Penn Foster College

The companies/organizations in this category sell courses “for college credit” that have been evaluated by the American Council on Education (ACE). ACE credit is not as transferable as credit earned directly through a college, but can be very transferable when used with the intention of transferring to one of the partner colleges. ACE is a third party credit evaluator that evaluates all types of learning that happens outside of a college. This kind of college credit is guaranteed to transfer into partner colleges (varies by provider) but transfers poorly outside of partnerships.

Using ACE credit requires creating an account with another third party, Credly to “hold” your teen’s credit until they’re ready to use it. HS4CC List of ACE Partners

Penn Foster College is “the” originator of the nontraditional education model. They started in 1890 (that’s not a typo) as the International Correspondence Schools (ICS) and worked mainly with coal miners. So far, they have had over 13 million students! In 2006 they stopped doing correspondence education by mail and went online. They offer about 100 certificate, diploma, and degree programs.

Penn Foster holds 2 accreditations, but this is where parents have to pay attention. Their high school is regionally accredited while their career school is nationally accredited. For college credit earned in high school to transfer well, it should come from a college that is regionally accredited (RA). Since Penn Foster’s college classes are NOT regionally accredited (RA), this would normally exclude them from appearing here for our community.

PRO TIP: lack of regional accreditation (RA) doesn’t rule out a college for adults, but since career and vocational schools almost never qualify for regional accreditation (RA), a higher level of caution and wisdom must be used for teens.

Penn Foster did something special that bumps up the likelihood of credit transfer. They sought ACE evaluation for many of their courses. By obtaining ACE evaluation, that list of courses are now acceptable at a number of RA colleges that normally wouldn’t consider college credits from a nationally accredited college.

Penn Foster courses are self-paced. You have six months to complete the 5-6 exams (generally multiple choice). Some course are starting to require homework, but at the time of this writing, I can not locate a way to search this out in advance. Some of the courses have proctored exams, some do not.

For high school students, consider only courses from this list (ACE evaluated)

ACE evaluated courses transfer better than NA college courses, so sticking with this list instead of their whole catalog is your best bet.

Penn Foster Course NameCourse approval start dateCourse renewal or expiration datenumber of colelge creidts
Family Child Care01/01/201912/31/20223
Working with Children with Special Needs01/01/201912/31/20223
ECE 220 Child Growth and Development01/01/201912/31/20223
Developing Math and Science Skills in Young Children01/01/201912/31/20223
Interpersonal Communication01/01/201912/31/20221
Labor Relations01/01/201912/31/20223
Compensation Management01/01/201912/31/20223
Employee Benefits01/01/201912/31/20223
Training Concepts01/01/201912/31/20223
Information Literacy01/01/201912/31/20221
Introduction to Literature01/01/201912/31/20223
Art Appreciation01/01/201912/31/20223
Human Resources Management01/01/201912/31/20223
Infant and Toddler Care08/01/202007/31/20233
Guidance in Early Childhood Education08/01/202007/31/20233
World Civilizations08/01/202007/31/20233
Advanced Composition08/01/202007/31/20233
Supervision and Leadership08/01/202007/31/20233
Legal Environment of Business08/01/202007/31/20233
Supply Chain Management08/01/202007/31/20233
Writing for Business08/01/202007/31/20233
English Composition08/01/202007/31/20233
Music Appreciation08/01/202007/31/20233
Essentials of Psychology08/01/202007/31/20233
Math for Business and Finance08/01/202007/31/20233
Economics 208/01/202007/31/20233
Introduction to Sociology08/01/202007/31/20233
Art, Music and Movement08/01/202007/31/20233
Working with Preschoolers08/01/202007/31/20233
Child, Family, and Community08/01/202007/31/20233
Cultural Diversity in the Early Childhood Program08/01/202007/31/20233
Assessment in Early Childhood Education08/01/202007/31/20233
Language and Literacy Development in Young Children08/01/202007/31/20233
Curriculum for Early Childhood Education08/01/202007/31/20233
Health, Safety, and Nutrition for the Young Child08/01/202007/31/20233
Fundamentals of Early Childhood Education08/01/202007/31/20233
Play in the Lives of Young Children08/01/202007/31/20233
Administration of an Early Childhood Education Center08/01/202007/31/20233
Earth Science09/01/202108/31/20243
Introduction to Biology09/01/202108/31/20243
Computer Applications09/01/202108/31/20243
Principles of Management09/01/202108/31/20243
Introduction to Business09/01/202108/31/20243
Business Statistics09/01/202108/31/20243
Intermediate Algebra09/01/202103/31/20253
Foundation Skills in Math09/01/202103/31/20253
11/28/2022 ACE National Database

Career Diplomas, Certificates, Degrees

Penn Foster specializes in trade occupations. Before pursuing a full credential, double check if your state requires a license to practice the occupation (not all do). If they do, be sure a nationally accredited credential can meet your state’s requirements for licensure. This extra due diligence is required for credentials like these, but if they’ll work for your state, these are an affordable and flexible option! Consider the option of using a program that includes ACE evaluated courses as part of the curriculum so you’ll retain some credit transfer if a higher degree is needed later.

Admissions requirements for specific programs (not individual classes) CLICK HERE

State Licensing

The following programs may lead to licensure or certification. Please review your program of interest using the links below:

Professional licensing requirements can vary by vocation and state. It is important to check with your state, local government, and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your field and location of employment. Learn more using the links to state and professional resources we have included below.