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What are the Benefits of Having a High School Diploma?

A high school diploma opens doors to numerous opportunities. It's a stepping stone to higher education, better job prospects, and higher income. It also fosters personal growth, critical thinking, and social skills. But how does a high school diploma specifically impact your career trajectory?
Meghan Perry
Meghan Perry

There are many benefits of having a high school diploma, and one of the biggest advantages is that it creates the possibility of better job opportunities. Many companies won't hire people who haven't graduated from high school. As technology has become more and more integral to everyday life, jobs that didn't used to require a high school degree have begun to do so. This has become increasingly common in manual jobs. One of the reasons employers like to hire high school graduates is because a diploma represents that they have developed strong work habits and skills for a career.

Along with better job opportunities comes higher pay for people who have a diploma. Studies have shown that high school graduates earn more money per year than those who have not graduated from high school. In addition, many government jobs require that employees have a high school degree.

One benefit of finishing high school is the pride of achievement.
One benefit of finishing high school is the pride of achievement.

For students who want to continue their education at a college or university, a high school degree is often required. Most post-secondary institutions operate under the belief that a high school diploma will serve as the foundation on which to build the college education. It represents the skills and knowledge that a student has acquired, and because the standards for high school graduation are fairly consistent throughout a country, college admissions offices typically can determine the knowledge and skills that a student possesses.

Having a high school diploma may lead to better job opportunities.
Having a high school diploma may lead to better job opportunities.

A high school degree is not the only option for students. Those who have never completed high school might be able to take a test to earn a certification or degree that will be considered the equivalent of a high school diploma. There are some colleges that will not accept this type of degree in lieu of a high school diploma, however, which is another benefit of graduating from high school.

A diploma doesn't just benefit the student receiving it, it also benefits society as a whole. It benefits local economies and taxpayers. High school graduates generally contribute more to the economy, because they generally earn more money and have more disposable income than those who don't graduate from high school. In addition, graduates usually require less government assistance than those who don't have a diploma, which also saves money for taxpayers.

An intangible benefit to having a high school diploma is the pride of achievement. It represents years of work and learning. This personal benefit is in addition to the economic benefits that a diploma provides.

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Discussion Comments


@pastanaga - I just want to say that anyone who is looking to get their high school diploma online really needs to do their homework first and make sure they aren't getting ripped off.

I mean, in some cases you might just want the paper and you don't care about the quality of the education.

But even then, you have to beware, because there are a lot of scams out there and some of them are well known enough that your "diploma" might not be worth the paper it's printed on.


@pleonasm - The thing that bugs me is that I can see the point that some people are trying to make. High school learning often isn't at all relevant to the real world. In some cases, where a person knows they can get a job with opportunities for advancement by dropping out of school, I would definitely encourage them to drop out.

After a certain point, you don't keep putting your GED on your resume, because who is actually going to check that when you've got five years of experience in your field?

And two of those years might have been gained when you could have been sitting in a classroom, reading about how train A and train B are passing each other, just like life is passing you by.

If you care that much about the piece of paper, get an online high school diploma.


People often seem to hold up the achievements of those who dropped out of high school and still did well as though it's proof that no one needs to finish high school.

They miss the fact that so very many people who don't finish high school will end up without jobs, or with very low paying jobs for the rest of their lives and will never fight free from poverty.

There are many free high school diploma programs available, both online and in classrooms and I would encourage anyone who never finished to go back and get their diploma.

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    • One benefit of finishing high school is the pride of achievement.
      By: Rido
      One benefit of finishing high school is the pride of achievement.
    • Having a high school diploma may lead to better job opportunities.
      By: Monkey Business
      Having a high school diploma may lead to better job opportunities.