High School Diploma Background Checks

Denise Hemke
February 08, 2023
4 min read

As fewer college graduates enter the workforce, more employers are dropping their requirements for positions that used to demand a bachelor’s degree. When a college degree isn’t necessary for a position, a high school diploma may be a requirement instead. In these instances, employers may conduct a high school diploma background check to verify academic credentials.

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A high school diploma is a necessary qualification for many industries and roles, especially in the public sector.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries that require high school-level education such as construction, administrative support, production, and transportation are expected to grow in the next five years. When you conduct a high school diploma background check, it confirms the academic credentials listed on the candidate’s application or resume are valid so you can be confident in their qualification for the role.

What is a high school diploma background check?

A high school diploma background check, also called a diploma background check or education verification, is conducted by contacting an academic institution to verify a candidate’s educational credentials, including the name of the school, attendance dates, and verification of a diploma. Employers may perform a high school education background check for several reasons.

First, with a 14.7% decline in college enrollment from Fall 2020 to Spring 2022, more employers are considering candidates with high school diplomas than before, making diploma background checks a helpful tool.

Additionally, employers should be aware that candidates may falsify educational credentials on their resume, including high school details. This false information may include claiming graduation from an institution without having earned all the necessary credits, using the name of a different institution than the one they attended, or taking advantage of diploma mills. Diploma mills, which are easily accessible online, use answering services and print fake diplomas to produce convincing forgeries. Although dishonesty is common, only 49% of employers perform education verifications, creating risk for hiring unqualified candidates.

Do high school diplomas show up on background checks?

Candidates may ask, “Does a background check show if you graduated high school?” If an employer chooses to conduct a background check that includes an education verification screening, it will show if the candidate graduated from high school.

An education verification can show a candidate’s entire educational history, including if a high school diploma was earned, the high schools attended, and the dates the candidate attended those schools. High school diplomas can show up on background checks no matter how long ago the candidate received the diploma. However, a candidate’s grades usually don’t appear on an education background check, so if a candidate’s GPA is required for the position, you (or the candidate) should request a transcript from the candidate’s school district.

How to conduct an education verification check

To conduct an education verification check, employers may choose to either contact academic institutions directly or partner with a qualified consumer reporting agency (CRA), like Checkr, to perform the high school education background check on your behalf.

Hiring a third-party background check provider offers several benefits over conducting an education background check yourself. First, CRAs easily navigate more burdensome resources on your behalf, such as the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Although employers may take advantage of the NSC’s verification services on their own, they may need to complete additional processes such as registration and audits that can be avoided by hiring a CRA to speed background check results.

Second, background check providers manage the often time-consuming task of outreach to academic institutions, saving your team time and effort. During hiring, delays can cost you qualified candidates. Background check providers may also help resolve complications, such as international high school diplomas, that could otherwise delay the background check process – Checkr conducts international education verifications in over 200 countries.

Lastly, background check providers often simplify compliance with federal, state, and local regulations that may be challenging for HR teams to navigate. This helps employers more easily mitigate risk and reduce bias during hiring.

Checkr conducts education verification screenings by searching the NSC as the primary data source to confirm a candidate’s highest level of education completed. If the information is unavailable through industry databases, Checkr contacts the school’s registrar directly or the candidate may be required to submit proof of education.

Get a high school diploma background check with Checkr

When hiring for positions that require a high school diploma background check, partnering with Checkr can help save you time and avoid delays in the hiring process. Checkr offers education verification as one of many screening options in a comprehensive background check. No matter your business size, Checkr offers simple pricing, built-in compliance tools, and easy-to-read reports to help you hire efficiently and confidently.

Get an education verification today


The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. We advise you to consult your own counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.

About the author

As Chief Product Officer at Checkr, Denise is responsible for leading the product vision, teams, and roadmap to deliver customer delight and innovation while advancing our mission of building a fairer future. Denise brings a relentless focus on customer success, adoption, and innovation to meet our customers’ needs.

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