It is a tough job market these days. It is possible to have a great career without a high school diploma. Still, you no doubt have a higher chance of advancing in the employment market if you have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate.
A high school equivalency certificate also allows those that didn’t complete high school the chance to continue their education and attend college.
Obtaining a high school equivalency certificate is a stepping stone for a career change or continuing your education and reaching higher career goals.
Today we will go over the two most popular and widely accepted exams that can qualify you to receive a high school equivalency certificate – the HiSet test and GED.
What is a HiSET?
The HiSET, or High School Equivalency Test, is a standardized test designed to assess the knowledge and skills of individuals who did not graduate high school. It was created by the non-profit ETS (Educational Testing Services), America’s largest developer of educational assessment systems.
The exam is typically administered by individual states or territories. It covers five subject areas: math, science, social studies, reading, and writing as well as language arts (which includes both reading and writing). You are scored on a scale of 1-20, with a score of 8-10 considered passing in each subject area. Passing the test can qualify an individual to receive a high school equivalency certificate.
It is difficult to say how hard or easy the HiSET is because the difficulty will vary depending on a test taker’s background and level of preparedness. Some people may find the test relatively easy if they have a solid educational background and have prepared adequately, while others may find the test more challenging.
What is a GED?
The GED, or General Educational Development, is administered by the American Council on Education and is very similar to the HiSET. It is also a standardized test designed for those who did not graduate from high school. Like the HiSET, passing a GED test can qualify you to receive a high school equivalency certificate.
The test determines whether an individual has the knowledge and skills typically associated with a high school education. It covers math, science, social studies, reading, and writing. The GED is composed of four separate tests, one for each subject area. You are scored on a scale of 100-200, with a score of 145-164 considered passing in each subject area.
How easy you find the process of getting your GED depends on your educational background and your preparation for the exam.
What are the Key Differences Between the HiSET and GED?
The HiSET and GED exams are for adults who were not in a position to complete their regular high school curriculum. Individuals must be at least 17 years old and not currently enrolled in high school to take either exam. Under-age students may qualify if they officially withdraw from high school, have parental consent, and meet more strict requirements.
The GED is still America’s most popular and widely used High School Equivalency (HSE) test. However, the HiSET is gaining popularity as many states have opted to use the exam as a GED alternative.
The tests are very similar but do have a few key differences…
Differences Between the HiSET and GED
HiSET: Five sections scored on a scale of 1-20.
GED: Four sections scored on a scale of 100-200.
HiSET: Paper and pencil and computer option.
GED: Only a computer version.
(Exception is in New Jersey, where all tests are computer. )
HiSET: The exam costs between $55-95.
GED: Slightly more expensive, averaging $120 in most states.
Similarities Between the HiSET and GED
The exams are equally as challenging; however, many say they feel that the math portion of the HiSET exam is somewhat less complicated than the GED math portion.
Both are available in English and Spanish, and again, if you pass, both exams lead to your state’s high school equivalency certificate. This credential will qualify you to attend credit-bearing college courses and often brings about better employment opportunities with higher pay.
Some states don’t offer the GED, some don’t offer the HiSET, and others offer both. You will want to check to see which test is available in your area.
How Long Does It Take to Get a GED or HiSET?
The exam for both tests takes around 7 hours to complete. But you also should factor in prep work before the test. In general, it is recommended that individuals spend at least several weeks or months preparing for the GED or HiSET, studying the subject areas covered by the test and familiarizing themselves with the test format. There are many prep classes online and in-person to help.
After an individual takes the exam, their scores are typically available within a few days or weeks. If an individual passes, they will be awarded a high school equivalency certificate, which is usually obtained by contacting the testing center where the test was taken.
Overall, obtaining a high school equivalency certificate can take several weeks or months, depending on the individual’s level of preparation and the availability of testing centers in their area.
How do GED and HiSET Classes Work?
You don’t have to attend classes as you did in high school. Test prep courses are available as an option and can be a valuable resource for many students. These lessons and practice tests explain how to prepare for each subtest and what to expect on each subtest.
GED and HiSET classes are designed to help students prepare for the exam. Prep courses for each exam have a few minor differences, but overall, they are very similar. It is not required to take these classes to take the exam. However, many take prep courses to prepare for the exam and increase their chances of success.
These classes provide students with the opportunity to review the material that will be covered on the exam and to receive guidance and support from experienced instructors. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who have been out of school for a long time or feel they need additional help to succeed on the exam.
Some people may believe that getting a high school equivalency certificate is relatively easy, while others may consider it a challenging endeavor. Ultimately, the difficulty will depend on how prepared you are and your ability to demonstrate your knowledge and skills on the exam successfully. Prep courses can make the exam much easier and increase your chance of passing without having to retake the exam.
How is a GED and HiSET Different from a High School Diploma?
A GED and HiSET are high school equivalency credentials awarded to individuals who pass the exam. This exam is designed to assess whether an individual has the knowledge and skills typically associated with a high school education, but it’s not the same as earning your high school diploma.
A high school diploma is a credential that is awarded to students who have successfully completed the requirements of a specific high school program.
You have to have similar knowledge and pass a test to receive either credential; the main difference between a high school equivalency credential and a high school diploma is how the credentials are earned.
High School Equivalency Credential vs. High School Diploma
A high school equivalency credential is earned by passing a single standardized exam. In contrast, a high school diploma is earned by completing a set of courses and requirements established by the school. The coursework required for a high school diploma is typically more rigorous than the material covered on a high school equivalency exam.
Another key difference between a high school equivalency credential and a high school diploma is the recognition and acceptance of the credentials. While high school equivalency credentials are widely recognized and accepted by employers and colleges, a high school diploma may be preferred by some institutions and may be required for certain job opportunities.
Additionally, some schools and programs may have specific requirements or preferences regarding the credential required for admission.
Are There Any Other High School Diploma Alternatives?
The GED and HiSET are the two most common high school diploma alternatives, but several other academic qualifications are recognized by many colleges and employers.
These alternatives include the following:
- The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE): This is a globally recognized qualification that is offered by Cambridge Assessment International Education.
- The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: This is a highly regarded academic qualification that is recognized by colleges and universities around the world.
- The General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced Level: This is a qualification that is offered by schools and colleges in the United Kingdom and is recognized by many institutions worldwide.
- The General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE): This is a qualification that is offered by schools and colleges in the United Kingdom and is recognized by many institutions worldwide.
In addition to these alternatives, there are also many online high school programs that offer recognized high school diplomas. These programs are often designed for students who are looking for a flexible and convenient way to earn their high school diploma.
Overall, while the GED and the HiSET are similar in that they are both tests that can be taken to earn a high school equivalency certificate, they have some key differences in terms of administration, content, and scoring.
One test isn’t necessarily better than the other. Neither is an identical replacement for a high school diploma. Still, they are both great options for anyone who didn’t get to complete high school and wants to complete their education to enroll in college courses or obtain a higher-paying job.
Most jobs, even entry-level, require you to hold at least a high school or equivalent diploma. Taking and passing either the HiSET or GED are equally beneficial for your career. Which you choose boils down to personal preference and test availability where you live.
High School Equivalency Diploma Courses at Workforce Essentials
To help you prepare for your high school equivalency diploma, Workforce Essentials provides free test preparation courses so you can be prepared and have a higher chance of passing the test.
Our courses are available at several locations throughout Middle Tennessee. For more information about Adult Education, please contact us at 1.800.826.3177.