A high school diploma is a requirement to join the service.  But what if your spouse or another family member is looking to get the equivalent of a diploma? Their time and money are too valuable to spend on programs that won’t help them get it. They can take equivalency tests, or classes to meet high school credit requirements. But no state accepts an online equivalency test, or online work experience alone. Programs that promise you can get a diploma that way are scams.


  • There are only four legitimate high school equivalency tests: GED, HiSET, TASC, and CHSPE. CHSPE is for California only; California employers must accept it as the equivalent of a high school diploma.
  • These tests are all in-person, supervised, closed-book tests, given on a specific date. You have to show ID to make sure you’re the same person who signed up for the test. 
  • Find out from your state department of education:
    • what tests are accepted in that state
    • whether any online programs are approved
    • how to find a legitimate program
  • Visit the sites of community colleges – look under “For Students” or “Student Services.” You can find what tests are accepted in that state, how to register, what to study, and whether they offer prep classes.
  • Instead of taking a test, you can meet high school credit requirements by taking classes. Look at community colleges and university extension programs for classes that would count.
  • No state accepts an online high school equivalency test. A few states recognize the National External Diploma Program (NEDP), but you must attend monthly in-person NEDP evaluations. Most states do accept some credits from online courses that require substantial reading, writing and periodic quizzes and tests.
  • No state accepts work experience credits only. Some states do allow you to earn some credits if you prove you have certain skills, certification, or licensing.


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