College Credit in High School

Dual-credit programs allow student to earn high school and college credit simultaneously. Students can earn dual credit by completing college courses (e.g. Running Start and College in the High School) or by completing standardized exams (e.g. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Cambridge International Program).  

The state's Launch Year Act, signed into law in 2011, requires all public high schools in Washington to work toward increasing the number of dual-credit courses offered to high school students. 

Running Start

Washington's Running Start program allows 11th and 12th grade students to take college courses at Washington’s community and technical colleges and at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Washington State University, and Northwest Indian College.

College in the High School

College in the High School (CHS) programs provide college-level academic courses in high schools to serve qualified high school students.

Advanced Placement Programs

Advanced Placement programs enable students to take college-level courses while in high school. Interested students should check with their school counselors about the availability of these programs. Students who complete AP exams with a score of 3 or higher earn at least elective credit. Some institutions require higher test scores to award specific course credit.  Some institutions also offer advanced placement into more advanced college courses. Tables showing the type of credit conferred by public institutions in Washington for AP examinations are below. 

Public Baccalaureates
Community and Technical Colleges

The Launch Year Act

The state’s Launch Year Act, signed into law in 2011, requires all public high schools in Washington to work toward increasing the number of dual-credit courses offered to high school students.

International Baccalaureate Programs

High-quality programs of international education are offered to a worldwide community of schools. Three programs for students ages 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills to live, learn, and work in a rapidly globalizing world.

University of Cambridge International Examinations

An international, pre-university curriculum and examination system, Cambridge programs emphasize the value of a broad and balanced education for academically able students. As with International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement programs, colleges and universities have recognition policies for awarding credit based on exam scores.

Tech Prep  

The Tech Prep program helps students transition from high school into postsecondary professional technical programs. Tech Prep is a cooperative effort between K-12 schools, community and technical colleges, and the business community to develop applied, integrated academic and technical programs.

  • Washington Tech Prep awards dual credit to high school students for career and technical education (CTE) courses articulated to college programs.
  • SBCTC Tech Prep provides occupational pathways for students by preparing them for technologically advanced careers and postsecondary education. The program emphasizes strong academic, technical, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.

Early College

The Early College program provides low-income youth, first-generation college-goers, English language learners, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and one to two years of college credit at the same time, tuition free. More information can be found in the following links:

Gateway to College

Gateway to College assists students ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of school or are in danger of dropping out. Eligible students may qualify for this program to concurrently accumulate high school and college credits, earning their high school diploma while progressing toward a certificate or associate degree. 

Career Link - South Seattle Community College Career Link Program

Career Link is a high school completion program for students ages 16 to 21 who no longer attend traditional high school. The program supports personal and academic development to help students achieve their high school diploma and make the transition to postsecondary education. Students may earn dual credit for high school completion and college credit. Youth who enroll in the program attend full time at no cost.

Technical College Direct Funded Enrollment Programs

The programs linked below allow students to concurrently earn high school and college credits while progressing toward an associate degree or certificate. Students who enroll have access to most of the training programs and support services at any of the three participating colleges:

Other Dual-Credit Programs

Other dual-credit programs allow high school students to enroll in college-level courses, either at their own school or at their local community college. Check the OSPI Dual Credit website or visit the program links below for more information.

Public Baccalaureates

Community and Technical Colleges

Private Colleges, Universities