One in four Angelenos–approximately one million people–do not have a high school diploma and lack the qualifications needed to pursue a degree in higher education.

A high school education can be interrupted for many reasons–family needs, illness, or working multiple jobs. A traditional high school curriculum with daily classes doesn’t work for everyone. Even years later, professional and personal schedules, as well as associated costs, can still create barriers to completing a high school education. Yet the value of a high school diploma can’t be underestimated: it opens the door to opportunities for higher education, a better job, a promotion, and higher pay.

But what if there was a place that offered a free, flexible, online program to help you earn your high school diploma on your schedule? That place is the library!

The Los Angeles Public Library provides free grants to qualified adult learners so they can earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through Career Online High School (COHS). The program is one of many innovative digital offerings that the library offers to meet the educational needs of adults and communities across the city.


It’s never been easier for adults to earn their high school diploma in as few as five months.

The COHS program provides:

  • A personal academic coach to help you succeed
  • Convenient 24/7 online classroom access
  • Special training focused on 10 in-demand industries
  • Tools that you need to start or advance your career, including a resume and cover letter writing

Who can enroll?

The program is free to adults ages 19 and older who live or work in the City of Los Angeles, and does not require U.S. Citizenship or a transcript. You’ll also need your Los Angeles Public Library card. If you don’t already have one, you can apply for free online.

How do you register?

Step 1: Take the online self-assessment.

Step 2: Enroll in and complete a prerequisite course in two weeks or less.

Step 3: A library staff member will contact you to discuss your scholarship after you complete the required prerequisite course.

Eight facts about getting your high school diploma online with the Los Angeles Public Library:

1. One in four Angelenos do not have a high school diploma.

That’s approximately one million people who may lack the qualifications necessary to pursue a degree in higher education. The consequences in lifetime earnings are significant; the National Center for Education Statistics estimates the median income for those without a high school degree is $22,900, compared to $30,000 for those who have a diploma.

2. The library’s Career Online High School (COHS) program is free and flexible.

Not only is the program free, but you also have convenient 24/7 online classroom access. Whether you have a busy work or home schedule, you can choose the time that works best for you. Plus, with mobile device compatibility, you can keep up with your coursework anytime, anywhere. When you don’t have access to a computer, you can access courses on any iOS or Android smartphone and tablet devices.

3. A high school diploma differs from a GED.

When a student completes the GED, or another similar exam, such as TASC or HiSET, they receive a high school equivalency certificate. With several differences between an equivalency certificate and a diploma, the most significant difference is that some colleges, institutions, and organizations require a high school diploma and may not accept a high school equivalency certificate. COHS is accredited by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accreditation seal.

4. You can also earn certification to help you jumpstart your career.

In addition to providing a high school diploma, COHS gives students the benefit of earning a career certificate and completing additional job preparation documents and training. Students may earn a certificate in one of the following areas:

  • Certified Protection Officer
  • Child Care and Education
  • Commercial Driving
  • Food and Hospitality
  • General Career Preparation
  • Homeland Security
  • Office Management
  • Hospitality and Leisure
  • Home Care Professional
  • Retail Customer Service

5. You can register in a few quick and easy steps.

The program is free to adults ages 19 and older who live or work in Los Angeles, and does not require U.S. citizenship or a transcript. The library provides grants to qualified adult learners who are looking to continue their education, prepare for workforce entry, or advance their career. Applicants who successfully complete an online self assessment and a two-week prerequisite course are offered the opportunity to earn a scholarship. With the successful completion of the first month of coursework, students can continue with their education in the program.

6. You’ll be paired with a personal academic coach to help you succeed.

Once enrolled, you’ll be paired with an academic coach, to provide an individual career path, offer ongoing guidance, evaluate performance and connect you with the resources needed to master the courses. All COHS instructors and academic coaches are state-certified and located in Florida. In addition to office hours, COHS staff will reach out to all students at least once every two weeks – or more often if needed.

7. Library resources can help you along the way.

You can access and explore the library’s list of educational resources to help with your studies, career development and job preparation. These are free, online learning resources, available to anyone with an LAPL library card and Internet access.

8. Since the start of the program, 472 people have graduated. 

When the Los Angeles Public Library started the COHS initiative in 2014, it became the nation’s first public library to offer adults the online opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate. Graduates of the program have gone on to pursue higher education and launch new and exciting career paths.

Get Started Today:

Click here to get started on your journey to earning your high school diploma and the new and exciting opportunities the achievement will offer you.



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