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USCI High School

Are Online High School Diplomas Legitimate?

By: Katelyn Fahrenbruck Weston

A high school diploma is required by many employers. For many people, finishing school and earning their high school diploma online is a great option. Non-traditional students like the flexibility of online schooling because they can still work and care for their families. But with all of the different options out there, finding the right online high school program can be hard. Some may wonder, “Are high school diplomas online real?" The answer is yes, online high schools are legitimate – as long as the school is accredited. With the right online high school program, you can graduate with a legitimate high school diploma and transcript that will help you reach your goals and open up many rewarding career paths.

How to Tell if an Online High School Program Is Legitimate

There are legitimate online high schools. But you also need to be aware that there are some high school diploma scams. Students need to do their research when choosing an online high school program. The most important thing to look for in a program is whether or not the school offering the program is accredited. Accreditation means that the school met an outside group's standards of quality. There are a few scam schools that say they are accredited when they are not. So, you need to look for accreditation from an accrediting body listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. This is how you can ensure that the online school you're looking at is legit.

Recognizing High School Diploma Scams

There are three telltale signs that an online high school diploma program is a scam. Look out for these red flags to make sure that you enroll in a reputable program.

  1. The program charges money for your diploma. Scam programs often claim that classes are free, but you have to pay for your diploma. This is always a scam. Avoid any programs making these claims.
  2. The program claims that you can earn your diploma right away. The value of a high school diploma is in the education received, not the diploma itself. Getting an education takes time. Any program that says you'll have your diploma after a few days or months is a scam. This diploma will not be accepted anywhere.
  3. The school says it is affiliated with the federal government. No high school diploma programs are organized by the federal government. All courses of study are approved by state governments or private schools.

Your education is an important investment in your future. These scams can cause big problems. They will be rejected for jobs, the military, and college programs. On top of that, victims lose the money they paid for a diploma that isn't worth anything. If you come across any of these scams, you should report them to the FTC or your state attorney general.