Will Jobs Accept Homeschool Diploma: Demystifying a Common Question

Will Jobs Accept Homeschool Diploma

As a parent, you worry about everything from whether your child has a warm sweater to what sort of world they are growing up in and whether they can have a bright future. It’s not uncommon to see parents with questions about homeschool diplomas, such as whether employers accept them for jobs. The honest answer is twofold. First, some background check agencies don’t yet recognize a homeschool diploma as an accredited source, causing problems. Second, and more importantly, that diploma is valid when signed and issued. Most of the time, this is never going to come up. Employers have you check a box to show you have a diploma, and that’s as far as it ever goes. However, trouble can arise, and you need to be ready to face it honestly and with aplomb. I will explain how to handle those rare cases and recommend a resource for accredited diplomas if you prefer to go a different route. 

Will jobs accept a homeschool diploma? Jobs are obligated to accept a homeschool diploma because it is valid. Although your student did not attend an accredited school, they fulfilled their high school requirements in a legitimate and legally protected educational setting. Moreover, the accreditation process is, at best, not very cohesive with sometimes questionable standards and many fraudulent imposters. You do not need to be under the ‘accredited institution’ umbrella to issue a homeschool diploma. 

Accreditation Isn’t What You (Or Jobs) Think

Some employers perform background checks on job candidates, and these rarely involve vetting the highschool diploma. Especially if your grad has a college degree, there’s no real reason to check that far back. Most jobs are far more interested in whether your kids have DUIs, questionable job histories, theft charges, or social media accounts with objectionable content such as drug images and a lot of rude behavior. 

As for ‘accredited’ schools and curriculums, they should, at best, be questioned. First, please be aware that anyone selling an ‘accredited curriculum’ is a con artist. Schools and institutions can become accredited, but paperwork and assignments cannot. You can use curricula from accredited schools, but the materials do not convey any special status upon a homeschool. 

According to TheHomeschoolMom, “No state requires that a homeschool program, curriculum, or diploma be accredited.” 

The accreditation process is available both regionally and nationally. In general, it entails paying a fee, filling out a plethora of paperwork, and then showing via a physical visit that your campus and standards meet a predetermined set of standards. There are also self-assessments and other ongoing pieces.

Accreditation is a generic and entirely voluntary vetting process for schools. This process offers assurance that a school is up to the task of being a school and willing to jump through a few hoops to get the paperwork to show it. The best schools are almost always accredited. However, that doesn’t mean that extremely low-quality schools can’t get this paperwork as well. What accreditation does confer is proof that there was some oversight in the education process. 

The Department of Education has changed some of the guidelines for the Accreditation process as of 2020. Six main bodies oversee regional accreditation, which are approved by the DoE. You should always check to see if a school making that claim is accredited by one of these before considering enrollment. Some homeschool parents choose to have their students finish high school under an accredited distance learning or correspondence institution to obtain a diploma with the credential on it. 

One such option is the highly-regarded Citizens High School. This particular school is accredited and offers a homeschool specific option which gives parents an app to follow along in their student’s learning process.  For those parents who wish to avoid the hassle yet keep their learners at home while still having them take courses overseen by an accredited school to earn an accredited diploma, Citizens is a superb choice. 


What To Do If a Job Refuses Your Homeschool Diploma

Unfortunately, some employers are reluctant to accept homeschool diplomas because they are not accredited. While this is a rare case and seldom happens at companies that value their employee’s ability to contribute to the company, you may encounter it someday. I want to offer you two very different examples of this to help you understand why a company that doesn’t value an employee over a credential is not a good career opportunity. 

Before I share these stories, it’s also important for homeschool parents to understand that we are in the midst of a shifting job market where the old values are no longer relevant to forward-thinking companies. There was a time when graduating from a public or private high school and then going directly to get a college degree was the best and nearly only path to socially acceptable career advancement. Please don’t mistake my meaning here, this is still a valid path, but it is no longer seen as the only option for ambitious and talented adults. 

With diploma mills, the closure of colleges like ITT Tech for predatory lending practices, and the rise of self-educated entrepreneurship, those papers are not what they used to be. Moreover, in the years since “No Child Left Behind,” the quality of publicly available education is not stellar. That said, the following are two examples of people who ran into issues with their job hunt due to homeschool diplomas. 

Bad Energy

In 2014 multi-state energy giant NiSource Inc. rescinded a job offer to a homeschooler. Notably, this young man, who kept his name out of the story, had already worked for this company’s sub-contractor for years. Additionally, he had gone to college and made the Deans’ List in the process. According to the World.wng.org article, “…Homeschooled students do not receive an Ohio high school diploma recognized by the State Board of Education,” and according to the Ohio Department of Education, “employers have discretion.” They may choose not to accept homeschool credentials.”

Not only is this a bizarre case of refusing a job to a proven employee with an excellent track record with the company, but the company “…rebuffed the inquiries of HSLDA staff attorney Mike Donnelly on behalf of the prospective employee.” Obviously, this is a case where the company, or a manager somewhere, cared more about a ridiculous standard that has no real-world value than they did about having the best candidate for the job. 

Sometimes Going to Jail is A Good Thing

This year a homeschool grad in Maryland got a job in law enforcement. It may seem like no big deal, but it’s a historic moment in that state where law enforcement has refused to accept numerous homeschoolers, despite the clear fact that their parents had the legal right to educate them. Like the story above, this homeschooler prefers to remain anonymous, but he won his appeal and was pushed through to the next stage of hiring thanks to the work of the HSLDA

A homeschool diploma can get your grad into Harvard, the Navy, and many other prestigious places. Employers who don’t want them are simply behind the times and are not interested in having the best candidates. A job that wants a cookie-cutter format more than the US armed forces is most likely a bad fit for your well-educated homeschooler. Moreover, the laws and protections for this incredible and highly-effective form of education are changing in your favor all the time. 


Defending Homeschool Diplomas Calmly

There is a short list of essential ways to validate your homeschool diploma if a job ever refuses to accept it. Most of these involve paperwork you can create or obtain along the way. Please do not tell your home learner to ‘get a GED’ when they are already a legitimate high school grad since doing so is tantamount to saying their diploma is not valid. To say that is undermining yourself, their confidence in their work, and decades of legal battles legitimizing homeschool. Any or all of the methods below can help your home learner land their dream job. 

  1. Have your home learner graduate under the umbrella of correspondence or online accredited school. 
  2. Walk away. Choose an employer that values your skills over a questionable certification process. 
  3. Have your student take standardized tests even if they aren’t required. 
  4. Offer to provide transcripts, and if possible, a certified document from your local school district that says your child completed their high school requirements. Some states provide these, but you must request them specifically. 
  5. Contact the HSLDA or another homeschool lawyer. 

Remember to keep calm and maintain your poise, and tell your homeschooler to do the same. They do not need to volunteer information about a unique diploma unless asked, and they certainly don’t need to apologize for having a better than average education. 


Final Thoughts

Most homeschoolers grow up to be wildly successful adults. Because they pursued their passions and had the opportunity to become involved in their area of interest early, homeschoolers, and their diplomas, are miles ahead of other applicants in the field. Moreover, homeschoolers are diverse, self-motivated, and capable of thinking outside the box to solve problems. 

Homeschooled adults rarely run into issues getting jobs, starting businesses, going to university, or even joining the military. Occasionally there’s an extra piece of paper to fill out or turn in. Beyond that, there’s no real concern. If your home learner ever has a problem, they should contact the HSLDA, a similar organization, or a lawyer familiar with homeschool rights and protections.

You can always suggest they apply for a better position at a more forward-thinking company, which they’re more likely to receive anyhow. Good companies want the skills homeschoolers have. 

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