DANTES Credit-by-Examination

ASVAB study group.

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.

The Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) offers free or discounted tests for military members, and some discounts are available for veterans as well. DANTES offers College Credit Examinations worldwide at military bases, embassies, and colleges.

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

Three Types of Exams

There are three types of College Credit Examinations - 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)

The most popular of the College Credit Examinations is the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). The CLEP helps you receive college credit for what you already know, for a fraction of the cost of a college course. Developed by the College Board, CLEP is the most widely accepted credit-by-examination program, available at more than 2,900 colleges and universities.

Through DANTES, service members can take CLEP tests for free (some restrictions apply), veterans can use their GI Bill benefits to reimburse the cost.

CLEP offers 33 exams in five subject areas, covering material taught in courses that you may generally take in your first two years of college. Passing a CLEP exam, will earn you 3 to 12 college credits per exam. DANTES and the military offers study guides for the CLEP test, as always, you should be careful to avoid CLEP test prep scams.

DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

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 cover courses like Business Law, Ethics in America, and Physical Geography. As with the CLEP, DANTES may reimburse the DSST testing costs for military members and veterans can use their GI Bill for reimbursement.

Click here to view the entire list of DSSTs.

Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)

Excelsior College, a nonprofit private college in Albany, NY partners with all branches of the military to offer distance learning and online testing to military members and veterans. 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 are not funded or reimbursed by DANTES, but you may be eligible for cost reimbursement with your GI Bill or with Tuition Assistance.

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

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits 

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, Military.com can help. Subscribe to Military.com to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Story Continues