What is Another Name for High School Diploma? Types of High School Living Qualification Level

When you finish high school, you can earn one of two kinds of degrees and diploma qualifications. But which one is best for you, and how do you earn it.

The time when students finished seventh grade and then work in the fields to help their families is no more. Nowadays, there are various types of high school diplomas, and each one is different.

What Is a High School Diploma Called?

In America, when you finish four years of required classes in subjects like language arts, math, science, social studies, and others from grades 9 to 12, you get a high school diploma.

It is also called a secondary diploma or just a diploma.

Therefore, let us look at some common types of high school diplomas:


Students should take a mix of technical or vocational courses along with different academic subjects.


The student needs to earn a specific number of credits and maintain a minimum GPA.

College Prep

Students should complete a curriculum mandated by the state and also maintain a specific GPA.

International Baccalaureate

Students meet the International Baccalaureate Organization’s requirements by finishing a two-year international curriculum.

During the last two years of high school, capable students who have completed a demanding pre-baccalaureate curriculum usually complete this challenging program.

Honors College Prep

All students need to follow a state-mandated curriculum, and they must also take on more challenging coursework. However, they are required to keep a certain GPA and excel academically.

FAQs on High School Diploma and Qualifications

Frequently asked questions about high school diploma

Are a GED and a diploma the same thing?

Yes, you are correct. The GED (General Educational Development) diploma is considered equivalent to a traditional high school diploma.

So, in many practical aspects, a GED and a high school diploma hold the same value and can open up similar opportunities for individuals.

What is a high school diploma called on a resume.

These are three different qualifications individuals can obtain:

Secondary Diploma

This term generally refers to a diploma earned upon completing a secondary education program, which typically covers grades 9 through 12 in the United States.

It is also known as a high school diploma.

High School Diploma

This is the standard diploma awarded to students upon successful completion of their secondary education. It signifies the fulfillment of requirements set by the educational institution and is widely recognized as a significant educational achievement.

GED (General Educational Development)

The GED is an alternative qualification for individuals who did not complete high school but want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills at a level equivalent to high school graduates.

It is earn by passing a series of standardized tests in subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts.

Each of these qualifications can serve as evidence of completing an education at or equivalent to the high school level, but they are obtain by through different pathways and may have distinct requirements or implications in various contexts.

What are the three types of diplomas?

These are three different types of high school diplomas with varying levels of achievement and focus:

It signifies the successful completion of the standard curriculum without additional honors or specialized coursework.

General Diploma

A general diploma is the standard secondary education diploma awarded to students who have met the basic graduation requirements of their school or educational institution.

Honors Diploma

An honors diploma is typically awarded to high-achieving students who have gone above and beyond the standard high school curriculum.

Additionally, to earn an honors diploma, students often need to meet specific academic criteria, such as maintaining a higher GPA, completing advanced or honors courses, and possibly fulfilling additional community service or extracurricular activity requirements. It is a recognition of academic excellence.

Occupational Diploma

An occupational diploma is design for students who have focused their high school education on a particular vocational or career-oriented pathway.

This diploma acknowledges the completion of specialized coursework and training related to a specific occupation or field of study. It may be more tailored to preparing students for specific careers or trades.

Beside, the availability and requirements for these diplomas can vary from one educational institution or school district to another, so it is essential to check with your specific school or educational authority for accurate information regarding these diploma options.

Which is better GED or HS diploma?

A high school diploma is widely accepted for college and university admissions.

Students with a diploma and a strong academic record often qualify for financial aid that individuals with a GED may not be eligible for.

In most cases, a secondary education diploma is consider superior.

Is an HSD a degree?

Furthermore, a secondary education diploma is the credential you receive when you fulfill all the education requirements set by your school, district, city, and state.

However, a secondary education certificate signifies that you have finished high school but have not met all the necessary requirements to graduate.

How do you write a high school diploma on a resume?

Include your most recent or expected graduation date.

Therefore, just like you would list college education on your resume, including the date is relevant if you graduated within the last three years.

However, after that period, maintain only the name of your secondary education on your resume if it represents the highest level of education you have achieved.

What are the types of diplomas?

Certainly, these are different types of educational qualifications:

Honors Diploma

An honors diploma is awarded to high-achieving students who have excel in their coursework, often by maintaining a high GPA and completing advance or honors-level classes.

It signifies a higher level of academic achievement.

General Diploma

A general diploma is the standard secondary education diploma that students receive upon fulfilling the basic graduation requirements of their school or educational institution.

Occupational Diploma

An occupational diploma is typically earn by students who have focus their secondary education on a specific vocational or career-oriented pathway.

It emphasizes specialized coursework and training relevant to a particular occupation or field.

Certificate of Attendance

A certificate of attendance is given to students who is done with high school but may not have met all the requirements for a diploma.

It acknowledges their participation and completion of the educational program.

Graduate Equivalency Degree (GED)

A GED is an alternative qualification for individuals who did not complete secondary education but want to demonstrate their knowledge and skills at a level equivalent to high school graduates.

It is earn by passing a series of standardized tests covering subjects like mathematics, science, social studies, and language arts.

These credentials serve different purposes and may have varying implications for individuals’ educational and career opportunities.

What is a diploma equivalent to?

The High School Equivalency diploma is widely recognized and accepted throughout the nation as a substitute for a standard high school degree.

The vast majority of employers, government agencies, and post-secondary academic institutions acknowledge its validity (you can find more information about GED score acceptance here).

What is another name for GED?

Therefore, both the High School Equivalency Test (HISET) and the General Educational Development (GED) exams serve the purpose of granting a high school equivalency diploma. However, there are distinctions between the two programs.

Does Harvard accept GED?

The straightforward answer to whether Harvard accepts GED graduates is YES.

However, harvard indeed accepts GED graduates. In fact, it is worth noting that Harvard does not mandate a high school diploma or GED as a requirement for admission.


However, we have learned that a secondary education diploma is what we call the certificate you get when you finish high school.

It is important for many things like jobs and college.

Therefore, you do not always need a diploma for everything.

Places, like Harvard, do not even ask for it when you want to go there.

Moreover, remember that, a secondary education diploma can open doors, but it is not the only way to find success.

Other Options

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