No High School Diploma? No Problem; How to Get a Career and a High School Diploma At the same Time

No High School Diploma? No Problem; How to Get a Career and a High School Diploma At the same Time

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

What if not graduating high school could no longer hold you back?

There are many different reasons why someone might not be able to complete high school. However, once you begin your career, you may find that no high school diploma limits your career opportunities.

But what if you could have it all? It’s possible to pursue both your high school diploma and a new career at the same time. Keep reading to discover how to get started.

Options for Finishing High School

If you are reading this, then you are likely interested in going back and getting your high school diploma. The good news is that there are multiple ways you can either get a high school diploma, even if you have been out of school for many years. 

For example, if you dropped out of high school very recently, you may have some options to complete your missing work. This includes taking classes over the summer or (with the school’s permission) attending an “extra” year to finish your missing work.  You certainly would need to check with your high school for the options available to you.

However, most of those who wish to go back and complete high school are a little too old to stay an extra year in high school or complete some courses in summer school. These students might be better off exploring various adult education programs in their area or researching various accredited high school programs available to them to finish the diploma they desire to achieve.

Adult Education Programs

Later, our guide is going to walk you through some alternative certificates to the high school diploma. But if you are determined to finish high school and have aged out of things like summer school, then your best bet would be enrolling in an adult education program.

These programs are very straightforward. They allow applicants who are older than 18 to take classes and earn the credits they were missing. Once they complete enough credits, the student can receive their high school diploma.

It’s important to note that, depending on the program you apply to. Where you attend, you could be receiving a diploma similar to that which you would have received from traditional high school graduation. And that means it will open up a variety of opportunities to you, such as continuing to college or obtaining jobs that require you have a high school diploma.

What If I’m Younger Than 18?

Sometimes, those under 18 who drop out of high school may not have the option to stay an extra year at the high school or take classes in the summer. But, it is a good idea to first check with your high school to see if you can return.  If this is not an option, some students can enter adult education programs as minors, but only under very special conditions.

For example, such students can get written permission from their local school district to take Adult Ed courses instead of high school courses. Students who are pregnant or taking care of a baby can sign up without district permission. This is particularly useful if you had to drop out due to pregnancy.

Finally, an emancipated minor can sign up for adult ed classes regardless of age. 

The Adult Education programs are beneficial and very versatile, but they don’t work perfectly for everyone. That’s why it’s essential to understand what some of your alternative options are.

The High School Equivalency Test

One alternative option available is for you to take the High School Equivalency Test. This is a test designed by the Educational Testing Service and can usually only be taken by eligible students who are still attending high school but are interested in “testing out.”

This test comprises different subtests that assess you in math, reading, science, and social studies, with the fifth subtest including an essay. Aside from that essay, all sections are mostly made of multiple-choice questions.

IThe High School Equivalency Test is an excellent option for students who want to leave high school early or meet the requirements, but it is essential to check if you qualify.  Not everyone has this option available to them. Everyone else who can’t take this test and doesn’t want to take Adult Education courses should look to the GED as a valuable option.

The GED 

By far, the most popular option for students who didn’t graduate high school is completing the General Educational Development (GED) test. That is because this test is recognized around the country as a viable alternative to a high school diploma. And having a GED should allow you to land most of the careers and enroll in most colleges that would otherwise require a high school diploma.

The GED is just one big exam that lasts all day. The GED test is administered at testing centers throughout the country. If you end up passing some portions of the test and not others, you can retake the failed parts, but this usually requires paying an additional fee.

Studying for the GED

On paper, the GED might be very scary. For example, you may still have nightmares about hour-long tests back in high school. And now, you find yourself preparing to take a big test that takes up an entire workday!

Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to study for this test. First of all, those Adult Education programs we touched on earlier typically include GED prep options if you’d rather take that one test than go back and finish all your missing credits.

There are several over-the-counter GED prep books you can buy, and you can even hire the services of a local tutor to help you prepare. But don’t forget there are many free resources online, including a good Khan Academy video to help you prepare for the math portion of the GED test.

Finishing High School While Training For a New Career

Now you know about the many different options to help you finish high school or get an alternative certificate. But did you know that you can begin training for a new career even as you complete your high school diploma?  You must meet specific requirements and enroll in a high school diploma program that is an eligible career pathway program in partnership with your college.  Some vocational colleges will only allow you to enroll after receiving your earned high school diploma.  You will need to check with the college programs you would be eligible to enroll in concurrently with the vocational program.

If you are interested in starting a career while attending an approved high school diploma program, contact a school that participates in these programs to see if you qualify.

InterCoast offers students an opportunity to obtain a high school diploma while attending the training*! If you are interested in starting a career while attending an approved high school diploma program, you can call for more information at 1-877-227-3377 and see if you qualify!

*some restrictions may apply

Trade and Vocational Schools

There are many benefits that community colleges and trade schools share. However, trade and vocational schools have their unique advantages over both universities and community colleges.

Trade and vocational schools emphasize certificates that prepare you for entry-level employment after graduation. While plenty of college graduates struggle to find a career with their diplomas, trade and vocational school certificates provide excellent training for entry-level jobs.

Finally, trade and vocational schools are typically built with families and busy professionals in mind. Places like InterCoast make it more convenient for you to complete programs (many in around a year or less) without leaving your current job or disrupting your family life, thanks to great online options.

Your Next Move

Now you know that you can pursue a high school diploma while pursuing certificates from some trade schools. But do you know how to get started today?

Here at InterCoast, we make it convenient to apply for admissions consideration so that you can begin the next stage of your career if you qualify. We suggest you explore your options and apply online today!

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