Finishing high school

Diplomas and certificates are issued twice a year:

  • first semester is issued the last week of February
  • second semester is issued the last week of July

Completing high school is the first step to getting the skills and background you need to succeed in the real world.

There are lots of ways to get high school credits. Schools across Alberta offer a number of different programs that help students earn high school credits.

Parents and students should discuss the best route to meeting graduation requirements with a high school counsellor.

Why finish high school

Finishing high school is the first step to helping you secure a positive future in post-secondary education or in the workforce.

For most jobs in Alberta, you need a minimum of a high school diploma or a high school equivalency diploma. To be accepted into many post-secondary programs, you need specific high school or high school equivalent courses.

Diplomas and certificates

Alberta Education diplomas and certificates certify that the holder has successfully completed a prescribed program of instruction.

A student who is awarded a diploma or certificate from this list is a graduate:

  • Alberta High School Diploma (English and Francophone)
  • Certificate of High School Achievement (English and Francophone)
  • Certificate of School Completion
  • Alberta High School Diploma as a Mature Student
  • High School Equivalency Diploma (by two options)

Having a diploma or certificate does not necessarily guarantee admission to a post-secondary institution. Students should check the calendars of post-secondary institutions for admission requirements.

What's stopping you from graduating?

Leaving school is not a snap decision, nor is it always just about what is happening at school. Leaving school is usually a process that begins long before a student reaches high school. Listed below, there are a number of reasons why teens leave school.

I use drugs or alcohol

Addiction and Mental Health
Al-Anon and Alateen

I would rather work

Career and Technology Studies
Apprenticeship Program
Dual Credit

I don't fit in

Calgary Pride Centre
Edmonton Pride Centre
Camp fYrefly
Egale Canada

I'm pregnant

Louise Dean School
Pregnant & Parenting Teens
KARA
Terra Edmonton

I can't handle it

BullyFree Alberta
Can We Talk?
Mental Health Help Line
Distress Centre
CMHA - Edmonton

Credits

Students are awarded credits for achieving at least 50% in high school courses.

After each semester or school year, students are awarded credits by Alberta Education on the recommendation of the principal. To earn the credits attached to all senior high school courses, a student must achieve at least 50% in each course.

Students need 100 credits for a High School Diploma

Senior high school students in Alberta are encouraged to take a wide range of courses.

Prerequisites

A student who has achieved a mark of 50% or higher in a given course is eligible to take the next or higher ranking high school course in that sequence. Prerequisites may be waived in some circumstances. For full information, see the Guide to Education.

Challenging credits

Course challenges allow any student registered in senior high school to challenge the outcomes of a course by participating in a formal assessment process, rather than taking the course. Students are not permitted to challenge some courses.

Course challenges are intended to:

  • meet the diverse needs of students
  • encourage students’ ownership of their learning
  • acknowledge the learning that students acquire in a variety of settings, not necessarily limited to schools

For full information, see the Guide to Education.

Retroactive credits

This section applies to all students except mature students.

Students not achieving at least 50% in a course may repeat the course. Or, subject to the approval of the school principal, they may take a course in an alternative sequence.

Students who successfully complete the next higher-level course in an alternative sequence are granted credit for the prerequisite course in that alternative sequence.

For full information, and a chart with courses eligible for retroactive credits, see the Guide to Education.

High school courses and credits for junior high students

Secondary education programs recognize and accommodate the wide range of developmental needs and abilities that exist among students.

Eligible students may take senior high school courses for diploma credits during a junior high school’s regular instructional day. The decision to extend this privilege to a student follows appropriate consultation with and approval of a parent or guardian and the senior high school principal.

For full information, see the Guide to Education.

Course sequence transfer

Students may change course sequences, when necessary, to more appropriate levels of challenge. For full information, see the Guide to Education.

Credits checklists

Accumulated Credits Checklist (DOCX, 23 KB)
Diploma Credits Checklist (DOC, 90 KB)

Upgrading and myPass links

Upgrading through Distance Learning
Upgrading through a School Board
Upgrading through a Post-Secondary Institution
myPass

High School Diploma

The chart below outlines one way of achieving Alberta High School Diploma graduation requirements, in English. Course sequencing and selection will vary for individual students.

ALBERTA HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA: GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS (ENGLISH)

The requirements indicated in this chart are the minimum requirements for a student to attain an Alberta High School Diploma. The requirements for entry into post-secondary institutions and workplaces may require additional and/or specific courses.

100 CREDITS including the following:

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS – 30 LEVEL

(English Language Arts 30-1 or 30-2)

SOCIAL STUDIES – 30 LEVEL

(Social Studies 30-1 or 30-2)

MATHEMATICS – 20 LEVEL

(Mathematics 20-1, Mathematics 20-2 or Mathematics 20-3)

SCIENCE – 20 LEVEL

(Science 20, Science 24, Biology 20, Chemistry 20 or Physics 20)

 PHYSICAL EDUCATION 10 (3 CREDITS)

 CAREER AND LIFE MANAGEMENT (3 CREDITS)

10 CREDITS IN ANY COMBINATION FROM

  • Career and Technology Studies (CTS) courses
  • Fine Arts courses
  • Second Languages courses
  • Physical Education 20 and/or 30
  • Knowledge and Employability courses
  • Registered Apprenticeship Program courses
  • Locally developed courses in CTS, fine arts, second languages or Knowledge and Employability occupational courses

     

10 CREDITS IN ANY 30-LEVEL COURSE
(IN ADDITION TO A 30-LEVEL ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS AND A 30-LEVEL SOCIAL STUDIES COURSE AS SPECIFIED ABOVE)‘

These courses may include

  • 30-level locally developed courses
  • Advanced level (3000 series) in Career and Technology Studies courses
  • 30-level Work Experience courses
  • 30-level Knowledge and Employability courses
  • 30-level Registered Apprenticeship Program courses
  • 30-level Green Certificate Specialization courses
  • Special Projects 30

To learn more

The complete chart, including footnotes, is available in the Guide to Education.

How to see your progress

Students enrolled in an Alberta high school can view their progress towards achieving an Alberta credential online from myPass.Alberta.ca.

Certificate of School Completion

Students with a significant cognitive disability can achieve the Certificate of School Completion if they are unable to achieve the following certificates or diplomas:

  • Alberta High School Diploma
  • Diplôme d'études secondaires de l'Alberta
  • High School Equivalency Diploma
  • Diplôme d'equivalence d'études secondaires
  • Certificate of High School Achievement (Knowledge and Employability)
  • Certificat de réussite d'études secondaires (Connaissances et employabilité)

To qualify for the Certificate of School Completion, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Student has worked on the goals and objectives in their individualized program plan/instructional support plan.
  • Student has attended school for at least 12 years by the end of the current school year.
  • Student is 17 years of age by March 1 of the current school year.
  • Nomination is submitted during the student’s last year of high school.
  • Student is registered with one of the following special education codes (41, 43, 44 or 52) at the time of school completion. Registrations with other special education codes can also be considered and will be reviewed by the Learner Services Branch.

How to nominate a student

To receive the certificate, a student must be nominated by the principal or assistant principal of his or her school.

Nominations for the Certificate of School Completion can be submitted at any time during the year through PASIprep. To obtain access to PASIprep, please contact your school authority’s data coordinator.

To learn more

The Guide to Education outlines all the requirements for a student to receive an Alberta High School Certificate of School Completion.

Certificate of Achievement

Students who are enrolled in Knowledge and Employability courses and who satisfy the requirements as outlined in the chart below are awarded a Certificate of High School Achievement.

CERTIFICATE OF HIGH SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT REQUIREMENTS (ENGLISH)

The requirements indicated in this chart are the minimum requirements for a student to attain a Certificate of High School Achievement. The requirements for entry into post-secondary institutions and workplaces may require additional and/or specific courses.

80 CREDITS including the following:

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS 20-2 OR 30-4

MATHEMATICS 10-3 OR 20-4

SCIENCE 14 OR 20-4

SOCIAL STUDIES 10-2 OR 20-4

PHYSICAL EDUCATION 10 (3 CREDITS)

CAREER AND LIFE MANAGEMENT (3 CREDITS)

5 CREDITS IN

  • 30-level Knowledge and Employability occupational course, or
  • Advanced level (3000 series) in Career and Technology Studies courses, or
  • 30-level locally developed course with an occupational focus

AND 5 CREDITS IN

  • 30-level Knowledge and Employability Workplace Practicum course, or
  • 30-level Work Experience course, or
  • 30-level Green Certificate course, or
  • Special Projects 30

OR

5 CREDITS IN

  • 30-level Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP) course

What are Knowledge and Employability courses?

Knowledge and Employability courses are designed for students in grades 8 to 12, and they provide students with opportunities to experience success and become well-prepared for employment, further studies, citizenship and lifelong learning.

To learn more

The complete chart, including footnotes, is available in the Guide to Education.

Equivalency Diploma

If you are no longer in high school, and don't have a diploma, you may require a high school equivalency diploma for employment or education.

Qualifying for an Equivalency Diploma

Anyone who wishes to obtain a High School Equivalency Diploma should be:

  • 18 years or older as of September 1 of the current school year
  • deficient in the credits needed for an Alberta High School Diploma
  • out of school for at  least 10 consecutive months

There are two ways to get a High School Equivalency Diploma:

Option 1: Gather credits

Gather 100 school credits through a combination of High School credits, credits for maturity and life experiences, and credits for adult education.

A minimum of 60 credits must be gained through classroom instruction in a school or other institution accredited by or acceptable to Alberta Education (for out-of-province students), offering approved senior high school courses.

The Accumulated Credit Checklist is an easy way to determine how many credits a student has and how many they still need for a High School Equivalency Diploma. Have a look in the credits section to learn more.

Option 2: Pass five General Educational Development (GED) tests

You do not have to complete high school courses to write the GED exam.

However, Alberta colleges, universities and technical institutes might not accept the GED on its own for entrance to post-secondary studies. If you are thinking of completing the GED as a way of entering a post-secondary institution, confirm first if the GED is accepted.

Read more about the 5 GED tests.

To learn more

The Guide to Education outlines all the requirements for a student to receive an Alberta High School Equivalency Diploma.

Diploma as a mature student

Who is a mature student?

A mature student, for Alberta High School Diploma purposes, is one who, as of September 1 of the current school year, is either:

  • 19 years of age or older, or
  • the holder of a previously awarded high school diploma from the province of Alberta, or an equivalent high school diploma from a jurisdiction acceptable to the Minister

How do mature students qualify for an Alberta High School Diploma?

Mature students are eligible to receive the Alberta High School Diploma or the Certificate of High School Achievement.

They must complete the specified requirements except for Physical Education 10 and CALM.

To learn more

The Guide to Education outlines all the requirements for a mature student to receive an Alberta High School Diploma or Certificate of High School Achievement.

Reprint request

You can request a reprint of your high school diploma through myPass.

Request a reprint by mail or email

Fill in the form and send it to Alberta Education via mail or email. You can also request this online at myPass.

Credential Reprint Request Form (PDF, 117 KB)
Personal Information Update Request Form (PDF, 689 KB)

Contact

To connect with PASI and Student Records, Student Enrolment and Marks:

Hours: 8:15 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-9337
Toll free: 310-0000 before the phone number (in Alberta)
Email: StudentRecords@gov.ab.ca