Earning Your Kentucky High School Diploma!

Realizing that those with a high school level education typically earn more in the workforce than those who do not, Kentucky officials would like to see as many citizens as possible earn this basic credential. Several paths toward this goal are available to Kentucky residents, including the online and equivalency programs described.

High School Diploma and Equivalent Credentials for Kentucky Residents

There are several options for obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent in the state of Kentucky.

Residents can take exams to earn the General Educational Development (GED) credential with the help of their area's adult education system. In Kentucky, the minimum age to take the GED exam is 19 years old. If students are under 19 and would like to enroll in the Kentucky GED testing program, they need to prove they have been officially withdrawn from school for 90 days.

Other possibilities that are not specific to Kentucky include private online high schools, distance learning courses, or an external diploma program that gives credit for skills learned in real life. Pursuing these paths will typically require applicants to first obtain official transcripts of previously completed high school courses; these are usually located in the registrar's office at the last school attended. The minimum number of credits required to receive a high school diploma in Kentucky is 22.

General Educational Development (GED) Test

Kentucky's education system enables adults who lack a high school diploma to take the General Educational Development (GED) test to earn a credential equivalent to a diploma; the GED is recognized by most colleges and employers. The GED requires adult learners to demonstrate that they have obtained high school level competencies by taking and passing a 4-subject test covering the core subjects of language arts, social studies, science and math. The amount of time it takes to complete the GED will depend upon core competencies already learned and amount of time dedicated to study. A score of 145 on each subject test is required to earn a GED diploma in Kentucky.

Getting Started

Kentucky requires applicants for the GED test to first take an official practice test. Both the practice test and the official test are available at adult education centers found in every Kentucky county. You must be a resident of Kentucky to take the actual GED test. Preparation courses are also offered at these centers. The website for Kentucky Adult Education, a division of the Kentucky Department of Education, is a good starting place to learn details on eligibility and locate the closest adult education center (

Private Online High School Diploma Programs

Online programs allow adult learners to obtain a high school diploma by completing credit bearing coursework through their website. Kentucky residents are able to earn a valid high school diploma online thanks to the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which standardizes core content to be learned in secondary schools among the states. More information about the initiative can be found online (

How To Start

These programs can be found through an Internet search. Be certain that the institution offering the diploma program is accredited by an agency recognized by the USDE or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a legitimate accrediting agency. After online enrollment, an individualized learning program is established based upon a student's needs. The only requirement is that the adult learner is not enrolled in any mandatory secondary school program. Required courses and time for completing a program will vary depending upon how many transferable secondary school credits the adult learner has already earned.

Distance Learning Programs

Adult learners can earn the credits needed for a high school diploma by completing courses through an online program developed by Jefferson County Public Schools. It partners with both public and private schools to provide learners who need a flexible scheduling option or who cannot attend a traditional school with the opportunity to complete courses at their own pace. Kentucky students can also use this program to earn college credit.

Getting Started

Information on this program can be found online. The first step is for students to contact their counselor and obtain the necessary enrollment forms. During enrollment, a student will be expected to work on courses at home. A course must be completed within 120 days.

The National External Diploma Program

This program allows adults to apply life experiences toward earning a high school diploma. This program is most suitable for adult learners who have acquired life and work experiences similar in nature to what is taught in a public secondary school. In Kentucky, the diploma is issued by the Kentucky Department of Education and is administered through the Kentucky Adult Education CASA program.

Getting Started

The National External Diploma Program website describes the program and the competencies ( The program evaluates reading, writing, math, and real-life skill sets for workforce readiness. If an applicant to this program passes their assessments, they are awarded a high school diploma.

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