Attending school remotely to earn an online accredited high school diploma is no less legitimate than attending a brick-and-mortar school to earn a traditional accredited high school diploma.
It’s a good idea to confirm for yourself if you’re getting something legit before you enroll, though. There are plenty of online businesses that will sell you a phony high school diploma and they work very hard to appear legit. Some are actual school programs with curriculums that just aren’t up to snuff. Others are diploma mills that hand out diplomas but don't have any classes at all.
Accreditation is what makes the difference. When an institution is accredited, it has passed quality assurance standards of an independent, non-profit group called an accreditor. In the U.S., private and for-profit high schools must meet standards set by accreditors in each region.
Accreditation cannot be bought. A school earns accreditation after many site visits, executive interviews, and reviews. It also cannot be guaranteed forever. Accreditation must be renewed after more visits and reviews.
Of course, schools and diploma mills can say they are accredited. To know for sure if an accreditation is legit, make sure a school’s accrediting body is on the list of approved accreditors.
The United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) work together to publish that list.
Your diploma is your credential. It proves to other high schools, employers, and colleges that you did the work required by your high school.
Accreditation is your high school's credential. It proves to those same entities that it did the work required to educate you properly.
Without accreditation, credits earned can’t be transferred, employers won’t know if you learned enough to meet their job requirements, and colleges won’t know if you can do higher-level coursework. Most colleges and universities won’t accept students with diplomas from non-accredited high schools.
If you’re considering enrolling at James Madison High School for an online high school diploma, here’s how to confirm our accreditation.
First, find the name of our accreditor: www.jmhs.com/about/accreditation.
Then, check this list of approved accreditors: 2017-2018 Directory of CHEA-Recognized Organizations.
As it says in the JMHS mission statement, we aim to empower our students through "...flexible, convenient, affordable, and highly-relevant educational programs." We believe the only way to do that is through quality education. Accreditation ensures that we deliver it.