BONUS: currently, the Modern States Online Test Prep Program is offering a voucher to anyone who completes their online CLEP or AP prep course. The voucher will pay for your exam cost and reimburse you for your testing center fee if you have one. You can take an UNLIMITED number of CLEP and AP exams right now for $0. When this voucher program ends, or if you don’t use a voucher, AP and CLEP exams cost about $100 each.
Besides the current CLEP/AP promo- there are classes that are $0 and award college credit. This fantastic list was put together by a couple of members of the InstantCert forum community. I encourage you to visit the forum if you’re considering distance learning colleges for your teen- it’s the single best resource on the web.
As a homeschooler of high school students, here’s what you should know before you read on:
ALL (but one) of these freebies awards ACE credit. As such, their transfer is very limited. If your teen is several years away from high school graduation and selecting a target college, you may want to use these just for fun, and if he gets credit later- that’s a bonus. You can bundle these together into high school electives too. But, if you’re getting close to enrollment or you’ve already selected a target college, you’ll want to confirm that they accept ACE credit before investing too much time in these.
That said, since they are free, many parents have their teens complete some anyway.
Understanding expiration dates: whenever a course or exam is evaluated for college credit by ACE, they set a date range of usually a few years. During that time, completing the course or exam allows you to earn college credit. When a course or exam has “expired” that means the window for college credit has closed. Frequently, a course or exam is renewed, and the dates will extend out another few years, but occasionally we have seen courses permanently expire. AS LONG AS you complete a course and get it onto your ACE transcript before an expiration date, the credit is good and you can use it at any point in the future.
I keep a close eye on expiration dates- you’ll see this page updated accordingly.
TEEX Cybersecurity (11 college credits)
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers ACE-approved courses recommended for 1-2 credits each. These are DHS/FEMA funded and therefore free for the general public to take.
NOTE: if you’ve used TEEX courses prior to 12/2018, you’re going to notice a change in their credit assignment options. In the past, TEEX offered 3 courses Cyber101, 201, and 301 – each worth 2 college credits (6 total) but to earn the credit you had to complete all of the individual “mini-courses” which weren’t worth anything by themselves. They still offer that option, and it’s now worth 10 credits instead of 6, so that’s better, but wait, there’s a better way!
TEEX mini-courses are now all worth college credit individually! This means you can complete as many or as few of the mini-courses, and submit each one for college credit- you choose!
Here’s the snag- you have to choose between the umbrella courses (old way) or the individual courses (new way) because you can’t do both…but they still offer both, making it seem like there are more options than there are. If you choose the old way, you’ll walk away with 10 lower level college credits, but if you do it the new way, you’ll walk away with 11 college credits, and one of them is upper level, for the EXACT SAME amount of work. Choose the new way!
I’m pretty sure TEEX made a mistake by creating routes through the same courses that end up with different totals, but until they work that out on their end, I’m going to make sure you get the best credit available on your end, so be sure you choose the (New Way) options below and you’ll get the MOST CREDIT when you complete all 10 courses!
- (Old Way) Cyber 101 – Cybersecurity for Everyone before 12/18 worth 2 lower level (LL) college credits, after 12/18 worth 4 LL college credits when you complete all 3:
- AWR168 Cyber Law and White Collar Crime
- AWR174 Cyber Ethics
- AWR175 Information Security for Everyone
- (New Way) up to 5 credits when taken individually
- AWR168 Cyber Law and White Collar Crime, 2 LL credits
- AWR174 Cyber Ethics, 2 LL credits
- AWR175 Information Security for Everyone, 1 LL credit
- (Old Way) Cyber 201 – Cybersecurity for IT Professionals before 12/18 worth 2 lower level (LL) college credits, after 12/18 worth 3 LL college credits when you complete all 4:
- AWR138 Network Assurance
- AWR139 Digital Forensics Basics
- AWR173 Information Security Basics
- AWR178 Secure Software
- (New Way) up to 3 credits when taken individually
- AWR138 Network Assurance ***and*** AWR139 Digital Forensics Basics, 1 LL credit
- AWR173 Information Security Basics, 1 LL credit
- AWR178 Secure Software, 1 LL credit
- (Old Way) Cyber 301 – Cybersecurity for Business Professionals before 12/18 worth 2 lower level (LL) college credits, after 12/18 worth 3 LL college credits when you complete all 3:
- AWR169 Cyber Incident Analysis and Response
- AWR176 Disaster Recovery for Information Systems
- AWR177 Information Risk Management
- (New Way) up to 2 LL and 1 UL credits when taken individually
- AWR169 Cyber Incident Analysis and Response, 1 LL credit
- AWR176 Disaster Recovery for Information Systems, 1 LL credit
- AWR177 Information Risk Management, 1 UL credit
To signup, use the following link and make sure you complete each mini-class in each main class before submitting to ACE. https://teex.org/Pages/Program.aspx?catID=607
After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes: https://my.teex.org
Course consists of reading long modules and taking many quizzes. Approximate time needed to complete EACH mini course: 1 day-3 days.
Saylor Academy (over 100 college credits)
Saylor is 100% free if you can find a local proctor to administer your final exam. If you have to use Saylor’s online proctoring service, the cost is $25 per course.
More about Saylor Academy
Courses consist of optional reading modules and links to videos and a final exam (proctored). Approximate time needed to complete the course: NA
Sophia – (2 college credits)
Sophia offers a number of paid ACE-approved courses that are fairly expensive. However, they do offer 2 free 1 credit courses:
- Developing Effective Teams (1 credit)
- Essentials of Managing Conflict (1 credit)
You can sign up for the courses at Sophia.org
The courses consist of video-based modules and short quizzes followed by an online exam. Approximate time needed to complete one course and exam: less than 1 day
FEMA Independent Study (over 40 college credits)
- NOTE: FEMA is NOT ACE evaluated for credit. As such, FEMA IS courses are only acceptable as transfer credit at Charter Oak State College and two other small 2-year colleges. IF you’re planning to attend COSC, you can still apply some FEMA courses to your degree, but COSC hasn’t set an official limit – at least not one that they’re sharing with the public. I’m hearing between 3 and 9. Cost: $0
The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates an online Independent Study program offering approximately 197 courses online for free. Anyone can take FEMA courses for high school credit or for fun, but only the following courses are approved for college credit:
The current list of FEMA courses worth college credit can be found here.
The courses consist of reading modules followed by an online exam. Approximate time needed to complete each course and exam: 1 day
The Institutes (2 college credits)
The American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (commonly referred to as “The Institutes”) offer a free ethics course that is ACE recommended for 2 credits. (deadline to participate 3/31/2019)
Course consists of reading modules followed by an online exam. Approximate time needed to complete the course and exam: less than 1 day
312N-H Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct (2 credits) – an upper-level ethics/philosophy course that meets TESU’s General Education “ethics” requirement. (it meets 2 of the 3 credit requirement – you might have to ask for an exception to be made for the last credit, but typically this is automatically granted. The 3rd credit can be made up as a general ed elective).
To signup, use the following link: http://www.theinstitutes.org/comet/learning_modules/cpcu_ethics.htm
Select the FREE option. You should not do the $5 option. The paid option is for “Continuing Education credit,” which is different than college credit. The free version is ACE approved for college credit.
Courses under this line have been worth college credit in the past but are currently not worth college credit. These courses are still available to take, but beware that if you take them while they are expired, you will NOT receive college credit. If any of these courses are renewed, I’ll update it asap.
National Fire Academy (1 college credit) Q0118 Self-Study Course for Community Safety Educators (1 credit) The National Emergency Training Center/National Fire Academy (NFA) offers one free course that is ACE-recommended for 1 credit. To signup, use the following link and find Q0118 on the list: National Fire Academy Course List After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes: NFA Login