How many credits do you need to graduate college?
Colleges typically require students to earn 120 college credits to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and 60 credits for an associate’s degree. A sample course load is 5 courses where each one is worth 3 credit hours, which is in total, 15 credit hours for the entire semester. Earning these credits could take four years if you’re completing 15 credit hours a semester and two semesters a year.
However, if you want to get ahead and earn credit faster, there are alternatives to taking college courses at a traditional university. You can take transferable college courses online, or take tests to earn college credit.
The American Council on Education (ACE) is one of the nation’s leading authorities on higher education. They evaluate non-traditional courses for credit-recommendation, ensuring that they meet rigorous standards similar to those required by a traditional college course.
Hundreds of colleges recognize ACE credit-recommended courses, and the credit you earn taking their approved courses can transfer and help you meet your educational goals faster and at a lower cost.
Earn College Credit by Taking a Test
If you’re already familiar with a subject, or want to study for a test instead of taking a full course, you can choose from multiple standardized tests to earn transferable college credit. The most common tests are CLEP, DSST, and AP.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is a College Board initiative that allows students to earn transferable college credit by taking a test. Students interested in CLEP may have pre-existing knowledge that they can use to pass the test, or they may specifically study for it instead of taking a full course.
DSST exams allow the opportunity for students to demonstrate their pre-existing knowledge by passing a test, rather than taking a full college course. They were originally designed for the military, but are now publicly available for all students who want to earn college credit for their pre-existing knowledge. They are similar to CLEP, but DSST also offers tests for upper level courses.
The Advanced Placement (AP) program allows students to earn college credit by completing a proctored exam. AP Exams are designed for high school students that completed a year long course, and are only administered in May at the end of the school year. AP Exams are a great opportunity to earn college credit in high school and complete general education requirements before starting college.
Save Money on College with Transferable Credit
Earning a bachelor’s degree is one of the best investments you can make because it both unlocks many career opportunities, and is an incredible personal accomplishment. While college can be extremely expensive, you can save time and money by using alternative credit options and transferring credit into your school.
Even just completing a few of your degree requirements with an online course or for credit exam can save you thousands on your college tuition.
Check out the information below to see just how much you can save.
- How to Transfer Your Study.com Credit
- How to Find Study.com Courses for College Credit
- What Does Course Level Mean for Transferring College Credit?
- Which Colleges Will Accept All My Transfer Credit?
- How Do I Earn Credit Through Study.com?
- Why You Should Look for Articulation Agreements When Considering Online College Credit
- Why High School Isn't Too Early For Your Child to Start Earning College Credit
- How to Check Course Equivalency When Transferring Online Credit
College Credit Transfer
No matter how you earn your college credit, knowing that it will transfer into your school is arguably one of the most important parts. How do you know that your credit will transfer?
The best way to know if your credits will transfer is to communicate directly with your destination school’s counselor to confirm its transferability. It’s best to get this confirmation in writing before taking your tests or completing your courses, and then when you’re ready to transfer, you’ll receive that college credit for your work.
ACE lists over 400 regionally accredited college and universities that have policies for accepting ACE credit-recommended courses, but more schools accept these credits.
Study.com success coaches will help you decide what courses you need for your degree.
To get started earning transferable college credit on Study.com, create an account now.
How It Works
Create a plan on what courses you need
Confirm that your credits will transfer with your destination school advisor
Get started earning credit, whether you’re taking online courses, or preparing for tests
Request your transcript and transfer your college credit to your destination school
Finish taking any courses you need to earn your degree with your school
Our Partner Schools
In addition to the thousands of schools that accept online credit, we've partnered with the following schools specifically to make sure that transferring credit from Study.com is a seamless process.
View the transfer guide here.
View the transfer guide here.
What Study.com members are saying
My goal is to receive a degree in nursing. I had applied to programs before and gotten frustrated when my scores were not high enough to be accepted. I felt defeated and the thought of retaking the test left me in fear. I began searching the internet for any program that could help me. After finding Study.com and watching the demo, I decided to purchase the program. For the first time in over a year, I feel excited and positive about my future. I thought I wasn't smart enough, but with the way Study.com breaks the subjects down, I feel encouraged. Words cannot explain how much help this program is to me right now.Alexandria WilkesEarned College Credit
Study.com has been a life-saver for me. The videos are extremely helpful and the information was presented in a fun, engaging way. In just a few months, I've been able to prepare for and take three proctored tests for credit, and all from the convenience of my own home. Nothing could have been easier!Miriam Maiquez OrtizEarned College Credit
I am a very visual learner and a frugal student, for that Study.com came in handy. I love the short videos that are super entertaining and never tiring. I was able to skip buying an overpriced textbook and am instead just watching bite sized videos. Awesome! I've passed four credit granting exams so far and earned 12 credit, all while saving money and in less than three months! I'll definitely keep using Study.com for the other transferable credit I need to earn over the next 12 months.Paula BrownStudent - Tallahassee, FloridaEarned College Credit