How to Earn an Arizona High School Diploma
Adult learners in Arizona can choose from many tuition-based and tuition-free options for earning a high school diploma. Online high schools, campus-based charter high schools, community service organizations, for-profit schools, dropout-recovery programs and community colleges all offer Arizona residents accelerated and self-paced opportunities to graduate high school. Explore and consider which of the following options are best suited to your needs.
Tuition-Free Online Public High Schools
Free online public high schools allow Arizona residents ages 18-21 to obtain their high school diplomas in a non-traditional setting, using textbooks and the Internet. Students may enroll at any time and work at their own pace to complete the required course of study. Using a comprehensive curriculum, students work online and offline to meet core Arizona state standards, including state testing requirements for graduation. Coursework may include:
- Social Studies
Required documentation for enrollment includes proof of residency and transcripts from previous high schools attended. Some tuition-free online high schools partner with tuition-based distance learning schools to offer a course of study for Arizona residents age 22 and older who wish to obtain a high school diploma.
Community College Adult High School Diploma Programs
Community colleges may also include adult high school diploma programs among their course offerings. In order to enroll, adults age 18 and older may be asked to complete an evaluation with a college counselor and provide transcripts from previous high schools.
Students enrolled in these programs are allowed to apply previously earned credits toward the total credits required by the state to earn a high school diploma. However, students may be required to earn a minimum number of the credits while attending the community college, in order to graduate.
To graduate, students may also be required to:
- Complete coursework in English; mathematics (algebra, geometry); social studies (U.S. history, world history, economics, American government); science (biology, physical science); health; electives (art, music, foreign language); computers and technology; and career prep or work experience
- Demonstrate competency in math, reading and writing by earning a minimum passing score on the GED, an assessment test designated by the college or other standardized tests.
Campus and Online Public Charter High Schools
Arizona residents age 18-21 may enroll in special charter schools that offer a tuition-free, alternative route to a traditional high school diploma. With day, afternoon and evening classes, these schools provide a flexible and accelerated learning opportunity, in a supportive environment.
Upon enrollment, students may create personalized learning and graduation plans to ensure completion of the program. Students then have virtual and face-to-face access to instructors who will monitor their progress. Students may also receive job placement assistance and earn academic credit for their work experience.
Required coursework at charter high schools includes English, science, math, social studies, electives, and foreign languages. Students are prepared to pass the AzMERIT assessment test, which will measure their mastery of Arizona standards.
Some charter schools offer high school diploma programs online as well as at campus locations, for residents 18 and older. These online programs are tuition-based, but Arizona residents age 18-21 are eligible for a tuition discount.
School District Dropout-Recovery Programs
Dropout recovery programs help adults age 18-20 obtain their high school diplomas through a self-paced, alternative approach to learning. Your local school district may have established academic centers offering dropout recovery assistance, as well as job placement support. These programs feature flexible hours, open enrollment and year-round classes, and are geared toward those who have not passed a community college entrance exam.
Throughout Arizona, there are community organizations that provide adult residents with opportunities to earn a high school diploma while learning workforce development skills. These organizations include:
Youth Build helps low-income adults ages 18-24 who are not enrolled in high school to obtain a high school diploma, learn a trade in the construction industry and build affordable housing in their communities. After completing orientation, students work while studying full-time over the course of 6-24 months.
In Arizona, local Job Corps centers partner with charter high schools or local community colleges to provide academic programs for low-income participants age 18-24. Job Corps academic classes feature individualized, competency-based instruction facilitated by small class sizes.
After completing a comprehensive intake assessment and developing a career plan, students complete academic work at their own pace. In addition to academics and job training, students also participate in a variety of extra-curricular endeavors, such as cultural, recreational and community service activities.
For-Profit Adult High Schools
Arizona residents age 18-21 may attend accredited for-profit high schools that offer year-round enrollment and flexible attendance hours for adults seeking a high school diploma.
Some programs provide adult learners with an accelerated, rigorous course of study, while others focus on basic state academic standards and course content. Instruction may take place in traditional classroom settings, small groups or one-on-one.
Coursework may include:
- Language arts
- Social studies
- Natural sciences
- World languages
- Advanced Placement courses
- Electives, including fine arts
Students may also take college courses while working toward their high school diplomas. It's important to verify that the diploma awarded from a for-profit high school will be recognized and accepted at any post-secondary institution you wish to attend, as well as by prospective employers.