About Career Online High School

The Tulare Public Library, in partnership with the California Sate Library and Gale/ Cengage, offers adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through Career Online High School.

The library’s pilot program provides a limited number of scholarships to qualified adult learners who are looking to expand their career opportunities, prepare for workforce entry and continue their education.

Career Online High School through the Tulare Public Library is open to eligible City of Tulare residents. Applicants who successfully complete an online self-assessment and a two week prerequisite course, followed by an in-person interview, will be considered for enrollment.

Once enrolled in the program, Career Online High School pairs each student with an online academic coach, who provides the student with an individual career path, offers ongoing guidance , evaluations performance and connects the student with the resources needed to master courses. Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program.

To begin the online self-assessment or apply CLICK HERE

Career Online High School press release March 2016

Career Online High School Pilot Program:
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Career Online High School (COHS)?

Career Online High School (COHS) is an accredited online high school diploma and career certification program provided by Gale, a part of Cengage Learning. This California State Library pilot program makes COHS available through participating public libraries throughout the state. These libraries will offer free enrollment to a limited number of qualified adult students within their service areas.

Who can apply to COHS?

Adults who are at least 19 years old and wish to earn their high school diplomas can apply to COHS.  Minors should pursue their high school education through existing high school programs.

Program applicants must live within the jurisdiction of a library participating in the program and have a library card in good standing from that library, or be willing to obtain one.

Need help with locating the name of your local library? Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

How will people be selected for the program?

Enrollment is limited and demand is expected to be high. Prospective students must successfully complete an online self-assessment. Once the self-assessment is completed, prospective students will be contacted by their libraries and if they are eligible will be given a link to a two-week prerequisite course. Those who pass the prerequisite course with a score of 70% or above within a two-week period will then be interviewed in person by their libraries to determine if they will receive a scholarship. Successful completion of the prerequisite course does not guarantee a scholarship will be awarded.

Each participating library’s process for selecting students may be a little different. You should contact your library for specifics. Learn how the program works in detail.

How long will it take me to complete the program?

Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program, which will consist of 18 credits. Students accepted into the program may transfer up to 14 credits from their former high schools.  If you are awarded a scholarship to enroll in the program, you may request transcripts from any high school you attended and have them sent to the Career Online High School registrar. The registrar will review your transcripts and apply credits for any coursework completed that fulfills the transfer requirements. Depending on how many credits a student is able to transfer, the program can be completed in as few as 5 months.

How much time will I need to dedicate to my coursework?

We recommend that students dedicate 8-10 hours per week to their coursework. Students enrolled in COHS are assigned an academic coach who will keep them on track. You’ll also be provided with a pace guide that will help you move through the program, by completing one credit every two weeks.

When can I work on my courses?

Courses are self-paced and taught in an online learning environment, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

What if I need help with my coursework?

Your academic coach will connect you with one of the COHS instructors, who will provide you with additional academic support, when needed. Your library may also offer support.

Will COHS students receive a GED?

No.  This is not a GED (General Educational Development) program. Successful graduates will earn a high school diploma and an entry-level career certification through an accredited high school.

What is the difference between a GED and high school diploma?

While both the GED and the high school diploma are important, there are several differences between them. Among the most significant is the fact that some colleges, institutions, and organizations require a high school diploma and may not accept the GED.  In addition to providing a high school diploma, COHS gives students the benefit of earning a career certificate and completing additional job preparation documents and training.

Why shouldn’t I just get my GED?

A GED or General Equivalency Diploma requires you to pay for an exam. Preparing for the exam can also have costs and it does not always provide you with the same learning opportunities gained through completing coursework. Additionally, COHS gives you the added benefit of earning a career certificate and developing a career portfolio.

We encourage you to make the decision that is right for you. Research all of your options so that you can make an informed decision. Also, you may want to speak with your local library, friends, family, and employer about the opportunities available to you.

What type of career certification will be offered?

Through COHS, students may earn a certificate in the following areas:

  • Childcare and Education
  • Certified Protection Officer (Security Officer)
  • Office Management
  • Certified Transportation Services (Trucker/Commercial Driver)
  • Homeland Security
  • General Career Preparation
  • Retail Customer Service Skills
  • Food Service and Customer Service Skills

If I choose a career certification in an area such as childcare, how will I train to work with children?

While we provide you with all of the coursework needed to qualify for a childcare certification, you will need to find a local agency in your community to fulfill the hands-on training hours required. Your library may be able to assist.

What is the career portfolio?

To arm you with the tools you need to find a job, we will teach you to create essential documents, such as your resume and a cover letter. All students must complete this.

Is all coursework web-based?

Yes.  But for the in-person interview prior to receiving a scholarship (see How It Works), you will be required to visit your library.

What device(s) can I use to access my coursework?

You must use a desktop or laptop. A smart phone, tablet or iPad will not support the learning management system. If you do not have access to a desktop or laptop, your library can help.

Is all coursework in English?

Yes. At this time, all coursework is available in English only.

Will I need to purchase textbooks?


How long will it take for students to complete the program?

Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program, which will consist of 18 credits. Students accepted into the program may transfer up to 14 credits from their former high schools.  Depending on how many credits a student is able to transfer, the program can be completed in as few as five months.

What is the history of COHS?

COHS was founded in early 2010 and accredited as the world’s first online private school district in February 2011. Since February 2012, approximately 6,200 students have enrolled in the program with a retention rate of approximately 66% to 72%.

Is COHS accredited?

Career Online High School is accredited as an online school district by the AdvancED Accreditation Commission, the national commission that confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accreditation seal. This means that the SHCOE district and all of its schools are accredited, and that Smart Horizons Career Online Education is recognized across the nation as a quality school system, delivering a SACS accredited online high school diploma.

Students and community members can learn more about the district accreditation process at

Will my local community colleges and universities accept a Career Online High School diploma?

It is important to understand that a high school diploma alone (from any type of accredited high school) is not enough to guarantee a student admission into a college or university, as each post-secondary institution has its own minimum standards including admissions exams, standardized test scores and other criteria. If you are interested in attending a particular college or university, we recommend that you contact that institution’s admissions office to confirm whether the COHS diploma will satisfy their requirements.

What if I need help with the admissions process following graduation?

Career Online High School is committed to the success of its graduates as they advance into the workplace or postsecondary education and training. Any alumni of the COHS program who have questions about their transcripts or meeting college admissions requirements may call 1-888-408-5783 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for support.

Is the COHS staff credentialed? When are they available to assist students?

Yes, all COHS instructors are state-certified.  Most of the academic coaches and academic instructors are located in Florida.  Office hours are 8 am to 5 pm Central Time; however, coaches have evening hours twice a week and the hours will likely be expanded.  Coaches/instructors are not exclusively assigned to specific libraries. Each student’s assigned academic coach will welcome the student initially and then reach out at least once every two weeks – and more often for students needing additional assistance.

Does my library offer other resources for education and job preparation?

Your library is committed to helping people meet their education and job preparation needs. You are encouraged to visit your nearest branch and speak to the staff to help you find a local agency or resource that will best fit your needs.

Ask your library about the following services: online learning resources; GED preparation; career preparation; and adult literacy programs.

How do I get started?

Complete an online self-assessment.  After you have successfully finished the self-assessment, you will be contacted by your library within 5 business days to discuss the prerequisite course. Upon successful completion of the course, you will be contacted again by your library within 5 business days to schedule an interview and discuss your application into the program.