per exam).  
  • Saves You Time - The average college course takes from 3 to 6 hours a week spread out overthree or more months. Depending on your depth of knowledge, you could spend less than a month preparing for each test.  
  • Helps You Skip Ahead - Why spend time and money on boring freshman level courses when you can jump up to the more interesting advanced courses.  
  • Lets You Use Study Groups - Find a group of people at your unit with like goals and study together on lunch breaks. This is commonly referred to as "Brown Bag Universities."  
  • Offers You Flexibility - You can set your own deadlines and choose your own study materials: videos, college textbooks, or study guides.  
  • Doesn't Require College Enrollment - Unlike taking college courses, you don't have to be enrolled in college to take these exams.

Three Types of Exams

There are three types of Credit-by Exams - CLEP, DSST, and ECE. The following will explain these tests and how you can use them to accelerate your path to a college degree.

CLEP (College Level Examination Program)

Effective 31 December 2011, all CLEP paper-based testing for CONUS will be terminated and effective 30 September 2012, all CLEP paper-based testing for OCONUS will be terminated.

Note: There are 14 test titles available as CLEP paper-based exams at DANTES Test Sites. Testing is free for eligible military personnel and for some civilians. The unfunded (examinee pays) civilian test fee is $185.

The 2012 deadlines for OCONUS (oversea) CLEP Paper-based Testing are as follows:

July 1

FINAL date for stocking and non-stocking DANTES-sponsored test sites in OCONUS to order CLEP paper-based exams and optional essays.

September 30

FINAL date for DANTES test sites in OCONUS to administer CLEP paper-based exams.

October 5

FINAL deadline for postmarked administered exams to be returned for scoring and for unused exams to be returned.

November 15

FINAL date for the testing agency to score completed exams.

For information, contact your Education Officer, Base Education Center, or Navy College Office.

CLEP Computer-Based Testing (eCBT)

All CLEP General and Subject examinations (see all 35 titles) are available as computer-based tests at either On-Campus or On-Base national test centers. Visit www.collegeboard.com/clep for a list of national test center locations.

Tip: Be absolutely sure you are ready before you take the exam because you have to wait 180 days to retest on a CLEP examination with the same test title.

If you are considering taking an eCBT at an On-Campus national test center (participating colleges and universities) you should be aware that the following applies:

  • You must pay the $15 to $25 registration fee charged by the college to schedule a time for testing. DANTES does not reimburse this fee.
  • DANTES pays the $50 test fee for eligible military and civilian examinees. Examinees must present a valid military or federal or state-issued ID card at the time of testing.

However if you are planning on taking an eCBT at an On-Base national test center (participating colleges and universities) you should know that you will not be required to pay the $15 - $25 registration fee. DANTES pays for the On Base administration and test fees for military and eligible civilian examinees.

A growing number of military installations are contracting with national test centers to provide CLEP eCBT testing through their on-base education centers. Currently this option is available at more than one hundred installations worldwide. Testing is free to eligible military and for a select group of civilian personnel. DANTES funds both the test fee and through our contract with the College Board pays for the administration of the test by the national test center. Check with your education center to see if this option is available.

For information, contact your Education Officer, Base Education Center, or Navy College Office.

Click here for a complete list of eCBT and Paper Based CLEP exams.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests

DSST Exams are an extensive series of examinations in college subjects that are comparable to the final or end-of-course examinations in undergraduate courses. ACE recommends three college credits for each examination. DSSTs caver courses like Business Law, Ethics in America, and Physical Geography.

Click here to view the entire list of DSSTs.

ECE (Excelsior College Exams)

Most ECE tests are objective multiple-choice questions. Some are entirely essay. The majority of tests cover work typical of undergraduate-level courses. All the tests examine not only facts and terminology, but also the application of essential concepts and skills. ACE recommends between 3 and 8 semester hours of credit depending on the level of knowledge being measured. ECEs cover topics like History of Nazi Germany, Human Resource Management and Management in Nursing.

Click here to view the entire list of ECEs offered through DANTES.

Related Topics

DANTES College Level Examination Program

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