If your teen will study Earth Science in high school, I have an amazing resource to share. This curriculum resource is grant-funded, so totally $0 free for users. You can build an entire high school credit course from the materials, but if you want to pursue college credit, I’ll share some alternative ideas for that at the end.
The MetEd website provides education and training resources to anyone interested in learning more about meteorology, weather forecasting, and related geoscience topics. MetEd is populated and maintained by the COMETÂ Program, which is part of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research’s (UCAR’s) Community Programs (UCP).
They have a huge catalog (700+ courses) but you can sort them by the level of difficulty (zero = easiest, 3=hardest) as well as by field of study. Some classes are as short as 15 minutes, others exceed 10 hours. Here are a few samples to get you interested- there is SO MUCH there to look through. MetEd
Aviation Weather (61 courses)
Climate (52 courses)
Emergency Management (32 courses)
Environment and Society (47 courses)
Fire Weather (32 courses)
Oceanography (63 courses)
Space and Physics (7 courses)
As with any non-college-taught course, college credit won’t happen automatically. In other words, you can use the content of these courses (and others) to pursue the knowledge, that can then be used to obtain credit by exam or through a learning portfolio.
Learning portfolios (also called Credit for Prior Learning or Prior Learning Assessment/ PLA ) work best when you’re already zeroed in on a specific college and can follow their portfolio guidelines to the letter. This option works best for adults under the guidance of a college advisor.
Credit by Exam is going to be the best fit for teens. In credit by exam, learning happens independently and when you feel ready, you take the exam. Passing any of the exams below can result in college credit.
I’ve pulled up all the exam brands that include Earth Science in some amount. If you intend to prep for one or all of these exams, be sure to carefully review their details page. Be prepared to supplement your teen’s Earth Science course with extra reading and practice tests targeted toward the brand you’re using.
Though some colleges won’t award credit for some exams, it’s my opinion to test anyway. I’ve heard very nervous parents warn that you should *always* confirm that a college will accept an exam before testing. If that’s the case, you’ll never take a test! Colleges all do their own thing, and some even change their policies from year to year. Simply, if you’re waiting for a guarantee, you’ll wait too long.
When your teen knows the material, get the credit on their transcript if at all possible. A worst-case scenario is that you’re out the cost (about $100) but the best case scenario is that you could save thousands in tuition/fees/ books/time.
Interesting to also note, I only hear parents exercise that warning when discussing CLEP or DSST, but these exams are no different than Advanced Placement, yet parents enthusiastically encourage their teens to take AP exams without regard about future potential college credit. Take the test now, worry about college choice later.
UExcel Exam – Earth Science (3 college credits) $110
UExcel Exam – Weather and Climate (3 college credits) $110
DSST Exam- Astronomy (3 college credits) $85
CLEP Exam – Natural Sciences *only 10% of this exam is Earth Science (6 credits) $85
DSST Exam – Environmental Science (3 college credits) $85
AP Exam – Environmental Science (3 college credits) $94
NOTE: For Environmental Sciences, choose either the DSST or AP exam, but you can’t get credit for both.