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How Long Does it Take to Get a Diploma Online?

Written by Lauren Ambrosio on Friday, 01 December 2023. Posted in Adult Learner, Traditional Students

Young woman smiling in a graduation cap and gown.

Going to high school online is a non-traditional choice, but it has become increasingly popular among teens and adults since the pandemic. Online high schools allow students to learn at their own pace. Students who study online can complete their courses faster than students who attend traditional brick-and-mortar high schools. This is an ideal solution for anyone—teen or adult—who is ready to move on to life after high school. Even adults can go back to school and do it all online. But how long does it take to finish an online high school program, are online high school programs legit, and is it worth it to get your high school diploma online?

Read more: Is a High School Diploma Important? (A Realistic Look)

Are online high school diplomas legit?

Online high school diplomas are legitimate if accredited by recognized agencies. Consider accreditation, state approval, curriculum, faculty, reputation, college and employer acceptance, transparency, and outcome statistics when evaluating a program. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do thorough research before enrolling.

Is having a high school diploma worth it?

A high school diploma is typically worth it for most people. It opens up more employment opportunities, leads to higher earnings, and provides a foundation for further education. It also has social and economic benefits and can instill the value of lifelong learning.

What is the difference between a GED and a diploma?

A GED and a high school diploma are both diplomas that indicate you have a high school graduate-level understanding of the world. A GED can be earned in a shorter period of time than a diploma, but it may not be recognized by all institutions and employers. The best choice depends on individual circumstances and future goals.

Read more: What Colleges Have Accepted a James Madison High School Diploma?

When can I start online high school?

To enroll in a 9th- 12th-grade high school program, you have to be at least 14 years old and provide proof that you passed the 8th grade and can be promoted to 9th grade. If you’re 18 and older, you can enroll at any time. As far as when you can start, as long as you have internet access, you’re good to go! You’ll start with an online orientation before launching into your courses.

How many credit hours do you need to get your high school diploma?

At JMHS, students must pass 23 credits in order to graduate and be awarded a high school diploma.

What are the diploma requirements?

James Madison High School offers two high school diploma programs: a General Diploma and a College Prep Diploma. The General Diploma is made for students who are interested in attending trade schools or seeking advancement at work. The College Prep Diploma is more rigorous academically and designed for students who are planning to attend college.

Both diploma programs require only 23 credits to finish high school. Your specific courses will vary based on which diploma you choose, though each program does include electives.

Can I set my own pace with online high school?

The reason you can finish high school online faster than at a traditional school is the self-pacing. Say goodbye to working according to an arbitrary school class schedule. Online, you get to work at your own pace. Courses aren’t spread out over many months, with tests, quizzes, and homework scheduled on certain due dates. If you need to spend a little more time on earth science than English, that’s okay! If you’re in the zone, you can finish high school in 18 months.

Read more: Pros and Cons of Online High School

Is there a deadline for online high school courses?

You will be allowed a maximum of six years to complete your high school program. If needed, you may request up to two 6-month extensions at $125.00* each.

*Subject to change

Can I transfer credits to JMHS?

You can transfer up to 75% of your high school credits to JMHS. At least 25% of the coursework–or six credits–must be completed at JMHS, and the courses must be similar to those in the JMHS curriculum. They also must come from accredited institutions. For homeschoolers, you need your transcript to include course titles, final grades, credits, and a parent or guardian signature. Students from non-accredited schools must submit standardized test scores.

Can I transfer credits from JMHS?

James Madison High School is nationally accredited, which means that its credits are generally accepted by other schools. However, the decision of whether to accept transfer credits is up to each individual school. The decision is usually based on the similarity of the courses completed to the courses offered at the school.

How many classes can I take at the same time?

JMHS online high school offers more than 30 courses for individual enrollment. Students enroll for a variety of reasons, including credit recovery, getting ahead, taking unavailable courses, challenging themselves, making up missed classes, and gaining experience with online learning. You can take as few as one class up to as many as you can handle. But you cannot take different levels at the same time, like English I and English II.

Are classes live?

Classes are not live, which means you can log into the student portal and work on your coursework 24 hours a day. All you need is an internet connection and a computer or smartphone.

The time it takes to earn your accredited high school diploma online at JMHS is really up to you. Everyone is different, and some courses are more challenging than others. No matter what schedule you keep, it’s important to give yourself plenty of time for rest. You may be eager to finish high school online as fast as possible, but it’s more important to set realistic goals. With focus and your dedicated team of certified teachers and academic advisors, you can finish high school online successfully and quickly enough to move on to your next goal. Call our admissions specialists at 1-800-535-1613 to learn more about the JMHS online high school diploma programs for teens and adult learners.

Read more: How to Get Your High School Diploma Online: The Ultimate Guide for Teens

About the Author

Lauren Ambrosio

Lauren Ambrosio

Lauren Ambrosio is a lifelong writer with a B.A. in English from the University of Texas at Arlington. She joined Penn Foster in 2023 and is excited to be part of a team with such a rich history. She hopes to help our learners by providing helpful information they need on their education and career journeys. When Lauren isn’t writing about our veterinary programs—her favorite topic—she is hiking the foothills of Pikes Peak with her black lab, Remy.