Career Tech Honors Diploma

High school students can gain state recognition for exceeding Ohio’s graduation requirements through a Career-Tech Honors Diploma. High-level coursework, college and career readiness tests and real-world experiences challenge students. 

Students must meet all but one of the following criteria, unless it is a minimum graduation requirement, which are here for the class of 2017 and here for the classes of 2018 and beyond. Students must meet general graduation requirements to qualify for honors diplomas.

Career-Tech Honors Diploma

Requirements State Minimum
Math 4 units
Science 4 units, including 2 units of advanced science
Social Studies 4 units
World Languages 2 units of one world language
Electives 4 units of career-technical courses
GPA 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
ACT/SAT/WorkKeys ACT: 27 or higher/SAT: 1280 or higher/WorkKeys: 6 or higher on Reading for Information and 6 or higher on Applied Mathematics
Field Experience Complete a field experience and document the experience in a portfolio specific to the student’s area of focus.
Portfolio Develop a comprehensive portfolio of work based on the student’s field experience or a topic that is related to the student’s area of focus.
Additional Assessments Earn an industry-recognized credential or achieve proficiency benchmark for appropriate Ohio Career-Technical Competency Assessment or equivalent.


To be eligible, students must complete units, or credits, in specific subjects (see above chart). They can use Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, College Credit Plus and Credit Flexibility coursework to meet the unit requirements of an honors diploma. A single course can meet multiple criteria if it fits under multiple subject areas.

Students also can design their own independent study courses. This requires that someone with proper licensure in the subject area teach or co-teach the courses used for an honors diploma.

Math – Students must take algebra I, geometry, algebra II (or equivalent), and one other higher level course OR a four-course sequence that contains equivalent or higher content.

Science – Advanced science refers to courses that are inquiry based with laboratory experiences. They must align with the grades 11/12 standards (or above) or with an Advanced Placement science course or entry-level college course (clearly preparing students for college freshman-level science classes, such as anatomy, botany or astronomy).

Social Studies – Students may get credit for both an American history course and/or the Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate American history course (same for government and world history). If a district counts financial literacy as a social studies course, students can use it as an elective to meet the requirement. If the district counts financial literacy as a family consumer science or business education elective, it does not count.

World Language – Only credits from courses that are sequential and proficiency based (e.g., Spanish levels I, II, III or German I and II and French I and II) fulfill the honors diploma requirement. Sequential classical (e.g., Latin, Ancient Greek) and visual (e.g., American Sign Language) languages do fulfill the honors diploma requirement. No units from language courses coded as “Foreign Language Exploratory” can count toward the honors diploma requirement. No units from culture-based courses can count toward the honors diploma requirements.

Electives – Students must complete four units of career-technical education courses. Contact your school for more information on available career-technical education electives.

GPA – GPAs must be calculated on an unweighted 4.0 scale.

ACT/SAT/WorkKeys score requirements – Students must have scores of 27 or higher on the ACT or 1280 or higher on the 2016 SAT or their equivalents on previous or future versions of the tests. The score for SAT was updated due to the new SAT exam. For students who took the SAT before March 1, 2016, concordance tables can be found here, and further information can be found on the College Board’s website. The ACT writing and SAT essay sections are not included. Students using WorkKeys to satisfy this assessment requirement must earn a 6 or higher on both the Applied Mathematics and Reading for Information sections of WorkKeys.

Field Experience - To fulfill the field experience criterion, a student must complete a learning experience that is pertinent to his or her honors diploma area of focus. Experiential learning is focused on the application of academic and technical skills within a student’s program of study. Experiential learning includes lab-based activities, co-ops, simulated workplace, mentorships, internships, pre-apprenticeships and apprenticeships. Lab-based experiential learning should simulate real-work worksites and expectations. Students should receive regular supervision and follow-up that is documented. Click here for more detailed guidance on field experience.

Portfolio - Work that is contained in a portfolio documents the student’s extensive knowledge and technical, critical-thinking and creative skills (representative of the student’s honors diploma area of focus) that the student has learned. Students must get their portfolios reviewed and validated by external experts. Click here for more detailed guidance on the portfolio criterion.

Additional Assessments – Students must earn an approved industry-recognized credential or achieve a proficiency benchmark for the appropriate Ohio Career-Technical Competency Assessment or equivalent. More information on industry-recognized credentials is located on the Department’s website.

Last Modified: 9/30/2022 6:20:56 AM