Department of Defense Tier I Education

Generally, a Tier I education status apply to individuals who receive a diploma from a secondary school that is legally operating, or otherwise completes a program of secondary education in compliance with the education laws of the state in which the applicant resides. The following provides greater details and credential requirements.

High School Diploma Graduate (Traditional)

A diploma issued to a graduate of a public, private, or DoDEA 12-year, “traditional,” credit-based day program of classroom instruction; this includes individuals who met all requirements for graduation, but failed to pass mandated exit exams. Minimum Requirements;

Charter school graduates

Fulfillment of both course and credit requirements of a traditional graded day program of classroom instruction.

High School Senior

An individual attending high school as a senior. Minimum Requirements:

High school students who have completed their junior year and earned at least 70 percent of the required graduation credits are granted senior status upon the graduation of the current senior class.

Senior status must be verified prior to DEP enlistment by use of the High School Senior Graduate Status Verification document. This document must be signed and dated by an authorized school official.

High school juniors that will be mid-year graduates can enlist into the DEP provided they are 17-years of age, have completed at least 70 percent of the required credits for graduation, and have a properly executed and verified the high school senior or graduate status verification document.

Note: If you failed the school's exit exam, you must be at least six months beyond their high school completion date and must have a letter from an authorized school official verifying that he or she met all the high school graduation requirements but failed the exit exam(s) and did not receive a high school diploma.

Post-Secondary Degree

If you have earned an associate degree or higher from an accredited U.S. college will be considered Tier I. Requirements:

Adult/Alternative Diploma Graduate

A diploma issued to a graduate of a public or private non-traditional school using alternative methods of instruction to complete graduation credit requirements based on state law (i.e., all alternative, accelerated, or high school completion programs to include the GED (see note 1 for GED clarification). Minimum Requirements;

Note 1: A traditional GED even with a 50 or greater ASVAB score is still considered a Tier II credential UNLESS the GED was received as a result of an alternative, accelerated school (not all states have this option) in which case the GED may be considered as a Tier I credential.

Completed One Semester of College

A non-high school diploma graduate who completed 15 semester hours or 22 quarter hours of college level credit or 675 clock hours from an accredited traditional or on-line post-secondary institution. Requirements:

Job Corps Programs

A Job Corps graduate with a General Education Diploma (GED) or an alternative high school credential and a Job Corps certificate of completion from a vocational/technical program consisting of at least 675 clock-hour credits of vocational/technical education. The official document used by the Job Corps to report skill/trade training clock-hour credits is the Training Achievement Record (TAR). Requirements;

Only On/Off-site Work Based Learning (WBL) clock-hour training credits documented on the TAR are acceptable towards the 675 clock-hour credit requirements. Employ-ability/Career/Social Skills Training, Orientation, GED Preparation, or non-skill/trade training clock-hours do not count towards the required 675 clock hours of skill/trade training. The Job Corps Certification Form must be included when verifying the educational standing of Job Corps applicants.

Note: If you completed 675 or more clock-hour credits but dropped out of the vocational/technical program before earning a certificate of completion, or failed to earn a GED, you are ineligible for Tier I status.

Home School Diploma

A diploma issued to a graduate of a home school program per State requirements, administered by a parent, teacher or school district, or umbrella association. For applicable laws governing home schools, refer to the Home School Legal Defense Association at Requirements:

Home schooled applicants must provide a diploma or certificate, if available, and transcripts indicating the individual completed four years of high school curriculum.

Home school transcripts must contain the following information:

Virtual/Distance School Diploma

A diploma awarded upon completion of an accredited Home Study, Distance Learning, Independent Study, Self-Study, Correspondence School, Cyber School or Virtual Learning Program. Requirements:

  1. A secondary school diploma or certificate issued by an accredited program to qualify for Tier 1 status.
  2. The Distance Education and Training Council ( is the authoritative source for accreditation of distance education.
  3. Charter school graduates who complete course and credit requirements of a state approved online virtual program of instruction will be coded as a Tier 1.
  4. Diplomas will be accepted from home study, distance learning, independent study, self-study, correspondence schools, cyber schools, or virtual learning programs that are either state approved, accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), one of the six listed regional accrediting associations:
    • Middles States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Created in 1919, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are approximately 525 schools accredited by this commission.
    • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE). The CIHE covers the six-New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The commission is made up of 24 people elected by the member colleges. There are currently about 240 colleges and institutions accredited by the CIHE.
    • North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), Higher Learning Commission. This commission accredits higher education institutions in the 19-north central states of Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming. Over 1000 institutions are currently accredited by this commission.
    • Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). This commission accredits institutions of higher education in the seven states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. It currently has 162 institutions with accredited status.
    • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Commission on Colleges. Colleges and universities in the 11-southern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia are accredited by this commission which was founded in 1912. There are currently about 800 institutions accredited by this commission.
    • Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This association was formed in 1962 and has two accrediting agencies that accredit schools of higher education: The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges which has about 150 accredited schools and the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities which has accredited about 160 schools. These commissions accredit institutions in California and Hawaii as well as some U.S. territories.

Prior Military Service

If you are a prior service veteran who served a complete enlistment of four years or more in any Component of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are eligible to (re)enlist as high school diploma graduate. Requirements:

If you have any questions after reading the article, either contact your local recruiter, or you can ask me directly.

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