Alternatives to a High School Diploma

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There are a number of high school diploma alternatives that can be earned from the comfort of home. This article discusses many of them.
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Alternatives to a High School Diploma

Getting a high school diploma can be difficult for some students and there are several reasons why a student may not be able to attend a high school or receive homeschooling. Other students may have to leave school early. There are alternatives to a high school diploma for various reasons.


GED stands for the General Equivalency Diploma. It is a high school equivalency certificate which is received after successfully completing the GED test. The test covers basic high school subjects, such as writing, social studies, science, reading and math. For many companies, the GED is a substitute for a high school diploma. This option works well for students who are returning to school.

Proficiency Exams

Some states offer proficiency exams in addition to GEDs. These exams vary with state regulations. One example is the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE). This exam is much like the GED and covers similar material. The certificate received upon completion is considered to be a substitute for a high school diploma. The significant differences between these exams and the GED are the criteria for taking the test. Students can usually take proficiency exams at the age of 16, as long as he or she has finished sophomore year. GEDs usually require one to be at least 18, though there are exceptions.

Occupational Diploma

Those at the National Center of Secondary Education and Transition ( say that this is an option for students who are enrolled in vocational programs. An occupational diploma certifies that the student is well-trained in a specific field. They recommend this type of diploma for students who want to or need to enter the workforce immediately.

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