What Degree Do You Get from High School?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Are you a high school student wondering what degree you can get from high school? Are you planning your future after high school and wondering what your high school degree can do for you? If you answered yes to any of the questions, this article is for you. The few classes towards the end of high school come with different uncertainties for different people. As expected, students often wonder what they can achieve with the degree they’ll earn. They also wonder what requirements they’ll have to fulfill to earn the degree. This article answers all the important questions going through your mind about a high school degree.

What is a High School Degree?What is a High School Degree?

A high school degree is a school-leaving qualification awarded to a student after graduation. It is more appropriately termed “high school diploma” because many people do not consider a high school qualification a degree and believe that degrees are only obtained in colleges and other higher institutions. A high school degree could also be a high school certificate. Basically, owning a high school degree means you have completed high school.

Now that we have established that what you can receive in high school is a diploma or a certificate let’s define these terms. A diploma is a certification deed awarded by an educational institution to a person to indicate that the person has successfully completed their academic program according to the requirements and expectations of the educational institution in question.

Meanwhile, a certificate is an official document attesting that the holder has completed a program. Therefore, a high school diploma is a certificate issued by a high school to a student to show that the student has attended the high school and has met all the requirements needed to graduate from the high school. On the other hand, a high school certificate is one issued to a student to attest that the student completed high school.

What's the Difference Between a High School Diploma and a Certificate?

What’s the Difference Between a High School Diploma and a Certificate?

There are two “degrees” you can receive in high school – the high school diploma and the high school certificate. While these two qualification deeds are issued upon completion of high school, they are pretty different.

As mentioned earlier, a high school diploma is issued to a student who has completed all the requirements in high school. On the other hand, a high school certificate is given to a student for the completion of high school, not necessarily considering the requirements. This means that you will receive a high school diploma only if you meet up with the academic and non-academic requirements of the school, district, and state. You can be issued a high school certificate if you do not meet the high school diploma requirements but completed high school. In terms of issuance, the high school certificate is more flexible than the high school diploma.

The high school diploma requirements include a pass in English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, and elective subjects. Consistent good grades in these subjects might earn you an Honors Diploma. The honors diploma favors students who hope to get into Ivy League Schools where only the best students are admitted.

With a high school diploma, you can join the military, sign up for government student aid and apply to colleges. However, these institutions do not accept a high school certificate. Some colleges occasionally accept promising students with only a high school certificate. Generally, high school diploma holders are more favored in many institutions than high school certificate holders. Even in an employment setting, you are more likely to get a job as a high school diploma holder than another person with the same skills as you holding a high school certificate.

What is the Alternative to Earning a High School Diploma?

What is the Alternative to Earning a High School Diploma?

If you were unable to earn a standard high school degree for one reason or the other, there are other alternatives to earning a high school diploma.

Students with high school certificates are allowed to meet with the school cooperation for the issuance of a high school diploma, especially if the students are with disabilities.

If it is not possible to see the school corporation, or you do not have the complete high school experience, there are external high schools that can help you with that. The National External Diploma Program (NEDP), for instance, is suitable for adults who are yet to get a high school diploma. Because the NEDP is primarily targeted at adults, the program offers a flexible learning system. In the end, a traditional high school diploma is awarded to members who pass the necessary assessments. Unlike the high school setting, which is almost completely academic, the NEDP educational system is usually concerned with real-life experiences. This means that the students taking this program can demonstrate their skills and knowledge and are assessed based on these skills and knowledge.

Before one is allowed to participate in the national external diploma program, an assessment test is taken. This test follows a 12th-grade format. Therefore, whoever wants to obtain a high school diploma through this program must understand 12th-grade subjects.

The Veteran’s High School Diploma is another alternative to earning a high school diploma. An honorary high school diploma would be issued to the veterans who were unable to complete high school due to their service in the military during wars.

What is Equivalent to a High School Diploma?

What is Equivalent to a High School Diploma?

A common high school diploma equivalent is the General Equivalency Diploma (GED). A GED is an acceptable qualification in colleges and workplaces. You are also eligible to join the military with a GED. This diploma is issued to persons who did not complete high school earlier and wish to continue after a while or immigrants whose home country’s educational system is different from that of the US.

The GED is an equivalency diploma that can be obtained within months, unlike the high school diploma, which takes years to obtain. With a good SAT or ACT score, you can use your GED to apply to any college of your choice.

A vocational diploma is another alternative to a high school diploma. This certification is more suitable and acceptable for technical jobs that require proficiency in specific skills. It is a high school diploma equivalent that can also be obtained within months, unlike the traditional diploma. The period could be extended to years, depending on the field of study. It is also beneficial to people who already know what vocational course they want to major in or which field they want to work in. All they have to do is sign up for a training program for the skill required and obtain the vocational diploma that attests that they have completed training for that skill.

A vocational diploma can also be obtained if a skill for one’s job or profession requires an academic qualification. It is also sought by already established business persons who want to train in additional areas that will benefit their businesses. This is one advantage a vocational diploma has over a general equivalency diploma. However, the vocational diploma has little or no use for further education in colleges and universities in most cases.

Wrapping Things Up: What Degree Do You Get from High School

When looked at on the surface, this seems like a simple question. But it’s not. Many people become confused when they realize what a high school degree is and what students are expected to get from high school. As a high school student planning to go to college, you want to know what degree you’ll get from high school. You want to also know how valuable these degrees are.

Now that we’ve reviewed everything about a high school degree, you probably know what you’ll need for different situations. As explained in the article, the two types of degrees you can earn from high school are certificates and diplomas.  Certificates are issues to indicate completion of a program, while a diploma shows that you meet all the requirements for graduation.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

Perhaps you have exams coming up and you’re considering studying with your friends but aren’t sure how to kick things off. Crafting the ultimate study group involves making sure that the time you spend together...

Read More