High School Equivalency: HiSET or GED?

For those of us who do not have a High School diploma, earning a High School Equivalency (HSE) credential is an important next step for continuing our education and growing in our career. College programs require that individuals have some sort of verification showing that they have developed the skills and knowledge of a high school graduate, and many employers and those offering apprenticeships also look for this credential during the hiring process. In this blog, we will take a look at how to earn that credential.

The HiSET or the GED

You may have heard of the HiSET or the GED, but what are they? The HiSET and the GED are both options to earn the HSE credential – both tests are recognized nationally as a substitute for a High School Diploma. Both tests take about the same amount of time—7.5 hours—to complete, but don’t worry. You can schedule to take portions of the exam over multiple days. There are slight differences in how the tests are organized and administered, with the HiSET having five sections (instead of the GED’s four) and the HiSET allowing for greater flexibility. Unlike the GED, which is exclusively on a computer, the HiSET can be taken on paper or at a computer (depending on the testing center).

Which test should I take?

Luckily, this is a very easy question to answer because the HiSET replaced the GED as the HSE test in the state of Louisiana in 2014. Now, we will take a look at the steps to sign up:

  1. Visit https://hiset.ets.org/requirements/state, opens a new window, select your state, and read up on the HiSET requirements for Louisiana to make sure you are eligible. Depending on your age, you may have to show specific documentation in order to register.
  2. Next, depending on your eligibility, you may either need to find a WorkReady U literacy program, opens a new window to prepare you for the exam or you may be able to locate the nearest testing center to see about scheduling a test right away. You will also need to sign up for a free HiSET profile, opens a new window, which can make this process easier.
  3. Prepare! Check out this collection, opens a new window of test prep materials!

Last but certainly not least, the library would love to be a resource to help you prepare in any way that we can. At all of our branches, you can log on to a computer (with or without a library card) to sign up for the HiSET, view the test prep materials, and take advantage of some great library databases. This link will show you a list of all our branch locations; clicking on your preferred branch will also show what additional accommodations are available, such as quiet study rooms!

Here are some databases that can help you prepare for the HiSET and for a new career:

Looking for an online resource to learn more about what to expect on the HiSET and even take some practice tests? The High School Equivalency Center by EBSCO Learning Express, opens a new window offers ebooks that introduce you to the test, tutorials for each section of the exam—Language Arts: Reading, Language Arts: Writing, Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science—and practices tests for all five sections.

Interested in finding resources that can better prepare you for a job or need help finding one? The Career Preparation Center, opens a new window and Job & Career Accelerator by Learning Express, opens a new window can help you discover interesting occupations, learn what to expect, write a resume and cover letter, and practice interview skills, so you will be ready after you earn your HSE credential. Note: You will need to make a free Learning Express account to access theses materials and track your progress. You will also need a library card if you are accessing the database from anywhere but a St Tammany Parish Library branch.

Finally, if you are in the middle of preparing but need more 1-on-1 help with a subject on the HiSET, you can connect with a live tutor online using Homework Louisiana, opens a new window.

Additional Resources

HiSET—Test at a Glance (TAAG) Information Brief, opens a new window

2021-2022 High School Equivalency Guidance – Louisiana Department of Education, opens a new window