Clickable Institute offers FREE Workforce Training Program

Sign up for FREE access to the online ACT Workkeys Workforce Curriculum and Earn your National Career Readiness Certificate.  This is a self-paced, online program.  You can start anytime.  Registration is on a rolling basis.  For more information and/or to register, please contact us. 

What is ACT WorkKeys?

ACT WorkKeys is a series of assessments that measures skills essential for success in the 21st century workplace.  The ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (ACT WorkKeys NCRC) is a credential issued based on competencies on three assessments: Applied Math, Graphic Literacy, and Workplace Documents.  Examinees must score at least a 3 or higher on each of the three assessments to earn an ACT WorkKeys NCRC, which is issued at four levels – Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

The purpose of the ACT WorkKeys tests is to measure your abilities in a variety of workplace skills so that you (and potentially your teacher/boss) can see where your strengths and weaknesses are in professional areas.

ACT WorkKeys are designed to be applicable across many career fields, so there isn’t a specific type of professional who should take these tests. They are most often taken by four groups of people:

  • Those wanting to prove their skills in certain areas, either to get a new job or to move up in their current profession.
  • Those who want to learn more about which careers they’re best suited for.
  • Employees whose bosses ordered the tests to match employee skills to available jobs and determine what additional training/hiring is needed.
  • Students whose teachers have them take the WorkKeys to better prepare them for entering the workforce and choosing a career.

However, anyone can take the ACT WorkKeys tests. You might take the ACT WorkKeys at your school or office if they ordered the test. However, if you decide to take the test on your own, there are hundreds of test center locations throughout the United States where you can test year-round. The price varies depending on whether an individual or company is ordering the test, as well as how many tests are ordered. Typically though, it’ll cost between $20-$40 per test.

You can take as many of the ACT WorkKey exams as you’d like, as many times as you’d like, and you can choose which scores you send to employers or schools.

What Are the Types of ACT WorkKeys Tests?

There are eight separate ACT WorkKey tests, and we give a brief overview of each below, explaining what the test overs, how many questions you’ll answer, how long the test lasts, and whether it can be taken on the computer or with pencil and paper. The first six WorkKeys are similar to standard tests, where you receive a score between 0 and 7.

The final two, Fit and Talent, don’t have correct answers like regular tests, but are instead meant to help the test-takers (and potentially their teachers/bosses) determine their strengths and weaknesses and see examples of careers that might be the best fit for them.

Applied Math

Measures critical thinking, mathematical reasoning, and problem solving techniques. Some specific topics tested include solving equations, analyzing charts and tables, and manipulating rates or ratios. A calculator is allowed, and students will be provided with a formula sheet.

  • Number of questions: 34
  • Length: 55 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: both

Graphic Literacy

Measures skills needed to read and comprehend graphical materials, such as graphs, diagrams, floor plans, flow charts, and maps.

  • Number of questions: 38
  • Length: 55 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: both

Workplace Documents

Measures ability to read workplace documents, such as emails, directions, bulletins, contracts, and websites, and use that information to make job-related decisions and solve problems.

  • Number of questions: 35
  • Length: 55 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: both

Applied Technology

Measures skills in four areas of technology: electricity, mechanics, fluid dynamics, and thermodynamics. The focus is on reasoning, not math, so there are no calculations or formulas to solve on this test.

  • Number of questions: 34
  • Length: 55 minutes (computer version), 45 minutes (pencil and paper version)
  • Computer or pencil and paper: both

Business Writing

Measures the ability to write a response to a work-related situation. The student will be graded on factors such as  sentence structure, mechanics, grammar, organization, focus, and development of ideas.

  • Number of questions: 1 prompt
  • Length: 30 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: computer only

Workplace Observation

Measures skills in observing, following, understanding, and evaluating processes, demonstrations, and other workplace procedures. It requires the test taker to follow instructions, observe procedures, make inferences, and evaluate judgments, sometimes while filtering out distractions.

  • Number of questions: 35
  • Length: 55 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: computer only


Measures the test-taker’s interests and values and matches them to different occupations.

  • Number of questions: 102
  • Length: 15-20 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: computer only


Measures work-related attitudes and behaviors to help employers determine how best to develop current employees and which types of new employees would be the best fit. Measures factors such as sociability, discipline, and creativity.

  • Number of questions: 165
  • Length: 30-35 minutes
  • Computer or pencil and paper: computer only

What Is the National Careers Readiness Certificate?

If you want to take the WorkKeys assessments one step further, you can get your National Careers Readiness Certificate (NCRC). The NCRC is a credential that can show employers you have work skills needed to succeed at a job. Like the WorkKeys tests themselves, the NCRC isn’t meant for a specific career field, and it is designed to be applicable to all workers.

To earn an NCRC, you need to take three WorkKeys assessments: Applied Math, Workplace Documents, and Graphic Literacy (each of these tests is also available in Spanish).  There are four levels of NCRC certification: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Here are the requirements for each:

  • Bronze: Score of 3 or higher on each of the three exams
  • Silver: Score of 4 or higher on each of the three exams
  • Gold: Score of 5 or higher on each of the three exams
  • Platinum: Score of 6 or higher on each of the three exams

Roughly 19% of test-takers who receive an NCRC credential receive the Gold or Platinum level, which designates them as qualified for over 93% of jobs in the WorkKeys Job Pro database.

A study conducted by ACT, Inc. (the creators of the WorkKeys assessments) has shown that having an NCRC can help you get a job faster by showing employers you have the skills they’re in need of. In another study, they also found having an NCRC can help you get a higher salary compared to not having the certification.

To be honest, having an NCRC doesn’t automatically open every door for you, even if you get a top certification, but if you’re struggling to prove you have certain skills, it’s a fairly easy and accepted way to show your abilities which can help you get a job or a raise faster.

You can take all three exams on the same day, or spread them as far apart as you’d like. If you qualify for the NCRC, you’ll receive a certificate, as well as information you can include on your resume or job application so your credentials can be verified.

Note to Employers:

If you are an employer and would like to sponsor veterans for their workforce training program, please do not hesitate to contact us.