Find accredited online high schools by checking state department of education databases, searching online for private schools and contacting colleges and universities to find out if they offer diploma programs, says TheBestSchools.org. The four basic types of online programs are private, public, charter and college- or university-sponsored.
Legitimate online high schools with accreditation from agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education must also be approved by the state where the diploma is issued, explains TheBestSchools.org. Online public and charter schools offered by particular states and districts are government-funded and usually have regional accreditation and state approval. Charter schools are more flexible but their funding is less stable. Private online high schools are often used by homeschool students, but they have limited government oversight and can be expensive. University- and college-sponsored programs work well for students who plan to pursue a degree and have the ability to work independently.
Information on accredited online high schools can be obtained from the Distance Education and Training Council, notes Education Portal. This is a nonprofit organization that serves as an accrediting commission.
Regional accreditation is the most common form of accreditation, and there are six organizations that provide it, including the Commission on Independent Schools, the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement and the Accrediting Commission for Schools, according to Jamie Littlefield for About.com. The others are the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, the Northwest Association of Accredited Schools and the Commission on Secondary Schools.