Last Updated: May 17, 2021
Studying for High School Diploma Online
A high school diploma in the United States of America is considered as the completion of basic education by law. It makes one eligible to apply for government jobs and also opens the gates to university education. Students are required to study a certain set of subjects and pass a test to earn this diploma.
Institutions that provide the online option for high school diplomas provide them with the option of doing a full-time program for 9-12 grades and also part-time summer schools and credit courses that can aid them in their endeavor. Students who are keen on completing their education quickly will be able to move at their own pace and even complete a 4-year course in only two years.
Surveys have found that high school diploma holders earn an average of $390,000 more than non-diploma holders in their entire careers. With such a lucrative measure of earning, many people are leaning towards graduating from high school. To enable adults who dropped out from school and wish to complete a high school diploma now, for homeschooled candidates and for students who wish to pursue a high school course on their own without tutoring at a regular school, many high schools and certification institutions have begun offering online high school diploma programs.
Pursuing an Online High School Diploma
Online High School Diplomas are offered as an opportunity for students to complete their education if they have been unable to do so in the past. The reasons for dropping out of high school may include factors like homeschooling, disability, bullying, etc. but at the end of the day, completing one’s education even after taking a break for a few years can help the student in achieving the job and salary they have always wanted.
The most common reasons for dropping out of high school may be academic failure owing to factors like bullying, drug use, mental illnesses, etc. along with other reasons like shortage of attendance due to physical health issues, pregnancy, and financial difficulties. There are also students who have been required to drop out of school in order to work and sustain their families. Such people often require a second chance at completing their education since earning a high school degree can often provide them with a substantial increase in the salary they receive.
There are also factors like self-esteem and empowerment that can be associated with earning a high school degree later in life. Online high school diplomas play a huge role in the lives of such people by offering them a second chance and letting them start over and improving their life.
Accreditations Required for Online High School Diploma Program
One of the main problems that students have to face while choosing an institution for their online high school education is the background check they have to run for the institution in order to ensure that the hours they spent studying do not go to waste. The candidate must ensure that the course they do provides them with a certificate upon completion and that the certificate is valued through the accreditations that the institution has.
Accreditations for institutions providing online programs can be regional in nature and have to be approved by the state the institution is in irrespective of where the student is from. It is also best to consider institutions that are recognized by the USDE or the US Department of Education. One will be able to visit the official site
for USDE and search their institution’s name in order to confirm whether it is recognized or not.
Some of the accreditations that institutions can have are from-
- WASC- The WASC is an abbreviation for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and is a credible accrediting association that provides accreditation to non-degree-granting adult schools and supplementary education programs implying that they provide high-quality learning.
- SACS- The SACSCOC is a regional body that provides accreditation for all the credible institutions for higher education in the Southern States.
- The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools- This Association provides accreditation to post-secondary schools, non-degree-granting public, private institutions among many others, and has the authority to accredit institutions both inside and outside the US.
Cost of Online High School Diploma
The cost of taking an Online High School Diploma varies from the kind of institution one chooses to take the course in. The three options they are presented with while choosing an institution are if it is a university, a chartered school, or a private institute. In the US, most institutions that offer the best online programs for High School diplomas are private institutions. But the cheapest option that people will have is to study in a chartered school.
Chartered schools like Penn Foster, Smart Horizons Career Online High School, James Madison High School Online, etc. provide online High School education free of cost. Public Institutions that offer courses online for free also have the option of providing study materials to students for free. On the other hand, studying at a private institute might generally cost around $99 per month if taken on a part-time basis or around $129 per month if taken full-time. They also charge additional rates for the study materials they provide.
Credits Required and Exit Exam for Online High School Diploma
The graduation requirements for Online High School programs are 21.5 credits for a standard High School Diploma and 24 credits for an Honors High School Diploma. The credit distribution is generally as follows for the primary subjects in the states of Alabama, District of Columbia, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The rest of the required credits have to be received from elective courses that are offered by the institution. The credit requirements change from state to state.
|Social Studies||4 credits|
The Exit Exam
is the final exam students have to clear in order to receive their high school diploma in hand. This exam will be conducted including all the primary subjects of study including English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies.
Credit Transfer for Online High School Diploma
Each college will have its own policy for transferring high school credits to its online course. Students will be able to avail their old high school credits by requesting official transcripts. Each institution will have a maximum number of credits that a student can transfer. This number will be dependent on the kind of program they are opting for.
Students will have to contact the institution they want to join and enquire about the credits that are transferable to the new program. After this clarification has been obtained, they can submit the necessary paperwork in order to complete the formalities for the same.
Providers of Online High School Diploma
Most online high school diplomas are accredited by some recognized accrediting body. However, it's important that students conduct a check to ensure their diplomas will be recognized by colleges and employers, before applying for a program.
There are several high school diploma programs offered online. Some focus on preparing a student for jobs, while others are suitable for those looking for a university education.
Online Charter Schools
Many publicly funded charter schools allow students wanting to pursue an online high school diploma program for free. Unlike regular public schools, charter schools have more freedom from government control, yet charge no tuition fee. Besides, they are more often than not affiliated with a recognized institution, which makes them a good option for earning an online high school diploma.
In fact, students of California and Minnesota have a state provision that allows them to enroll in online high school programs for free. Some schools have taken it a step forward by offering even study material and computer access for free to their online high school diploma students.
Some of the charter schools chosen for high school diploma are-
- University of Nebraska High School
- Excel Online High School
- Liberty University Online Academy
Many private schools offer online high school diplomas aligned to their own philosophy of study. Since tuition fee is considerably high in many such schools, it's important that students opting for these programs conduct a thorough check on the accreditation of these certificates. They need to verify if the transcripts of these courses are recognized by colleges and other businesses.
Some of the private schools that are chosen by candidates are-
- Penn Foster High School
- James Madison High School
- Franklin Virtual High School
- The Keystone School
Many universities are also entering the fray offering online high school diploma programs. The advantage that these universities have over many private schools is that they come from recognized institutions and, hence, dispel the fear of earning an un-recognized certificate of completion.
- Stanford University Online High School
- University of Missouri at Missouri Academy
- University of Texas at Austin High School
Equivalents of high school diplomas
- General Education Development (GED)
Developed by the American Education of Council in collaboration with educational services organization Pearson, the GED measures a candidate's proficiency in reading and writing of language, mathematics, social studies, and science. Students can appear for tests online and earn a high school diploma that is recognized by their respective federal government.
The GED tests are offered in over 3,200 centers and can be appeared for in English, Spanish, French, large print, and Braille. The test costs vary from region to region and are often calculated according to the number of subjects the candidate takes. The average cost is around $120 for 4 subtests..
- Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Founded in 1947, ETS is the world's largest private educational service offered by a non-profit organization offering high school diplomas called the HiSET or ETS High School Equivalency Test. The HiSET program tests candidate's knowledge of reading and writing of language, social studies, science, and mathematics.
Available in English and Spanish, the test fee varies from region to region but the base fee can be estimated to be $10 per subtest if it is computer-based and $15 if it is paper-based, which includes the costs for two retests.
- Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)
Introduced in January 2014 by McGraw-Hill and CBT, TASC is the latest entrant into online high school diploma certifications. TASC also assesses a candidate in reading and writing language skills, science, mathematics, and social studies.
The program is offered in English, Spanish, large print, and Braille.
Advantages of Online High School Diploma Program
Most of the students who choose to do an online High School Diploma often choose this stream due to the desire for completing their education that was left incomplete during high school and also due to practical reasons like getting a better paying job by adding this qualification. Since online programs offer them a certain level of flexibility, these people who are most often working in different fields will be able to both work and study at the same time thereby affording their own education and other expenses.
The most common benefits that are stated for Online High School Diploma programs are-
- Students can work at a pace comfortable to them and enjoy the flexibility of study hours.
- There's no distraction or pressure from regular school. Students can concentrate at their convenient hours to study.
- It helps students learn to specialize in subjects of interest.
- Students can earn the diploma faster than regular high school students.
- Almost everyone today has access to the internet. This makes reaching out to students and gathering information easy and efficient. Dissemination of curriculum and assessments is more simplified online.
- Improved access to study material.
- Online tests can give students their score soon after completion of the assessment, while those that require an evaluator's score is delivered faster than a pen and paper test as evaluators can view answers soon after the test is completed.
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Disadvantages of Online High School Diploma Program
- It's important for those opting for an online high school diploma to conduct a thorough check if the school they wish to enroll in offers a certificate that is recognized by businesses and universities.
- Students may benefit from a teacher for the study of certain subjects like mathematics and science.
- An online high school diploma program can deprive students of the joys of regular schoolings, such as proms and graduation days, and even peer connect.