How Old do You Have to be to Dropout of High School?

Deciding to dropout is usually not an easy decision for a teenager to make. High school can be really tough for a lot of different reasons. As we’ve said before, we’re not here to preach to you or to try to convince you not to drop out, our goal is to approach your situation with empathy and understanding, to recognize that you know yourself and your circumstances better than anyone else, and to simply help inform you so that you can make an informed and smart decision about your future.

Having said that, we do strongly believe that in many cases, teenagers are better off trying to grind through and to get their high school diploma, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. Maybe you need to care for a sick loved one and you need to work so that you don’t lose your home, maybe you have a learning disability and aren’t getting the support you need, maybe there’s just a bad situation at school that you can’t overcome, maybe high school is destroying your mental health and you can’t do it anymore? The point is, everyone has their own personal reasons. Graduating is hugely beneficial, but it’s not the only way to make it through life, and you can always go back.

Before we dig into the question of how old you have to be to dropout of high school, we want to take one quick second to discuss some options, so consider the following articles:

How Old do You Have to be to Dropout of High School in America?

dropout of high school in america

Like many things, States in the USA are allowed to make up their own rules.

The minimal age to drop out of high school in America is 16 years old, but in some situations the minimum age can be as high as nineteen years old. There’s no where in America where you can legally drop out of high school before turning 16.

Most commonly, you’ll live in a state where the minimum drop out age is 16, but again, you’ll have to check the rules for your unique state, what the requirements are regarding parental involvement, and other possible legal steps that can be taken if you’ve made your decision and your parents are not cooperating. Granted, there’s a huge difference between abusive parents who are trying to control and ruin your life with tangible harm, or parents who are looking out for you because they want to help you and they believe that dropping out isn’t the best choice (it usually isn’t, let’s be super clear on that! But sometimes survival comes before comfort or doing what’s ideal in a perfect world.)

When Can You Dropout of School? It Depends…

We’re not going to assume that you’ve fully made up your mind yet, since you’re still in the process of researching the concept of dropping out, but now it’s time to get into the facts and the important information that will influence your decision.

The age at which you can drop out of high school depends on where you live and your situation.

The leaving-school age in America ranges from 16-19, depending on the State. 16 or 17 are the most common ages at which a student can leave high school, but there are also exceptions, for example if you leave regular high school early to learn a trade, or for gifted students who are advanced in their studies and are able to finish early or to pursue more advanced courses.

What age can you dropout of school in Canada?

For comparison to another North American country, in Canada the age is typically 16, but in two of their provinces (Quebec and Alberta) the leaving-school age is 17.

Some countries have much lower ages, for example in Lebanon the age is just 12. In Pakistan, it’s 10 years old. In most countries, the age is right around 16 or 17.

Use this table to determine the leaving-school age in your home country.

The age at which you can legally be employed isn’t always the same as the age at which you can leave school. In some cases, you can legally drop out but you can’t get a job yet, which seems less than ideal.

Frequently Asked Questions about Leaving-School Age:

Here are some of the most-commonly asked about States, infer from this what you will (but don’t read into it too much). Here are the answers…

How old do you have to be to dropout of high school without a parent?

Even though you can dropout of high school at 16 in many states with a parent’s permission and if other criteria are met, that’s not always the case. In some instances, you’ll need to be an adult before you can easily dropout without parental permission or without meeting some other criteria.

How old do you have to be to dropout of high school in Ohio?

In Ohio, the age you have to be to dropout of high school is 16 but only if you have permission from a parent, and you have a job lined up, and you have the permission of your school district. These can be a lot of hoops to jump through, but they want to ensure that nobody is taking this decision lightly. If your parents aren’t on board, you’ll have to wait until you’re 18.

What age can you dropout of school in Florida?

Florida teenagers need to be at least 16 years old in order to dropout of high school, but there are some additional steps they’ll have to take, including having permission from their parents.

How old do you have to be to dropout of high school in New York?

The laws of New York dictate that a student must attention school, or homeschooling, until they turn 16 years old. You can learn more about New York’s compulsory education laws here.

When Can You Drop Out of High School? Final Thoughts:

Hopefully, this helps answer your question about “How Old do You Have to be to Dropout of High School?” There isn’t always a definitive answer, because there are always different exceptions and circumstances, but the age is usually right around 16, 17, or maybe 18 and 19 in some rare instances.

Sara Dylan

Author Information

Sara Dylan is passionate about researching and writing interesting articles to help people. Sara is a prolific writer at, and enjoys a nice cup of tea as much as the next person.