A high school diploma is crucial to your future, especially in terms of employment. A July 1999 report from The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that individuals without a high school diploma suffered a 28.2% unemployment rate. And that was in the relatively stable job market of 1999. A high school diploma is necessary to enroll in college or higher education programs. Going through four years of traditional high school is often not feasible for adults without a diploma. There are options to get a high school diploma at home.

Choose an online program that fits your needs and schedule. There are many high schools and educational organizations offering high school diploma programs online. Some take only a few short weeks or even days to complete, while others have programs that take more than a year. Many offer credit for life or work experience. Some programs simply test your knowledge in areas like history, English, math and science while others require you to take courses and pass exams.

Fill out the required forms. Every online program will require you provide some personal information. Be sure to fill out these forms completely and accurately, as the information you provide will be used on your diploma and transcripts. For some of the programs you'll to need provide information on education you've already received.

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Read the terms and conditions carefully. While many of the programs offered are indeed free, many will charge you for a "graduation packet" or to send you an official diploma and transcript. Without the actual diploma and related documentation you'll have no proof of your education. Some of these costs can be several hundred dollars.

Consider a G.E.D. While not identical to a high school diploma, the General Equivalency Diploma is accepted by many employers and colleges. There are several online educational organizations that offer free G.E.D. study programs, but you can not take the G.E.D. test online. That is only given through a local school system and usually there is a modest fee for taking the test.

Things Needed

  • Computer with Internet access
  • Printer
  • Access to your previous school records

About the Author

Jerry Romick has worked in radio and television for more than 30 years, often contributing to radio publications and websites. He is also an avid motorcyclist who has written about motorcycles for sites such as AllAboutBikes and PowerSportsTV. Romick holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from West Liberty State College.