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How can an adult earn a high school diploma?

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Some ways an adult can earn a high school diploma includes enrolling in a diploma completion program at a community college, pursuing a high school diploma online or taking a state high school diploma equivalency test. Accreditation is an important issue with online high school diploma programs, and each option has its pros and cons.

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Those who prefer to complete their high school diplomas in person with traditional coursework can find adult high school diploma programs at community colleges. Some of these programs award credit for work experience, college courses taken and training programs completed, and previous high school credits usually count, notes Mt. San Antonio College. Students may study individually, on the computer, with groups or a mix of these. These programs usually have age requirements and assessments for placement.

Another option is to enroll in an online high school diploma completion program, such as the one at Penn Foster High School. Students complete their core and elective courses online and may use online textbooks. Since accreditation of online high schools varies and some employers and postsecondary schools may not accept them, it's important to examine state requirements before enrolling in one of these programs, warns Penn Foster High School.

Those who would rather prepare for a comprehensive series of tests can take a high school equivalency test, such as the General Equivalency Diploma, the TASC HSE or the HiSET. These are computerized assessments individuals take at a testing center. High failure rates are a downside to these tests, according to the Washington Post.

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