NJSL’s Career Online High School Program

Please note that this program has now ended. If we are successful in obtaining funding to extend the program into the future, we will restart the program.



Get Your High School Diploma For Free At Your Public Library!

The New Jersey State Library launched an online high school completion program, Career Online High School, which will allow NJ residents to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online, through their local library. The program is designed for NJ residents who dropped out of high school and have not returned nor taken the GED exam. Seats are limited and restrictions apply.

The program is free of charge, and will be available at the following libraries:

NJ’s Career Online High School Program was made possible by a grant awarded to the New Jersey State Library from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.



The New Jersey State Library’s Career Online High School program will provide a limited number of free enrollments to qualified adult learners who are looking to advance their careers, prepare for workforce entry or continue their education.

Applicants who successfully complete an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, followed by an in-person interview, will be considered for enrollment. The program launched on October 6, 2014. 



Once enrolled, COHS pairs each student with an online academic coach, who provides the student with an individual career path, offers ongoing guidance, evaluates performance and connects the student with the resources needed to master the courses. Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program. If you are interested in the program, please contact one of our participating libraries listed above for more information.


For more information about participating, visit: http://www.careeronlinehs.gale.com/njsl/ or please reach out to the individual libraries listed above. For further information about the New Jersey State Library’s involvement in this program please contact Peggy Cadigan 609-278-2640, x113.


To learn more about the Career Online High School (COHS) program, please review these questions and answers:


What is Career Online High School (COHS)

Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school completion and career certification program available through six New Jersey Library systems. This is a pilot program made possible by a grant awarded to the New Jersey State Library from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


Is Career Online High School accredited? What is your history?

Career Online High School is accredited by AdvancED/SACS. AdvancEd is the national commission that confers the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI) accreditation seal. AdvancED provides nationally recognized accreditation for school districts and individual schools and represents 32,000 public and private schools and districts across the United States and in 70 countries worldwide. Learn more about the District Accreditation Process at www.advanc-ed.org.

COHS began in 2011 and was accredited as of February 2012. Since February 2012, 1,793 students have enrolled in the program with a retention rate of 60%.


Are Career Online High School instructors certified?  When are they available to assist students?

All COHS instructors are state-certified and located in Florida. Most of the academic coaches and academic support instructors are located in Florida. Office hours are 9 am to 6 pm Eastern Time; however, coaches have evening hours twice a week and the hours will likely be expanded. COHS staff will reach out to all students at least once every two weeks – and more often for students in need.


Who can apply to Career Online High School?

New Jersey adult residents (19 and over) who are served by the libraries listed below.  Scotch Plains Public Library and Elizabeth Public Library patrons must be 22-years old and over. If your library is not listed and you are interested in COHS, NJ residents may apply by selecting “Other” when taking the online self-assessment. However, this is a pilot program with limited scholarships available and residents served by the six libraries listed below will be given first consideration.

Applicants must be a library cardholder in good standing or be willing to obtain a library card from their library. Minors should pursue their high school education through existing resources within their school district.


How will people be selected for the program?

Enrollment is limited and the demand is expected to be high.  Adults must successfully pass an online self-assessment and prerequisite course within a two-week timeframe with a 70% or higher, as well as an in-person interview to become an applicant in the program.


How much does it cost?

This is a pilot program offering free enrollment made possible by a grant awarded to the New Jersey State Library from the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.


Will COHS students receive their GED?

No.  This is not a GED program. Successful graduates will earn a high school diploma and a career certification through an accredited high school.


What is the difference between a GED and a 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?

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 your employer about the opportunities available to you. Please note, a GED or General Equivalency Diploma requires you to pay for an exam and preparing for the exam does not always provide you with the learning opportunities you can gain through completing coursework. Additionally, Career Online High School gives you the benefit of earning a career certificate and completing additional job preparation documents and training.


How long will it take for 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 an accredited high school(s).  Depending on how many credits the student is able to transfer, the program can be completed in as few as five months.


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

We recommend that you dedicate 8 – 10 hours per week to your coursework. Your academic coach will help keep you on track! We also provide you with a pace guide that helps you move through the program by completing one credit every two weeks.


Is all coursework in English?

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


Is all coursework web-based?



When can I work on my courses?

Courses are self-paced and taught in an online learning environment available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you do not have access to a personal computer/lap top and Wi-Fi, please visit your library with your library card to use a computer.


What if I need help with my coursework?

Your academic coach will connect you with one of our certified instructors, who will provide you with additional academic support, when needed.


When can I start my classes?

Upon notification of scholarship award from your library, you will have access to the online classroom within 72 hours.


I dropped out my senior year of high school. Will all of the courses I completed count toward this diploma?

If you are awarded a scholarship to enroll in the complete program, you must request transcripts from any accredited high school you attended and have them sent to the Career Online High School registrar. The Career Online High School representative will review your transcripts and apply credits for any coursework you completed that fulfills our credit transfer requirements. Elective credits do not apply since the electives we offer are required for you to earn your career certification. Click for a transcript request form.

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 major like child care, how will I train to work with children?

While we provide you with all of the coursework you need in order 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.


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.


Will I need to purchase textbooks?

No, you will not; however, the Language Arts classes may require novels, which you can check out of the library.


Does the Library offer other resources for education and job preparation?

The library is committed to helping people meet their education and job preparation needs. The library encourages you 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.