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Determining the Validity of Your High School Diploma

Part of our mission here at Compass Career College is to help both traditional and non-traditional students create viable and rewarding careers in professions such as Salon and Spa Services, Allied Health, Practical Nursing, and Welding.

For entry to each of our programs, potential students must have either a valid high school diploma or its equivalent. Unfortunately, over the past three years, it has come to our attention that some hopeful students, through no fault of their own, have been awarded invalid high school diplomas.

But how is this possible?

There are certain institutions and organizations throughout the region that claim to award official high school diplomas to students who participate in their programs, which often cost hundreds of dollars. Programs like these may seem legitimate at first, but if they are not on the Louisiana Department of Education’s list of accredited schools (and most of them are not), then the diploma the student receives is not valid. These students then come to our offices only to discover that they cannot enroll, which results in an incredibly frustrating experience for all of us. So, how can students determine the validity of their high school diploma?

Luckily, determining the legitimacy of a diploma is relatively straight-forward. Here in Louisiana, all high school diplomas are validated by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). An official diploma will feature the BESE seal of approval at the bottom of the document. If a diploma does not feature this approval, then the diploma is likely not valid.

If a student discovers their diploma is not valid, we recommend contacting the institution or organization where they received their education, and asking why the diploma does not feature the BESE seal of approval.

In many instances, the best and quickest course of action for students in Louisiana without a valid diploma is to take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET). When passed, this test certifies that the student has met high-school level academic standards. Prospective students can obtain more information about this test, including how much it costs and where it is offered, at the website

Ultimately, it does not matter which our students receive – a high school diploma or its equivalent – as all begin their programs on equal footing. Our mission is to help our students take the next step towards their chosen profession, no matter where they are at the beginning.

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