Adult Education: Career Online High School Frequently Asked Questions

  • image of people in graduation caps and gowns.  Text reads: Career Online High School, your time is now.

frequently asked questions

Q: What is Career Online High School (COHS)?

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

Q: Who can apply to COHS?

A: Applicants must be adults (ages 19 and older) who live in Sonoma County and wish to earn a high school diploma. All applicants must have a Sonoma County Library card in good standing.  Those 18 years of age and younger should pursue their high school education through existing resources within their school districts.

Q: How will people be selected for the program?

A: Enrollment is limited and the demand is expected to be high.  Adults must successfully pass an online self-assessment and prerequisite course, as well as an in-person interview to be selected for the program.

Q: Will COHS students receive their GED?

A: No, this is not a GED program. Successful graduates will earn a high school diploma and a career certification through an accredited online high school.

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

A: 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.

Q: What type of career certification will be offered:

A: 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

Students and community members can learn more about the District Accreditation Process at

Q: Is all coursework web-based?

A: Yes. Computers are available at all of the Library locations and can be reserved online. A limited number of laptops are also available for scholarship recipients.

Q: Is all coursework in English?

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

Q: How long will it take to complete the program?

A: Students will be given up to 18 months to complete the program, which consists 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.

Q: What is the history of Career Online High School?

A: 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%.

Q: Is COHS accredited?

A: 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 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.

Q: Are COHS staff credentialed? 

A: Yes, all COHS instructors are state-certified.

Q: When is COHS staff available to assist students?

Most of the academic coaches and academic support instructors are located in Florida.  Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. However, coaches have evening hours twice a week and the hours likely will be expanded.  Staff is not exclusively assigned to students enrolled through Sonoma County Library at this time. The COHS will reach out to all students at least once every two weeks – and more often for students in need.

Q: Does the library offer other resources for education and job preparation?

A: The Sonoma County Library is committed to helping people meet their education and job preparation needs.  The Library encourages people to visit its 14 locations, web-based resources at, and explore these library resources:

Q: Am I guaranteed a scholarship if I finish the prerequisite course?

A:  By successfully completing the Prerequisite Course you qualify for a scholarship on a first-come, first-served basis.  Once all scholarships have been assigned, additional applicants will be added to a wait list. 
You will be able to proceed with the qualifying process as soon as scholarships become available. The number of scholarships is dependent on the funding received through grants and donations. We hope to be able to award scholarships to all qualified applicants.

This program is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.

If you are interested in the program, please complete the online form and our enrollment team will contact you.  You can also call for more information: Career Online High School Coordinator, 707-545-0831 x1607.

  Back to Career Online High School main page