How to Verify a High School Diploma

by Kayar Sprang; Updated September 26, 2017

In today's world, most companies require job applicants to have at least a high school diploma or a General Educational Development credential (GED). Most Americans have one or the other. But an estimated 39 million don't have a high school diploma. They may find it necessary to lie on job applications or forge a diploma. Or, they may buy a "high school diploma" online. That's why companies need to know how to verify a high school diploma.

Step 1

Obtain written permission from the job applicant so the high school they attended will release transcripts to you.

Step 2

Find the contact information for the high school. If the school is local, look in the phone directory. You can look up numbers and addresses for out-of-town high schools at free online phone directories (see Resources). You don't need a street address, just the school name, the city and state, or zip code where they're located.

Step 3

Contact the high school and verify the high school diploma. To help ensure the diploma is legitimate, ask how long the person attended that school, from what year to what year? Online high school diploma mills offer consumers a diploma in a short amount of time, sometimes in less than a week.

Step 4

Locate the high school if you can't find a phone number for it. If the school is an accredited "brick and mortar" learning institution, it will have a listed number. Online high schools don't always have listed phone numbers. To contact one of them, search for its name on the Internet. Then, find the "Contact Us" section on its website for a phone number.

Step 5

Find out if the high school in question is accredited by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) by visiting its database (see Resources). You can read more about diploma (and degree) mills at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation website (see Resources).


  • Just because a high school isn't accredited doesn't mean it's a "diploma mill". However, the most reputable schools are recognized by the government.


  • Don't be fooled into thinking a diploma is authentic because it came from a legitimate-sounding school. High school diploma mills often choose names that sound like a location (i.e., Apple Valley High School) or resemble a real school name.

About the Author

Kayar Sprang has been a professional freelance writer and researcher since 1999. She has had articles published by clients like Kraft Foods, "Woman's Day" magazine and Mom Junction. Sprang specializes in subjects she has expertise in, including gardening and home improvement. She lives on and maintains a multi-acre farm.