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The College Level Exam Program (CLEP) for Soldiers

Posted : Thursday January 1, 1970
Created by: MSG Randall High, U.S. Army (ret)

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CLEP Quick Facts
What is it?
College Level Exam Program
Who qualifies?
Anyone, but DANTES covers all but small registration fee for soldiers, civilian employees and some military spouses
Credit toward?
Free to Soldiers
Subjects (Broad)
Social Science, History
Information Systems
Computer Applications
Business Law
2,900 schools

Earn College Credit for Skills Learned in the Military

Earning a degree not only gives you the skills you need to excel in the Army or to officership, but makes your transition to the civilian career world much easier. Unfortunately, the military lifestyle isn't flexible. How about getting college credit while you serve, without even enrolling in a class? The College-Level Examination Program, or CLEP, allows soldiers to earn credit for undergraduate college courses through testing rather than class work. Nearly 3 thousand schools across the country accept CLEP exams for college credit, including a number of online schools.

How CLEP Exams Work

Remember, CLEP exams are designed to replace full-blown courses for college credit. If you successfully pass the Financial Accounting exam, for instance, participating colleges will likely accept those credits in lieu of one of their own introductory accounting courses. Most tests are designed to replace one-semester courses, but some correspond to full-year or two-year courses.

CLEP Examinations are broken down into two categories - General and Subject. General examinations cover broader areas while subject exams are much more specific. Most exams take 90 minute and feature multiple-choice questions, though some do include fill-ins. Depending on whether you register to take the exam at a DANTES test center, an on-base education center, or a college campus test center, DANTES exams are either conducted online or on paper.

CLEP Exams Pay Off for Military Personnel

While anyone can take the CLEP exams, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) funds CLEP exams for eligible military service members and civilian employees. All active-duty and reserve military personnel, regardless of branch, are eligible for DANTES-funded CLEP. If you are a member of the reserve forces, DANTES will pay for your spouse and children to complete the exams, too. A number of civilian and Department of Defense employees are also eligible for this benefit. Unfortunately, inactive and veteran service members are not eligible for DANTES-funded CLEP, though your education benefits can help you pay for college classes.

Using a combination of the skills you've learned in your MOS and some study materials, you can work toward a meaningful civilian career at no cost to you, though college testing centers require a small registration fee. CLEP exams are always free for soldiers who report to on-base and DANTES test centers.

Learn More About DANTES and Credit-by-Exam!

While the CLEP, DSST and ECE differ in some respects, all were designed to help those with career training-like that honed in the military-earn their degrees or certificates faster. Though only the DSST tests are designed specifically for military personnel, DANTES provides study resources, information and funding for CLEP and ECE. What's more, spouses and dependents of those who serve in the reserve forces may be eligible for the same benefits. Visit the following features to learn more about each exam.

Complete List of DANTES-Supported CLEP Tests
General Examinations
  • English Composition with/without Essay
  • Humanities
  • College Mathematics
  • Social Science & History
  • Natural Sciences
CLEP Subject Examinations
  • Accounting, Principle of
  • Business Law, Introductory
  • Management, Principles
  • Marketing, Principles of
Data Processing
  • Information Systems & Computer Applications
Composition & Literature
  • Freshman English Composition
  • Analyzing & Interpreting Literature
  • English Literature
  • Freshman College Composition
  • American Government
  • History of the U.S. I
  • History of the U.S. II
  • Western Civilization I
  • Western Civilization II
  • College Level French
  • College Level German
  • College Level Spanish
  • Calculus with Elementary Functions
  • College Algebra
  • Precalculus
Natural Sciences
  • Biology, General
  • Chemistry, General
  • Educational Psychology, Introduction to
  • Psychology, Introductory
  • Human Growth & Development
Social Sciences
  • Macroeconomics, Principles of
  • Microeconomics, Principles of
  • Sociology, Introductory

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