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Career Online High School

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Los Angeles Public Library / Career Online High School
Get the Education and Career Skills You Need to Succeed

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The Los Angeles Public Library, in partnership with Gale/Cengage, offers adults the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma and career certificate online through Smart Horizons Career Online Education’s Career Online High School (COHS). 

The library’s pilot program provides a limited number of free grants 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 a 2 week prerequisite course, followed by an in-person interview, will be entered into an automated lottery system for a grant to attend Career Online High School (COHS).  Each month, a limited number of applicants will be selected by the lottery for enrollment in the program.

Once enrolled, COHS pairs each student with an 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.

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

What is Career Online High School (COHS)?

Career Online High School (COHS) is an online high school diploma and career certification program available through the Los Angeles Public Library. This is a pilot program offering free enrollment to a limited number of students.

Who can apply to COHS?

Adult residents (19 and over) of the city of Los Angeles who wish to earn their high school diploma.  Minors should pursue their high school education through existing resources such as the Los Angeles Unified School District.

When did the application process open?

The application process opened on Monday, March 3rd, 2014, at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

How will people be selected for the program?

Enrollment is limited and the demand is expected to be high.  Adults must first pass an online self-assessment. Then, they are given 2 weeks to successfully complete and pass a prerequisite course, as well as an in-person interview to become an applicant in the program. Successful applicants are entered into an automated lottery system.  Each month, a limited number of applicants are selected by the lottery for enrollment in the program. Applicants who are not chosen in one lottery will be automatically entered in subsequent lotteries until all grants have been distributed.

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 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. 

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

Is all coursework Web-based?

Yes.  However, for the in-person interview, applicants must visit one of the Los Angeles Public Library’s literacy centers located throughout Los Angeles.

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

If chosen in the lottery, 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 school.  Depending on how many credits the student is able to transfer, the program can be completed in as few as five months.

Is a high school transcript necessary to apply?

While access to a high school transcript is strongly encouraged in order to transfer credits to COHS, it is not a requirement to apply.  If chosen in the lottery, enrollees without access to their high school transcript would need to complete all 18 credits within 18 months.

What is the history of COHS?

COHS began in 2011 and was fully accredited as of February 2012. Since February 2012, 819 students have enrolled in the program with a retention rate of 73%.

Is COHS accredited?

Career Online High School Smart Horizons Career Online Education 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 Career Online High School, a division within SHCOE 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

Are COHS staff credentialed? When are they available to assist students?

Yes, 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 8 am to 5 pm Central Time; however, coaches have evening hours twice a week and the hours will likely be expanded.  Staff is not exclusively assigned to students enrolled through LAPL at this time. The COHS will reach out to all students at least once every two weeks – and more often for students in need.

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

The Los Angeles Public Library is committed to helping people meet their education and job preparation needs.  The Library encourages people to visit its 73 locations, and to explore these web-based library and community resources.


How can adults learn more about the program and apply for a grant?

Visit the Career Online High School website at