What are Online Diplomas?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Online diplomas are certificates indicating the successful completion of a particular course of study by using an online learning method, such as distance learning. It is possible today to obtain high school diploma online as well as complete college level studies and receive an accredited diploma online for many majors. However, not all online diplomas are issued by accredited institutions.

Since the early 1990’s, many traditional universities have created online campuses to augment their brick and mortar locations. Depending on the structure of the distance learning programs offered by a given college or university, the student may be required to attend a minimum number of classes at a physical location as well as attend classes in a virtual environment. However, advances in online communications have led to the development of many degree programs that make it possible to obtain online diplomas without ever visiting a physical campus.

Completing high school coursework is now an option in many jurisdictions. At times, a specific school operates the online program. However, it is more common for the program to be structured and administered by a county, parish, or state level board of education. Students who are physically unable to attend regular classes are eligible for enrollment and can obtain online diplomas without having to go through a General Education program to earn a high school diploma equivalent certificate.


Along with distance learning options offered by brick and mortar high schools and universities, a number of Internet-based colleges, theological schools, and vocational training centers have come into being. This has led to difficulty for students in identifying which online programs are accredited by a recognized educational agency and which ones are not. Many unaccredited learning centers are up-front about the status of their programs and make it a point to inform prospective students that their offerings are not accredited. However, others choose to seek accreditation from an offshore institution. This creates a situation where the online diplomas issued by the Internet-based institution may or may not be considered a legitimate educational certificate.

With accredited institutions that operate online, the options for pursuing diploma programs online have expanded greatly since the beginning of the 21st century. Part of this is due to the increased acceptance of online learning, as well as the efforts of educational institutions to ensure the online coursework and options for interaction with instructors and other students is equal to that offered in a traditional classroom setting.

People often find that obtaining a school diploma online makes it possible to integrate attending classes with other responsibilities such as work and family time. Because many of the courses are available around the clock, students can schedule in time without dealing with rushing from work to attend a class, or having to forego family activities because a necessary course is only available on specific days.

When an accredited online university is chosen, the resulting online diplomas are often recognized by employers and others in a manner that is similar to those issued to students who physically attended classes in brick and mortar setting. As more work and educational pursuits shift to the use of the Internet, there is every chance that any lingering resistance to online diplomas will soon be a thing of the past.



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