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Nontraditional Credits

Nontraditional Credits

Nontraditional Credits

Students may be awarded up to 30 credits for nontraditional coursework. Credit will not be awarded for equivalent courses completed at HCC or other institutions. After completing a three-credit course at HCC, the nontraditional credit is posted to the student’s HCC transcript.

A complete listing of equivalencies for all credit types as listed below can be viewed in the College Catalog here.

Military Education and Training

Credit may be granted for a variety of formal military, technical and educational programs based on the student’s program at HCC. Official Community College of the Air Force, AARTS, SMARTS or USCGI transcripts and forms DD214 and DD295, if applicable, should be sent to the Records Office. HCC offers a variety of educational benefits to veterans.

Industry Certifications

Students with nationally recognized industry certifications, or those who have received specialized training through non-collegiate organizations can be awarded credits for prior learning. See the College Catalog for a list of generally accepted certifications and licenses.

Advanced Placement Examinations

These subject exams sponsored by the Educational Testing Service are usually administered through high schools at the completion of AP course offerings. HCC awards credits based on the AP exams and minimum scores listed below. Applicants for admission who have taken AP examinations should have an official copy of their scores sent to the Records Office.

To request an official AP score report, write to:
Advanced Placement Exams
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671 

International Baccalaureate (IB) Examinations

These exams, sponsored by the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, are administered by IB teachers. HCC awards credits based on IB exams and scores listed in the catalog.

For more information, visit, or write to:
Americas/Global Centre
7501 Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 200 West
Bethesda, MD 20814

College Level Examination Program (CLEP)

CLEP is a national credit by examination program that provides individuals with the opportunity to receive credit for college level achievement acquired in a variety of ways. (DANTES will pay the CLEP fee for military personnel.) HCC awards credit for passing certain CLEP tests. CLEP exams are administered at HCC in the Academic Testing Center. For more information, call 240-500-2238. Applicants for admission who have taken CLEP examinations should have an official copy of their scores sent to the Records Office.

Go to the website to obtain a Transcript Request Form or write to:
CLEP Transcript Service
P.O. Box 6600
Princeton, NJ 08541-6600

Dantes Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

DSST is a testing program available to anyone who wants to receive credit for college-level competencies gained through life-long learning. (DANTES will pay the DSST fee for military personnel.) Further information regarding DSST is available in the Academic Testing Center at HCC. Official scores must be sent to the Records Office. Visit the DSST website at

Excelsior College Examinations (ECE)

ECEs have been evaluated and found worthy of credit by the American Council on Education. As such, HCC can award credit based on satisfactory scores on these exams. For more information about offered exams visit

Credit by Validation

Students may be awarded up to 15 credits for work and life experience as validated by HCC via Portfolios, Advanced Standing and/or Institutional (or Challenge) examinations. These credits cannot be used to fulfill the required minimum credits in residence for graduation, and may not be honored by other institutions.

Institutional Examinations

Institutional examinations (practical or written) are offered at HCC in selected subjects for which CLEP and DSST exams are not available. Students must be admitted to the college before taking an institutional exam. An examination fee is charged. An institutional exam per subject area may be taken only once and is arranged through the division director.

Advanced Standing

By completing upper-level courses, students can demonstrate their prior knowledge and receive corresponding lower-level credits retroactively. Students must first meet with an appropriate faculty member and complete all paperwork before beginning the upper-level course.

Credit by Portfolio

Students can present portfolios of their work history to appropriate faculty members to be evaluated for college credit. Portfolios can include writing/work samples, job descriptions, etc. For more information on these, please refer to “Industry Certifications” in the catalog.

If you are interested in pursuing any of these options, contact the Registrar.