Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Single Courses Questions

Q. When do classes start?

A. Enroll now and start immediately! Because you're in a "class of one," there's no need to wait for the next semester - class is in session whenever you're ready to learn.

Q. How long will it take to complete my training?

A. It's up to you. With Penn Foster, you set your own pace...complete your training as quickly or as slowly as you like. Many of our programs can be completed in less than a year if you study just an hour a day. The maximum time you have to complete a Career Diploma Program is two years.*

* Maximum completion time for the Telecommunications Technician, and High School Programs is three years.

Q. Do I need any previous experience?

A. Most Penn Foster programs are designed so even beginners with no experience can get off to a fast start toward an exciting new career. As long as you can read and write, and have average intelligence, you should be able to complete your training without any difficulty. However, some programs require that you have a High School Diploma or GED to enroll. This prerequisite is noted in the individual program descriptions where applicable. If you don't have your High School Diploma, and are interested in getting it, please call 1-800-961-6407 for details on how you can obtain your Penn Foster High School Diploma. It's recommended that you be familiar with personal computers before enrolling in many programs.

Q. I have been out of school for a long time. Will I have trouble?

A. You shouldn't. Penn Foster training is unlike attending classes at other schools. You proceed at your own, individual pace learning at the most comfortable speed. Lessons are easy to understand and contain plenty of pictures and diagrams to illustrate important points.

Q. Do I need to buy any extra books or supplies?

A. All programs supply the learning materials you need to complete your training and are included in the one low tuition price you pay. However, in the programs that include computer training, you will need to have access to a computer and the Internet (see individual program descriptions for system requirements).

Q. Can a student sign up for one individual course at Penn Foster and nothing else?

A. Penn Foster has many courses that address basic skills needed for the workplace or to earn credit in a single subject - at both the high school and college levels, and these classes can all be taken individually.

We have some basic English courses, which offer basic grammar and usage that are idea for ESL students. The basic classes are offered through our virtual high school, which can be found here:
or by calling 1-800-961-6407.

Penn Foster offers more advanced classes that offer basics in Math, English, and Computer Programming, which can be found here:

Q. Do students have to register for a single class?

A. Yes, students must register. Registration for high school classes is done over the phone. For post-high school classes, students can register online. If a student is transferring the Penn Foster course back to his/her local school, please check with the school to confirm the Penn Foster credit will be accepted.  To register for an individual high school credit, call 1-800-961-6407.

Q. What course or courses would teach basic grammar and usage to a non-ESL adult student, and how much do they cost?

A. The best classes for basic grammar and usage would be Basic English or Practical English, found in our high school program here: The difference between the two classes is that Basic English teaches the fundamentals of grammar and usage, while Practical English teaches the basics, and includes reading and comprehension.

The Basic English or Practical English classes cost $249, and discounts are offered if students pay in full at the time of registration. To register for these classes, call 1-800-961-6407.

Q. Do students take tests online or by email?

A. Tests are taken online or are submitted online. The tests are primarily multiple choice, with writing assignments for some English classes. The writing assignments are submitted through Penn Foster's online grading system.

Q. Are tests proctored or monitored in some other way?

A. Tests are not proctored at the virtual high school level, but in our degree programs, some tests are monitored and/or proctored. The classes are independent study, but students have access to teachers and support throughout the time they take the class.

Q. How long would a student have to complete the course?

A. Students are usually given three months to complete the course. When taking a course for NCAA credit, the minimum completion time is four months.  Please call 1-800-961-6407 for more information.

Q. What would he/she get in the end – a certificate, college credit, or just valuable knowledge?

A. For classes in the high school program, students can request a transcript that shows they've taken the course and earned the high school credit. For classes in the college program, students can earn credits, which average three credits per class.