Earning Your Washington High School Diploma!

Adults in the state of Washington who don't have high school diplomas can earn high school credentials in several ways. They may obtain a diploma through community college programs, by earning an associate's degree or by participating in programs at local universities.

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Earn a High School Diploma in Washington

Graduation Requirements

For the Washington classes of 2016-2018, 20 credits are needed to graduate high school. This includes four credits in English, three credits each in mathematics and social studies, two credits in science and two credits in health/fitness. One credit in arts and one credit in career and technical education are needed. Additionally four elective credits are required.

Starting in 2019 these credit requirements change to a total of 24 credits. The changes included three credit requirements for mathematics, science, and social studies and two credits each for arts and health and fitness. English credits remain at four and career technical education also stays at one credit. There is an additional two credit requirement of world language or personalized pathway.

Community College High School Diploma Completion Program

Individuals age 16 and older may earn a high school diploma at one of Washington State's community or technical colleges. Candidates must meet the requirements for a state high school diploma. Along with program courses, credits from high school, approved correspondence courses, college classes, independent study and testing may apply toward this diploma. Other experiences, such as work or vocational training, may also be considered for credit.

Students in this program are required to undergo placement testing and evaluation to determine educational needs and to create an individualized course towards completion. The local school district, community college, or technical college will issue the high school diploma. The SBCTC website offers contact details to find out more information about this program. A high school release form is required for those students aged 16-18, with the school principal granting approval of enrollment prior to beginning program.

High School 21+

Seattle Central College, Seattle Vocational Institute, and North Seattle College offer individuals 21 and older a chance to earn a high school diploma through a competency-based program. This program takes into account the student's life, employment, military and academic experience and creates an individualized course of completion. The student will earn the diploma after proving competency in key subject areas including reading, math, writing, science, history, occupational studies and digital literacy. These competencies can be proven through testing or experience credits. More information about enrollment and program guidelines can be found through the individual school websites.

Associate's Degree

Students age 21 and older who enroll in one of the state's technical or community colleges and earn an associate's degree may also receive their state high school diploma. After successfully completing an associate's program, students must ask in writing for a high school diploma from the college. Students who obtain a diploma this way don't have to meet Washington Board of Education requirements for graduation from high school. Further details on this diploma path are available on the SBCTC website or by contacting the community or technical college you're interested in attending.

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