Where to Begin?
Students come to CCAC for a variety of reasons and at various times in their life. Some seek a degree, while others want to upgrade employment skills or simply take courses for personal enjoyment. All are valid reasons for attending CCAC.
The first step is to assess goals, abilities and interests and develop an educational plan. CCAC provides complete academic advising, counseling and career planning and job placement services to help answer these and other questions:
- What do I want from CCAC?
- What kind of career do I want in the future?
- Will this career bring me the rewards I want in life?
- How much education does this career require?
- How long will it take for me to acquire this education?
- What is the most effective way to begin this plan?
Whether students are seeking personal enrichment, preparing to transfer to a four-year school or expanding their career skill base, CCAC has services and resources available to help. Almost all of the college’s academic programs may be started at any of the four campuses or college centers, but specific courses required in a program may be offered at only one of the college campuses.
Applying For Admission
Students may apply to the Community College of Allegheny County through an online application at ccac.edu. If necessary, paper applications can be obtained at the campuses and in the credit magazine. Those completed applications should be returned to the Admissions office at the campus the student plans to attend. The Community College of Allegheny County has an open admission policy. ACT and SAT scores are not required but should be submitted if the student has taken them.
To become a CCAC student, a person should have a high school diploma or the Pennsylvania General Education Development (GED) certificate or should be over 18 years of age with reasonable equivalent experience.
Students are required to submit high school transcripts. Full-time* degree-seeking students and students planning to enroll in courses with English, reading and/or mathematics prerequisites are required to take placement tests. Scores on the placement tests help the student and academic advisor determine whether, at the time of registration, the student has the skills necessary to succeed in specific college classes. To help students in this effort, college faculty have assessed the level of difficulty of classes they teach and determined what the appropriate minimum test score should be to successfully begin the class.
* Part-time degree-seeking students must complete their placement tests once they have achieved 12 credits.
- GED testing is now exclusively computer-based and administered at authorized GED testing centers only. No legitimate GED test is offered via the internet.
- For information about registration, payment, scheduling, and testing locations, please visit GED.com
- If you took the GED test in Pennsylvania prior to December 31, 2013 and did not pass, you may be allowed to combine partial scores from your test to qualify for the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma.
To determine if your prior scores qualify, go to ccac.edu/GED-information GED Test Scores FAQ and follow the instructions there.
More detailed GED program policy and procedures information is available at ccac.edu/GED-information.
If a student is under 18 years of age and has neither graduated from high school nor received a GED, the student may need to meet with an academic dean to determine the appropriate coursework. Current high school students may be eligible for either the dual enrollment or concurrent enrollment program and should discuss either with the Admissions office at any campus or with the student’s high school guidance counselor.
Limited Admission Programs
Admission to the college does not constitute admission to a limited enrollment program. Enrollment in these programs is limited by availability of clinical sites, employment opportunities, accreditation requirements and other factors. If a student indicates a preference for one of these limited admissions programs, the student will be sent complete information on the process. For more information, go to ccac.edu/limited-enrollment-specialty-programs.
The Dual Enrollment program at CCAC provides high school students with the opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school. Students can jump-start their college career and experience the college classroom.
Students wishing to take advantage of the Dual Enrollment program must have the approval of their high school and their parents. Dual Enrollment students must take CCAC college placement tests if they plan to enroll in either an English or a mathematics course. Students planning to enroll in a course with English, reading and/or mathematics prerequisites are also required to take placement tests. A transcript of the student’s high school grades must accompany the application. Applications for Dual Enrollment are available in the Admissions offices or on the CCAC website at ccac.edu/dual-concurrent-enrollment.
International Students Services
CCAC provides support to and ESL placement testing for all students attending CCAC on an F1 visa. Please be advised, additional admissions documentation is required for students applying to the school for an F1 visa. The international student admissions packet can be requested through the International Students office. CCAC’s International Students office also provides ESL placement testing for all students (including permanent residents) whose first language is not English. Students may request additional information by calling the International Students office at 412.237.2629. For more information, go to ccac.edu/International.
College Placement Tests
CCAC’s college placement tests measure each student’s academic skill level in writing, reading and mathematics. They are designed to help students and the college to determine courses in which they will be most successful. Although students cannot fail these tests, they should try to do their best because the results will determine where they will begin their studies at the college.
Important Information. Students should review these items before scheduling placement tests:
- Testing is required for all full-time associate degree-seeking students.
- Testing is required for students planning to enroll in courses with English, reading and/or mathematics prerequisites (see exemptions below).
- Part-time associate degree-seeking students must complete their placement tests once they have achieved 12 credits.
- These tests are offered in a computerized format.
- Placement tests are free.
- Students should apply to the college before taking placement tests.
- Placement tests are given in writing (vocabulary and usage), mathematics and reading (vocabulary and comprehension).
- Placement tests are offered at regular times throughout the year, with extra testing sessions scheduled before each term. A student may schedule a testing session online via ccac.edu/placement-tests.
- Early testing means early admission and early registration, a better chance to get the most desired classes at the most desired times.
- Students may review testing tips and sample questions by going to CCAC’s Placement Testing page at ccac.edu/placement-tests.
- Students may retake each test once.
- The length of time required to take placement tests varies, depending on how many of the tests a student needs to take. The complete set of tests requires approximately one-and-a-half to two hours.
- All materials the students need will be provided when they come to a test session.
- Students are required to bring photo identification to the test.
- The student’s responsibility is to arrive well-rested, calm and on time.
- Test results are available to students shortly after they take the tests.
- Test results will be interpreted for students when they meet with their academic advisor.
- A student may retest for placement out of a course in which he/she was enrolled after four years.
- Once a student has retested after four years and scores into the same course(s) for which he/she was enrolled, there is no further alternative, regardless of the result.
- Along with a student’s educational record, test results will determine the student’s initial placement in English, mathematics and reading skills classes.
- Testing is available for students whose first language is not English. Call the International Students office at 412.237.2629 for more information.
Schedule Placement Tests
Once you are accepted, and prior to registration for classes, you may schedule your placement tests.
- For in-person placement testing, use appointment Central.
- Remote placement testing is available to applicants outside the geographic region.
For details on how to schedule your tests, please go to ccac.edu/placement-tests.
Placement Test Exemptions
Students may not need to take all or part of the placement tests if any of the following apply to them:
- They already have a college degree.
- They have already taken college-level English and/or mathematics and received a grade of C or better.
- They are pursuing a certificate or degree program which does not include English, reading or mathematics prerequisites.
- They are taking a class or classes that have no specified skill requirements.
Students who submit an official final high school transcript with an unweighted cumulative GPA of 2.8 or better (or 78% for schools with a percentile grading system) are exempt from taking the English and reading placement tests. High school graduation must have occurred witin five years of enrollment at CCAC. International, home school and GED documentation are not accepted for this exemption. (Effective Spring 2018)
Students with SAT or ACT verbal test scores above the 50th percentile will be exempt from reading placement testing, but still must take the English writing test, (there is no SAT/ACT exemption for English.) Students with SAT or ACT mathematics scores above the 50th percentile will be exempt from developmental math courses, but must complete the placement test if intending to take a course above the MAT 108 - Intermediate Algebra level. Verbal and mathematics scores are reported separately.
Students need to document any exemptions that apply at the Admissions office when they apply for admission to the college.
Students should remember that the textbooks used in classes are written for students with college-level reading skills. The reading placement test will help students determine whether they need additional help in this area.
Students may not retest for placement out of a course in which they are enrolled once the class has begun; any change in placement at that point will be at the discretion of the instructor of that course.
First-time,* degree-seeking students who place into the first level of developmental reading must take DVS 060 and DVS 070 in their first semester.
SDS 102—Student Success Course
Any first-time*, full-time, associate degree-seeking student who places into all three developmental areas (including ESL), regardless of the level, must take SDS 102 Academic and Personal Development in the first semester. More information available at Academic Planning .
*First-time is defined as attending CCAC for the first time