The reasons to obtain a high school equivalency credential are simple: It can open up doors to better paying jobs, new careers, college classrooms, and brighter futures.
Without their high school diplomas, millions of adults lack the skills and knowledge necessary to take the next steps in their lives. For the adults who want to fulfill the American dream of a better life for themselves and their families, this is devastating.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, individuals who have not earned their high school credential stand to earn far less than individuals who have earned a diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or other advanced degrees or trainings. In fact, statistics show that high school graduates make, on average, over $7,000 more per year than workers who did not complete high school. With reduced wages, pay, and benefits, individuals who do not graduate from high school are at a considerable economic and social disadvantage.
Here are five frequently asked questions about earning a high school equivalency (HSE) credential:
1. Why is high school equivalency important?
High school equivalency indicates that an individual has the same level of academic knowledge and skills as a person who graduated high school. Attaining a HSE credential allows an individual to enter postsecondary education or training, or to seek employment for positions that require high school equivalency.
In March 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that personal income and employment rates correlate significantly to educational attainment. The average worker in the U.S. makes about $860 per week, while an adult without a high school credential earns $493. The unemployment rate for these individuals was over 8 percent.
2. Can I get into college with a HSE credential?
Yes. Most community colleges, trade schools, and four-year colleges accept your HSE credential.
3. Is a HSE credential truly the same as a high school diploma?
A certificate of high school equivalency is the same as a high school diploma. According to the United States Department of Education, high school equivalency tests help individuals 16 years or older, who are not currently enrolled in school, “obtain the equivalent of a high school diploma and, subsequently, to gain employment or begin postsecondary education or training.”
4. Is there more than one HSE test?
There are currently three high school equivalency exams available:
- GED® Test
- HiSET® Exam
- TASC Test
Every state offers at least one of these tests. Click here to see which of the tests your state offers and check out this chart that offers a side-by-side comparison of the three tests, including what content is required on each.
5. How do you prepare to take an HSE test?
According to a recent study from the GED Testing Service, almost two-thirds of test-takers believe that attending a GED prep class will help them pass the test. The other one-third of test-takers didn’t know where to find a class or even that these programs exist. Prep classes are available for all three HSE tests. Click here to find a local literacy and education program, or a HSE testing center in your area.
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Still have questions about high school equivalency tests? Ask them in the comments below.