In addition to military experience counting for college, there is another way to save time and money on your education – the CLEP exam. The CLEP exam is free for the military and gives you the opportunity to earn college credit for what you already know.
What does CLEP stand for?
CLEP stands for the College-Level Examination Program.
How much does it cost to take a CLEP test?
Your first test is free for those who are eligible (see below). For the military college student, DANTES (Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support) funds the cost of the exam.
If you do not pass the first time, you will need to self-fund a re-test after a waiting period of 90 days.
Who can be funded by DANTES?
- Active Duty
- National Guard.
- Spouses of Coast Guard, both active and reserve.
- Civilian employees of the Air Force if they take the test at US fully funded test center or on base.
- The following are NOT ELIGIBLE for funding by DANTES:
- Dependents of active duty, inactive Guard or reserves
- Coast Guard Auxiliary
- Spouses (other than Coast Guard spouses)
- DOD Acquisition Workforce Personnel
What are some details about the exams?
- The exams are 90 to 120 minutes long and administered at over 2,900 colleges across the country as well as on base testing centers.
- You can earn three or more credits for each exam, based on the institution that you attend.
- There are 33 introductory-level college subject exams.
The sections include:
- Composition and Literature- Topics related to American and British literature
- World Languages-French, German and Spanish.
- History and Social Sciences– Topics related to history, economics, and psychology.
- Science and Mathematics– Various science disciplines and different levels of math.
- Business-Various business disciplines.
For a full list of courses / exams for CLEP, please see bottom of article.
What is a fully funded test center?
The College Board and DANTES have partnered to launch a program that provides more fully funded test center locations to qualified test takers. At these centers, participants that take the exams for the first time will not only have their exam fee taken care of but also have their administrative fee funded too. On base centers also wave the administrative fee for DANTES funded students. You can find these fully funded centers by using the test center search feature.
Which colleges accept CLEP scores?
Over 2,200 schools offer credit for CLEP exams. You can quickly find those schools using the School Finder at CollegeRecon (https://app.CollegeRecon.com).
How to find when –
Viewed on DESKTOP or TABLET –
- Use the “Filters” on the left hand side of the page
- Find the section titled “Vet/Military Service”
- Scroll down and Check the box next to “Awards Credit for CLEP Exam”
- The results will appear to the right. You can also use additional Filters to narrow your results.
Viewed on MOBILE DEVICE –
- Scroll down to find the “Filters” bar and Tap on it
- Scroll to find the section titled “Vet/Military Service”
- Scroll down and Check the box next to “Awards Credit for CLEP Exam”
- Tap the “Filters” bar to close and find your results. You can also use additional Filters to narrow your results.
This is a partial list of schools that accept CLEP scores. Special consideration was given to these schools as promotional partners of CollegeRecon.
What do you need to do to take the exams?
To take these exams you will need to:
- Verify the college you would like to attend will accept CLEP scores.
- Sign up for an account. In My Account, you will be asked if you are eligible for the DANTES funded exams.
- Select your test center, and where you want to send your scores. You can also purchase study materials.
- Schedule your exam.
- Show up and take your exam at the correct time and date.
- Receive your scores and order transcripts if need be.
- Make sure you follow all of the directions given to you on your registration forms.
On your testing day you will need to bring:
- Valid registration ticket
- Registration forms or printouts if required
- Administrative fees if you need to pay them
- Anything else required on your registration forms
What if you don’t pass the exam the first time?
DANTES will fund one attempt at the exams. If you do not pass the first time, you can retake the exam as “self-funded.” You will need to wait three months to try again, and the fee would be $85. This fee will go up to $87 starting July 1st, 2018.
What if I have special needs?
You can request accommodations if you have a learning or physical disability. These include using ZoomText, modifiable screen colors, use of a reader, an amanuensis, or a sign language interpreter, extended time, or untimed rest breaks.
What will happen with my scores?
Scores for those serving in the Air Force will automatically be reported to the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) . Scores from the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard will automatically go to their Joint Service Transcript (JST.) Scores for those who are self-funded are not reported to the CCAF or JST.
If you are a non-DANTES funded test taker, you can order your transcripts online. If you are DANTES funded and would like to order your transcripts, you will need to complete and submit a military transcript order form.
How are the exams scored?
The multiple choice section will be scored by a computer. The essay section will be graded by two or more college English professors. Some colleges do require optional essays for American Literature, Analyzing and Interpreting Literature, College Composition Modular, and English Literature. They will be graded and evaluated by the colleges that require them.
If you do decide to go back to school, taking CLEP exams will help you get your degree faster as well as safe you money. You will be able to receive credit for what you already know instead of having to take a class for it. With DANTES funding these exams for most military service members, you should at least look and see if the CLEP exams are a good option for you and your educational plans.
Full CLEP Exam List
Composition and Literature
- American Literature
- Analyzing and Interpreting Literature
- College Composition
- College Composition Modular
- English Literature
- French Language: Levels 1 and 2
- German Language: Levels 1 and 2
- Spanish Language: Levels 1 and 2
History and Social Sciences
- American Government
- History of the United States I
- History of the United States II
- Human Growth and Development
- Introduction to Educational Psychology
- Introductory Psychology
- Introductory Sociology
- Principles of Macroeconomics
- Principles of Microeconomics
- Social Sciences and History
- Western Civilization I: Ancient Near East to 1648
- Western Civilization II: 1648 to the Present
Science and Mathematics
- College Algebra
- College Mathematics
- Natural Sciences
- Financial Accounting
- Information Systems
- Introductory Business Law
- Principles of Management
- Principles of Marketing
Featured image courtesy of Alex Radelich at Unsplash