Concurrent / Dual Enrollment

Last Updated: 03/31/2024

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Concurrent or dual enrollment means taking college courses while still in high school. The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP) defines concurrent enrollment as the subset of dual-enrollment courses taught by college-approved high school teachers in a secondary education environment. In concurrent and dual-enrollment courses, students receive a transcript based on performance in a college course. Concurrent and dual-enrollment courses are credit-bearing college courses. Students in these courses earn a college grade based on multiple and varied assessments throughout the course. They also earn transcripted college credit when they pass the course. 

Dual credit refers to the system under which an eligible high school student enrolls in college course(s) and receives credit for the course(s) from both the college and high school. 

State policymakers’ interest in dual enrollment is driven by its potential to smooth transitions between high school and college, increase college persistence and completion rates, and reduce college costs. Dual-enrollment courses give students the opportunity to experience advanced learning, earn high school and college credit simultaneously, and possibly lower their future college costs.

Three dual-enrollment options are commonly used by high schools and colleges: 

  1. The high school student travels to the college campus for college-level courses while continuing to take high school courses at the high school.
  2. College faculty travel to the high school or secondary career center to teach college-level courses to high school students.
  3. The high school student takes a course from a college instructor via distance education, either synchronous via interactive video or an asynchronous online platform. 

Many high schools offer an Early College Program that allows students to earn a high school diploma and college credit at the same time. 

As dual-enrollment programs have expanded overall, so too have such programs with a career and technical education focus. Eighty-two percent of high schools had students enrolling in dual-enrollment coursework a decade ago (2010-11), and nearly half of the schools had students participating through Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit programs. That translated into 601,500 students enrolled in CTE dual enrollment courses that year.

Relation to the Ecosystem

Concurrent or dual enrollment makes it possible for learners to earn college credits and work toward more than one credential at a time. This opportunity can smooth transitions between high school and college, increase college persistence and completion rates, and reduce students’ college costs.

Alternate Terms

Articulated Credit
Advanced Placement
Credit by Exam
Early College
Career and Technical Education Dual Credit


In the State of Washington, Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit, formerly known as Tech Prep, allows high school students to earn college credit for completing CTE courses taught by certified high school instructors. Through this program, community and technical colleges allow certified CTE teachers to deliver college-level CTE courses to students in grades 9-12 for dual high school and college credit. Courses are offered at the high school or skill center through an articulation agreement between the high school or school district and the college.

The Colorado Concurrent Enrollment program allows high school students to enroll in postsecondary courses and earn college credit at no tuition cost. Colorado data shows that students in Concurrent Enrollment programs are more likely to: enroll in college within one year following high school graduation, complete their postsecondary education, and have higher workforce earnings after postsecondary completion. In 2019-20, 40,098 students participated, with 98 percent of school districts and 91 percent of high schools offering Concurrent Enrollment programs.


Career and Technical Education (CTE) Dual Credit | SBCTC

Education Commission of the States. (June 20, 2022). 50-State Comparison: Dual/Concurrent Enrollment Policies

Zinth, J. (March 2014). CTE Dual Enrollment: A Strategy for College Completion and Workforce Investment. Education of the States  11150.pdf ( 

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