Going through high school in Alabama or any other American state is fundamentally simple. First, you go through four years of school to graduate with a high school diploma; then, you can take a job or go straight into college.
But suppose you are curious about graduating from high school and making sure you make it to the graduation hall in a fancy goal and walk out with an even fancier paper. If that’s the case, we bet that you want to know how many credits it will take to graduate high school in Alabama.
Luckily for you, you have us. In our article, we’ll tell you all about how many credits to graduate from high school, how to get those credits, what elective credits you need, and how to graduate early.
Before you know it, you will go from Alabama freshman to Alabama graduate!
What are Credits in High School?
Students in high school are meant to learn the fundamental groups of knowledge to prepare them for the life that is well ahead of high school, including college and getting a job. Once they complete all of their required classes—and then some—they are able to earn their high school diploma and leave a graduating high school student.
High schools reward their students for passing their classes with credits. What is a credit, you ask? It is a measurement of your work in class. More specifically, a single credit in many schools measures 120 hours of school work. A semester in high school lasts from January to May or June and from August to November or December if you don’t count holiday breaks, Spring Break, Summer Break, and other chosen or mandated breaks; or in other words, a credit’s worth of school. You need to get enough credits in order to graduate high school, get your diploma, and never look back.
The precise number of credits you need to pass high school varies between high schools and education districts. Thankfully, we only need to understand the rules of Alabama’s high school departments to know how to graduate from high school in Alabama.
But how exactly do you graduate high school in Alabama? What number of credits do you need to get a high school diploma?
What are the Required Credits for High School in Alabama?
In order to graduate from high school in Alabama, a student would need twenty-four credits. Specifically, they would need:
- Requirements in English and Social Studies: English and Social Studies field consists of four English credits, from grades 9 to 12, and four Social Studies credits between United States History, World History, United States Government, and Economics,
- Requirements in Mathematics: Math is made up of four math credits in Algebra and Geometry,
- Requirements in Science: you need four credits in Biology and a physical science class such as Chemistry,
- Finally, there are the non-standard requirements, which include a 1.5 credit in physical education and health (or, alternatively, you can get a credit in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (or JROTC), three credits in Career Technical Education, foreign language, and arts, and 2.5 credits in electives.
For students who had to drop out of high school for whatever reason to gain their diploma, there are additional options for you, such as getting a GED: however, it would have nothing to do with obtaining credits, so it is not particularly relevant.
Students who are in high school are expected to earn these credits during their time. Their curriculum is specifically designed to allow them to get these credits within four years and without too much difficulty unless a student cannot pass their classes for a particular reason.
If this explanation is not giving you a good idea of how you can graduate from high school, then perhaps we can help you by giving you a specific idea for a student. For example, how many credits should a 10th grader in high school have?
How Many Credits Should a 10th Grader Have?
You should trust us when we say that even if you are behind in your credits, you do not have much to worry about as a 10th Grader. As a 10th Grader, you are only a mere sophomore, one year into high school. As a sophomore, you have barely completed the first year of your core classes, likely haven’t even made it to the electives yet, and are also likely now allowed to take extracurricular activities like joining a club or doing sports.
A given year in high school will likely have you complete six to seven classes. As a sophomore, you should have six or seven credits, and those credits should be in simple courses like Algebra I, English I, and Biology. If you have failed a class in a previous year, you may have to repeat the class at a later date at best or have to repeat the entire year at worst—though the latter is a practice much more common in elementary school and middle school than it is for high school.
In essence, by the 10th Grade, you will have a nice start, but nowhere enough to think about graduation. In fact, this is a time where you get to consider how you are going to tackle the rest of your classes as a sophomore, junior, and senior. What is unique to high school is that you can choose electives—classes that are entirely your choice. While you still need to get a certain amount of elective credits, they can be virtually anything you want.
Now you may be asking: how many elective credits do you need to graduate high school? Electives are classes you can choose, so it is an excellent question to ask. However, believe it or not, but the answer is rather underwhelming.
How Many Elective Credits to Graduate High School in Alabama?
Not many elective credits are needed to graduate high school in Alabama—as stated before, a student only needs 2.5 credits in electives. High school electives include classes in Computer Science, Information Technology, Business, Foreign Languages (in which case, the credit will be on top of the required foreign language credits), and any additional classes in the required fields. If you like earning your physical education credit, you can take a class that satisfies that desire.
Many schools offer a variety of electives that are a good way for you to make your high school life more enjoyable. If you can, you should take classes you are most interested in taking and get outside your comfort zone.
However, taking electives will not cut it if you are interested in graduating early from high school. No, to achieve such a feat, you will have to change how you approach high school in general and, most importantly, be prepared to take on additional work in a shorter time, as we will now get right into it.
Can You Graduate High School Early in Alabama?
Graduating high school early in any state would require that you somehow obtain the credits well before the second semester of your senior year in high school. For many schools, this is almost impossible as they insist that students must go through their entire four years.
However, there are many avenues for one to graduate from high school early in Alabama. First and foremost, you would have to tell your guidance counselors and principal beforehand. For some schools, such as the Selma City Schools district, you are only allowed to do this in your junior year to graduate in the first semester of your senior year. In addition, you must have already acquired the required credits as deemed by the state (as seen above) before you begin your senior year and the additional credits required by your school’s district before you end your first semester as a senior.
As for how you acquire those credits early: in many cases, it would require that you consult your counselor to allow you to take more classes per year or pursue avenues in which to get extra credit. Both options will put you into a position of needing to put in more work in school than the standard six to seven classes a year.
Some schools have a dedicated early graduation course taken relatively early in a student’s curriculum that puts them on a fast track to early graduation.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Credits to Graduate High School in Alabama?
By the time you have reached the end of this article, you may have gotten a pretty clear idea of what it takes to get a high school diploma in Alabama. You know how many credits you need and how to earn those credits, where the average student is supposed to be in terms of credits, what electives you can take to have more fun in high school, and finally, how to graduate early in case you are already tired of the high school life. Graduating from high school in Alabama is the same as in any other state—you just need the patience and will to make it go through.
Want to see how many credits it takes to graduate from high school in other states?