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How can I Earn my High School Diploma Online?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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It is becoming increasingly easier to earn a high school diploma online and there are several different ways students young or old can pursue this degree. Yet any discussion of online education must begin with mentioning how important it is to search for an accredited school. In the US, this means looking for a school that is accredited by the Distance Education Training Council, or one of the six regional agencies which are: Middle States Associations of Schools and Colleges, North Central Association on Accreditation and School Improvement, Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Southern Association of Schools and Colleges, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, or Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Failure to sign up with a property accredited school may mean that all the work counts as nothing, and any education received may not count toward earning higher degrees.

There are several different structures of schools in which people can earn a high school diploma online. Many schools are private, which means people will sign up, and pay tuition per each class or for each quarter or semester. Some of these schools are open to students of any age, and if people have been longing to earn their diploma after dropping out of high school years ago, they may find these private schools a good option.

Another option, which can help for those on tight budgets, is to attend an online public or charter school. These usually don’t cost anything, but they might have limitations on age of student, usually not allowing students who are older than 21. Public schools will have curriculum that very closely matches the curriculum found in the area where they’re located. They’re bound by state agencies to teach certain subjects and students may have to study these in order to earn a high school diploma online.

An online charter school is a viable choice to earn a high school diploma online. It is also free and it’s organized with fewer limitations on curriculum than are public schools. These schools may still need to meet minimum standards, and in both types of schools, students may need to take exit examinations in order to earn a high school diploma online. Yet students at charter schools may get to make more choices about what they study.

Thus when students look to the schools that offer online high school education, they will have several choices. A student isn’t limited to choosing schools that are physically located in his/her area. Provided the school is accredited in the US, the diploma will count in the US. People in other countries will need to investigate their accrediting agencies to make sure they attend a reputable school too.

The work then comes down, as it always does, to studying, taking classes and passing them, and the time this takes may depend on the grade level in which the student begins. Some schools allow people to move more quickly and at their own pace, and others are more formally structured into time-limited classes. In both cases, once students have completed all requirements of the school, they’ll be presented with a high school diploma.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon333584 — On May 06, 2013

I've passed my English, but my only problem is math. I didn't pass the Math by one point three times that I've taken it. I've been out of high school for over two years and still can't pass it. Some people might think I'm an idiot but I'm not.

On my homework, I would get A's and B's and on my tests I would fail. I don't understand where I was going wrong. It's unfair.

I want my diploma more than anything in the world and students aren't using it to its full potential. I hate going to Adult School waiting for the results when I could be going to college and getting my degree. I feel so incomplete without my diploma and can't seem to move on. Without it, I feel useless.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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