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Taking Online High School Courses for Credit

By: Jordin Frey

If you didn't finish high school and are busy juggling work and family, taking online high school classes for credit can help you get your diploma. Online courses are also good for students who want to graduate early. You can get your diploma faster by taking more classes outside of your regular classroom. In either case, you'll find that taking online high school courses for credit has more flexibility than traditional schooling. There are also many learning options out there that fit different learning styles.

For some students, participating in live classes conducted online and interacting with teachers through a chat box can be a great way to learn. Others may find that watching prerecorded lessons and virtually connecting with teachers and peers is a more convenient option. With the right program, you'll be able to earn your diploma. Maybe you’ll even continue on to higher education.

Earning Your High School Diploma: How Many Credits Are Necessary?

The number of high school classes and credits needed for graduation varies by state. The national average is around 24 credits. This typically includes four English classes, three math and science classes, and at least two social sciences classes. Students may also need to take electives in other subjects to earn the rest of the necessary credits. The intent behind requiring these high school classes and credits is to ensure that students gain a core understanding of the world. It also lets them explore topics they are interested in and possible careers.

Is Taking Online High School Courses for Credit as Good as Taking Courses in Person?

Yes: When you sign up with an accredited school to take high school classes online for credit, you’ll be held to the same standards as students attending in-person classes. You'll need to meet the same requirements for earning your diploma. And when you finish high school online, you'll be on equal footing with students who graduated from traditional schools. While taking online high school classes for credit gives you more flexibility in how and when you learn, the result will be the same: a high school diploma you can hang on your wall, add to your résumé, or use to go on to college.


*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, on the internet at, (visited July 29, 2021). Statements found at the United States Department of Labor are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.