DSST: One Veteran’s Story


“You guys don’t understand. It did, literally, save my life.”
Scott Powers joined the military four days after graduating from Westbury High School, in Houston, Texas. He went on to serve 24 years in the U.S. Navy, as a cryptologist, serving in combat and supporting in-theater forces and Special Forces.


Roughly 18 months before his military retirement, Powers began the process of preparing for civilian employment. He sought help from the American Council on Education (ACE) and received a preliminary evaluation on college credits toward a Bachelor of Science degree. ACE informed Powers that he was nine credits short of his degree. That was actually great news. He had time to complete the three classes and expected he was set for a career with a globally recognized government contractor.

Then — less than a month before it was time to leave the only employment he’d ever known — it happened.

As it turned out, a new, official transcript review revealed that Powers was still eight credits short of his degree. He was floored. All the planning… All the work… He could not be hired without the degree. There was no time. Powers faced certain under-employment for his military service, skill set and knowledge, which meant he and his family would have a hard time making ends meet.

Powers visited the DANTES office on-base less than one month before his separation from the Navy. He found three DSST exams that would provide the credits he needed to earn his degree.

As Powers tells it, “You talk about tough hours. I’ve been in combat. I’ve been shot at. I’ve been shelled. I got the tip of my finger blown off. I have never been so scared than that hour and a half taking a DANTES DSST exam.”

With his credits through DSST, Scott earned his degree and his job with Booz Allen. Fast forward ten years, and Scott is one year into his Prometric career. He recalls, during his job interview, someone brought up DSST. Scott stopped.

“You know that saved my life?” Thinking he was joking, polite laughs came in reply, and Scott continued. “You guys don’t understand. It did, literally, save my life.”

Didn’t see the embedded links? Listen, in Scott’s own words, how DSST and Prometric helped.


Audio: Chapter One

Audio: Chapter Two

Audio: Chapter Three

DSST exams are open to all military, veteran and civilian test takers and are widely accessible, with more than 1,200 Prometric sites available for testing candidates. More than 1,900 institutions accept DSST for college credit.

Last year, about 45,000 individuals used DSST to earn credits toward their degrees. Using DSST in place of traditional class schedules saves an average of $670 on tuition and up to 16 weeks’ time for a single college class. The most utilized DSST exams are Principles of Supervision, Principles of Public Speaking, Here’s to Your Health, Introduction to Computing and Ethics in America.

For more information on DSST, visit www.getcollegecredit.com.