If you’re an adult who has never completed high school, it’s not too late. A high school equivalency diploma is a great option for many adults to advance your career and educational opportunities with a high school education.
What is a high school equivalency diploma?
A high school equivalency diploma is a certificate that states that you have education, knowledge, skills, and/or experience that are on par with a typical high school education. A high school equivalency diploma can be used just like a regular high school diploma to help you get into college or other higher education programs, or to apply to jobs that require a high school education. Many people find that a high school equivalency diploma opens up many opportunities for them.
How do I get a high school equivalency diploma?
There is no single high school equivalency diploma program. Each state issues its own and has different criteria for earning one.
In most states, you can earn a high school equivalency diploma by passing a high school equivalency exam. The three major exams are:
- General Educational Development (GED) exams (See how Magoosh can help you prepare for the GED)
- Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC)
- High School Equivalency Test (HiSET)
Every state accepts at least one of these, and some accept more than one. Check with your state to see which tests are accepted there for high school equivalency.
If you’re in a state that gives you a choice of which high school equivalency test to take, you might be wondering which is the best option for you. Here is a handy comparison from the Education Commission of the States to help you decide. It includes a chart comparing the content, length, format, and costs of all three exams. Your local adult education center is also a great resource to help you decide which path is the best for you.
In some states, there are also alternative pathways to a high school equivalency diploma if you don’t feel that an exam is the best option for you. For example, some states participate in the National External Diploma Program, which allows you to demonstrate skills that you have gained through work and other experiences through a series of performance tasks. This may be a better fit for those who struggle with more traditional multiple-choice type exams.
The most important first step if you are interested in a high school equivalency diploma is to find out the requirements and options in your state. Visit your state’s department of education website. You can find a directory of them here. Each state’s website will have a page for high school equivalency (it may be listed under “adult and continuing education” or something similar). There, you’ll find the information you need to get started. You can also contact your local high school or adult education center and ask for assistance.
No matter which path you choose to get there, a high school equivalency diploma can open many doors. Good luck!