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NYC High School Credentials

October 14, 2023
Special Education, Transition Planning

NYC high school credentials are not equivalent to high school diplomas. As stand alone credentials, they cannot be used to apply to college, the military, and vocational training programs that require a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma (HSE). Students who are working to obtain a stand alone credential have the right to stay in school until the end of the school year in which they turn 21.

Career Development & Occupational Studies (CDOS) Commencement Credential

What is it?

Since June 2016, the CDOS commencement credential is available to all students and prepares them for entry-level work. The CDOS may be awarded:

  • As a stand alone credential for students not receiving a diploma,*
  • In addition to a diploma, as an endorsement, or
  • As a Regents +1 option for a diploma

For more information, refer to the NYS CDOS Commencement Credential Frequently Asked Questions, updated June 2023.

*Note: CDOS, without a diploma, and SACC credential are not equivalent to a diploma. Neither can replace a diploma if one is required (e.g. to attend college, obtain employment, or join the military). 

How To Get It

Option 1

The student must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Development of a career plan including student’s career interests, strengths, needs, goals, coursework, and work-based learning plan 
  • Demonstrate achievement of the CDOS learning standards
  • Successful completion of at least 216 hours of CTE coursework, including at least 54 hours work-based learning experiences
  • At least one employability profile documenting student’s:
    • Employability skills and experiences, and
    • Attainment of the CDOS learning standards

Option 2

The student must pass a department approved work readiness assessment.

Examples include:

Speak with your school counselor or principal about options. For the full list, visit

Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential (SACC)

What is it?

This credential replaced the IEP diploma. It recognizes students’ skills and achievements in:

  • academics,
  • career development, and
  • other foundations needed for post-school living, learning, and working

For more information, refer to Skills and Achievement Commencement Credential for Students with Severe Disabilities.

How To Get It

The student must meet each of the following requirements:

  • Be a student with a disability who participates in the NYS alternate assessments (NYSAA)
  • Attend school for at least 12 years, excluding kindergarten, or until the school year in which a student turns 21 years old

Students will receive a summary of their:

  • Achievement of the CDOS learning standards
  • Level of academic achievement and independence as measured by NYSAA, skills, strengths, interests, and
  • Other achievements and accomplishments

NYS Alternate Assessments (NYSAA) Determination

The IEP team determines the eligibility of students with disabilities to participate in standard or alternate assessments. Students who are eligible for alternate assessments: 

  • generally have limited cognitive abilities combined with behavioral and/or physical limitations.
  • will find it labeled on their IEP under the section “Participate in State and District-wide Assessments”

The NYSAA measures student performance in English language arts (ELA), mathematics, and science ELA. Sample Score Reports.

For more information: New York State Alternate Assessment, NYSAA Parent Resource

Additional Resources:

NYCDOE High School Academic Policy Guide 

NYCDOE Graduation Requirements

NYCDOE Graduation Requirements Worksheet