Free Sources of Credit

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Surprisingly, some sources of credit-recommended courses and exams are absolutely free of cost. There are only a handful of these, but they exist. And, they are typically unproctored, untimed, and repeatable until you get the passing score necessary. Make sure to verify current ACE or NCCRS-approval status for all of these prior to attempting, and check with an advisor as to how they'll fit into your degree plan.

This page also discusses some limited-time programs to get free CLEP exam vouchers, and free-or-almost-free ACE/NCCRS-recommended sources.

The Institutes[edit]

The American Institute For Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (commonly referred to as "The Institutes") offer a free ethics course that is ACE recommended for 3 credits.

  • 312N-H Ethics and the CPCU Code of Professional Conduct (3 credits) - an ethics/philosophy course that meet's TESU's General Education "ethics" requirement. This course was previously recommended for 2 credits (UL), but has been reevaluated as 3 credits (LL).

To signup, use the following link:

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.

Sophia - 1 Credit Courses[edit]

Sophia offers a number of paid ACE-approved courses that are fairly expensive. However, they do offer 2 free 1 credit courses:

  • SOPH-0021 - Developing Effective Teams (1 credit)

You can sign up for the course at

  • SOPH-0026 - The Essentials of Managing Conflict (1 credit)

You can sign up for the course at

TEEX Cybersecurity[edit]

Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) offers three ACE-approved courses recommended for a total of 10 credits. These are DHS/FEMA funded and therefore free for the general public to take.

  • Cyber 101 - Cybersecurity for Everyone (4 credits)
  • Cyber 201 - Cybersecurity for IT Professionals (3 credits)
  • Cyber 301 - Cybersecurity for Business Professionals (3 credits)

To signup, use the following link and make sure you sign up for all classes under these three headings, there are multiple courses per heading: Cyber 101, 201, 301:

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the classes:

Modern States CLEP Vouchers[edit]

Through a temporary grant program, is offering free CLEP vouchers if you complete their free corresponding online CLEP prep courses. They will also reimburse proctoring fees. This is a temporary program, we don't know how long this opportunity will last.

Saylor Academy Exams[edit] is a non-profit that offers a number of ACE and NCCRS recommended courses/exams. Courses are free, though typically exams are taken online and a $25 proctor fee is charged. However, if you can find a local in-person proctor that will not charge you, you can take these exams for free. The proctor must meet specific requirements (examples include "certified librarians, military education services officers, embassy representatives, and school officials"). See for more information.

National Fire Academy[edit]

  • NOTE: The ACE credit recommendation for these courses has expired. There has been no indication whether they will renew. Please do not continue with the course until a decision has been made regarding their ACE recommendation.

The National Emergency Training Center/National Fire Academy (NFA) offers a free course that is ACE-recommended for 1 credit.

  • Q0118 Self-Study Course for Community Safety Educators  (1 credit)

To signup, use the following link and find this course code in the list: Q0118:

After you are enrolled, use this login URL to take the class:

Almost Free[edit]

  • offers a number of free courses that are NCCRS recommended, however they utilize a third party online proctoring service that charges $9 per final exam to complete the course. While not free, this is very affordable.
  • As stated above, exam proctoring only costs $25 online if you can not find a local free in-person option.

FEMA Independent Study (limited utility)[edit]

Not to be confused with TEEX, which are described elsewhere

A limited amount of free FEMA IS courses are only acceptable as transfer credit at Charter Oak State College. From the COSC website:

Policy on non-proctored FEMA credits

Non-proctored FEMA credits cannot be used in a major or concentration. Charter Oak will accept up to 9 credits as free electives towards a degree if the credits are relevant to the degree. If students are taking non-proctored FEMA credits purely as elective credits and there is no relevance to the degree, a limit of 3 credits is allowed. There is no limit to the amount of FEMA credits that can be placed in the credit registry. (Relevant Charter Oak degrees would be criminal justice, cyber security, public safety administration.)

Policy on ACE reviewed FEMA credits

There is no limit on the amount of ACE reviewed FEMA credits that can be used towards a major or concentration as long as they meet the degree requirements.

With some hassle and great expense, Excelsior College will also take FEMA IS courses, but doing so is cost prohibitive and therefore outside the scope of this section. Thomas Edison State University no longer accepts FEMA credits.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency operates an online Independent Study program offering approximately 120 courses online for free. Of the more than 100 FEMA courses, certain ones are acceptable as transfer credit at Charter Oak State College

See Federal Emergency Management Agency Independent Study Program for more information