Security guard Emmanuel Gonzalez has always regretted his decision to drop out of high school 6 years ago. This March, he began his studies with Smart Horizons Career Online High School (SHCOHS) and he is now on track to receive his high school diploma and credentialed Career Certificate in Homeland Security within the next 4 months. Upon graduating, he plans to continue his studies at the post-secondary level and eventually pursue a career in law enforcement, possibly as a detective, park ranger, or FBI agent.

SHCOHS is a division of Smart Horizons Career Online Education ( SHCOE is the world’s first AdvancED/SACS accredited online school district, offering an instructional program that enables students to earn an 18-credit high school diploma and a credentialed career certificate in one online program.

A native of Dover Township, PA, 24-year old Gonzalez dropped out of high school during his senior year in 2006. “I was attending a trade school so I could study carpentry, which I enjoyed, but my bad choice in friends led to my downfall in school,” he said. “Six years later I’ve very much grown from my experience.”

Gonzalez, who currently works as an armed security guard, described the SHCOHS coursework as “straightforward and to the point.” His favorite subjects are History and Homeland Security.

“I like history because I believe we can learn from the past,” Gonzalez said. He even quoted Confucius on the subject: “Study the past if you would define the future.”

Already employed in the security industry, Gonzalez said he is learning more than he thought he would in his Homeland Security courses.

“I’ve actually enjoyed the SHCOHS courses—and trust me, enjoying classes is something new for me,” Gonzalez said. “Earning a certificate within my profession in addition to a high school diploma is an extra bonus, and from my experience the student services department at SHCOHS have been top notch—they are there when you need them from beginning to end.”