Special Education Diploma Options in Tennessee

Apr 28, 2023 | Blog, Family Engagement, IEP/504, Transition

In the state of Tennessee, students receiving special education services have four options for diplomas when graduating from high school.

If your child has an Individual Education Program (IEP), it is important to know the differences between these diplomas and what each may mean for your child’s future. These diploma options are:

Regular Diploma

Alternate Academic Diploma (AAD)

Occupational Diploma

Special Education Diploma

 The following chart shows the differences between the four diplomas. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that ensures students who receive special education services have access to a free and appropriate public education with supports and services to meet their individual education needs.

All students have the right to standards-based education and access to courses that will prepare them for success after high school. IEP teams should create a transition plan that will help a student to move toward their chosen diploma option.

The Tennessee Department of Education has put together a Diploma Decision Guide to help schools and families determine the best path for each student. This guide provides the following helpful step-by-step guide.

The following chart provides additional information for each guiding question in the decision chart.

For more information about special education diploma and transition options visit one of the following resources: