18 Credit Diploma vs. 24 – What Are the Differences?

18 credit diploma

If you are graduating from high school this year, you may be wondering which path to take: An 18-credit curriculum or a 24-credit track

For many high school students, deciding how to spend their high school years can be challenging. Depending on your lifestyle, educational goals, and career aspirations, you may choose to work at a certain pace or pursue certain elective courses while in high school.

Many high schools offer the standard 24-credit diploma program, which translates to 6 credits per year for four years. However, some students who want to graduate early may take an 18-credit track. If you are interested in pursuing an 18-credit diploma, here are some of the key differences that distinguish it from a 24-credit program:

18-Credit Career Diplomas Typically Require 3 Years for Full-Time Students to Complete

It’s important to remember that there are two key differences between an 18-credit diploma program and a 24-credit diploma program: the amount of time it takes to complete each program and the number of required credits.

An 18-credit diploma program typically takes three years for full-time students to complete, whereas a 24-credit diploma program typically takes four years for full-time students to complete. While 3-4 years is the maximum time frame, students are able to apply themselves and work ahead in their courses as long as they are in each course for a minimum of 28 weeks. Many schools offer both programs so potential students can choose the one that best fits their needs.

18-Credit Career High School Diploma Curriculum Courses

An 18 credit career high school diploma typically requires completion of basic math and science courses. This is a popular option for many individuals who may wish to pursue a trade or trade schooling after obtaining their diploma. You can complete the curriculum in less time and start working toward your desired career sooner without having to take more advanced courses in select subjects.

24-Credit College Diploma Curriculums 

24-credit college diploma programs are designed for students who wish to pursue higher education after completing high school. These programs are typically designed to equip students with the necessary prerequisite courses to enter a college or university of their choosing in the future. 

When taking a 24-credit program, students are often steered toward gradually taking more advanced math and sciences and often can choose from a wide range of electives that interest them, such as learning another language. You can also use electives to expand your learning of subjects that you are particularly interested in and may consider selecting as a major in your post-secondary academic pursuits. 

18 and 24-Credit Curriculums Can Be Accessed in an Online Learning Environment

If you’re looking to complete your degree in less than four years, or if you’re just not sure which program is right for you, the choice between 18 and 24 credits may come down to what school offers the best online learning experience.

Online schools let you work at your own pace, allowing you to complete them in more or less time than a standard 3-4 years. For example, Citizens High School offers both an 18-credit career high school diploma and 24-credit college diploma curriculums through their accredited online courses.

18 Credit Career Programs Can Be Finished Much Sooner Than 3 Years with Summer Classes

While a 24-credit program can be finished much sooner than four years with summer classes, an 18-credit program can be completed just as quickly. There is no major difference between the two diplomas when it comes to their validity or their worthiness as proof of having completed your education. Employers, schools, and other institutions will recognize both types of diplomas as proof that you have finished your studies successfully.

However, some colleges and universities may want to see specific types of courses in your transcripts before accepting you into their institutions. If you desire to continue your education after high school, we often recommend the 24-credit college diploma program as it will provide more opportunities to earn credits for advanced classes in these subjects. 

More often than not, students like the sense of freedom that comes with being able to finish college courses years ahead of their peers. This can make online high school diplomas the better choice for some students. Whether you want to invest in a 24-credit program with collegiate goals in mind or you want to complete an 18-credit diploma to launch your career, you can do so in less time than with traditional secondary education. 

Enroll in an 18 or 24 Credit Online Curriculum with Citizens High School

Citizens High School is the place for you if you want to earn your high school diploma. We offer fully accredited online curriculums designed to fit your busy lifestyle. 

Whether you’re an adult continuing your education or a teenager who wishes to learn at their own pace, Citizens High School is here for you. To learn more about admissions and enrollment, contact us today!

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