Taking a CLEP toward educational goals

The 48th Force Support Squadron and the National Testing Center hosted a CLEP and DSST testing marathon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 13-17. The tests help Airmen get credit for college classes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

The 48th Force Support Squadron and the National Testing Center hosted a CLEP and DSST testing marathon at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, Feb. 13-17. The tests help Airmen get credit for college classes. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Abby L. Finkel)

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I’ll start it tomorrow.

It can be all too easy to make excuses, to put off working toward any goal—education is no exception.

To help Airmen get on track to meet their educational goals, the 48th Force Support Squadron and the National Testing Center hosted a CLEP and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) Subject Standardized Tests testing marathon, a CLEP-a-thon, Feb. 13-17 here.

The CLEP and DSST exams allow Airmen to get credit for college-level classes, by letting them demonstrate that their subject-matter knowledge is on par with the material covered in an equivalent college course.

"Some folks when they come out of high school have this knowledge already, at the college level,” said the 48th FSS career assistance advisor. “A CLEP test just verifies that.”

The CLEP-a-thon format allows Airmen to take the exams without making an appointment. During the test week, the testing center is open all day for walk-ins; Airmen can take as many exams as they would like, whenever they like.

At the CLEP-a-thon, advisors were available to help Airmen determine which CLEPs to take to satisfy their Community College of the Air Force requirements, as well as providing advice on what classes to take if they don’t pass the CLEP.

"Part of employment in the Air Force is to have [a CCAF degree],” said the 48th FSS career assistance advisor. “What we're trying to do at the CLEP-a-thons is help you fill that goal. The Air Force is requiring it, and maybe you have some of that knowledge already. So come take these tests, and if you don't have that knowledge, here's a school and they're going to help you."

In addition to getting credit toward a CCAF degree, Airmen can also use the credits earned through passing CLEP tests at different four-year institutions to advance their standing in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree.

"[Taking CLEPs] gives you a great start," said Krysta Farina, assistant director in the United Kingdom of the University of Maryland University College Europe. "So whether you are starting to knock out those classes for the CCAF or you’ve obtained an associate's degree, then you’re halfway there."

CLEP offers 33 different tests, and DSST has 39. The first time Airmen take each exam, it is paid for by DANTES.

CLEP and DSST exams can also be taken by appointment. The RAF Lakenheath NTC offers testing at select times on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Call DSN 226-2947 for more details.