College and Career Readiness

High School Equivalency Exam (GED® or HiSET®)

To earn a high school equivalency diploma, applicants can take either the General Educational Development (GED®) Test or the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET®). Both tests result in the same diploma. Central Piedmont offers free preparation classes to get you ready.

What You Will Learn

While classes are not required before you attempt the GED® or HiSET®, we encourage you to enroll in our free classes to increase your chances of passing the tests.

Learn About College and Career Readiness

Why Choose Central Piedmont

Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness offers programs to develop students’ academic skills, earn a high school equivalency (GED® or HiSET®) or adult high school diploma, learn English as a second language (ESL), develop employability skills and participate in various work-based-learning experiences, or explore career and post-secondary educational opportunities. Many programs are free or at a very low cost for qualified participants. 

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Additional Information

  • Who Can Enroll in High School Equivalency Exam Prep Classes?

    To be eligible, you must:

    • be 16 years or older
    • be officially withdrawn from your last K-12 public, private, or home school

    If you are between 16-17 years of age, you must petition to enroll (review the requirements for minors).

    • Pre-Requisite Courses

      Have you always had a problem with math? Or maybe you've been away from school for a while and your reading skills are a little rusty. Do not worry. We want to make sure you succeed. That is why we offer free pre-requisite classes to help you get started. Based on your College and Career Readiness placement test results, your advisor will recommend one of four levels of reading and/or math classes that are just right for you. If you score below a high school level (9.0), you will be placed in pre-requisite classes to build your skills. After completing level four, you will be prepared for entry into the GED®/HiSET® preparation classes.

      Which Pre-Requisite Courses Do I Take?

      • To enroll in GED®/HiSET® preparation courses, you need to score a 9.0 on the placement test in reading and math.
      • If you score below 9.0, you will be placed in pre-requisite courses in reading and/or math until your placement test scores reach 9.0.
      • Most pre-requisite courses are eight weeks in length and meet 10 hours per week; day and evening classes are available.
      • A computer lab is available for additional instructional support or if you need a more flexible schedule.
      • Classes are offered at the Central, Cato, Merancas, and Harper Campuses as well as several community sites.
      • To ensure success, you must attend on a regular basis and adhere to the department’s attendance policy.

      How Long Will it Take to Complete Pre-Requisite Classes?

      • If your test results place you in a Level 1 class, you can possibly complete the pre-requisites courses in eight weeks.
      • If your test results place you in a Level 1, 2, or 3 class, it can possibly take 16—32 weeks.
    • How Long Will it Take?

      Some students are ready in eight weeks or less. Others require more time to learn all of the concepts.

    • When and Where are Classes Held?

      • Most classes are eight weeks long and meet five days a week for two hours a day.
      • Computer labs are available for students needing flexible scheduling.
      • Day, evening, and online classes are available.
      • Classes are held at our Central, Harper, Levine, and Cato campuses as well as several community sites.
      • Your advisor will help you set a schedule that works for you.

      If you want to enroll in college classes while you prepare for the GED® or HiSET®, contact College and Career Readiness.

    • What are the Differences Between the GED and the HiSET?

      Successful passage of the GED® and HiSET® tests both result in the same high school equivalency diploma issued by the North Carolina Community College Board. Both tests are similar but there are differences in the format and cost. The following is a comparison to help you decide which of the tests you would like to take.


    • How Do I Enroll in High School Equivalency Exam Prep Classes?

      Step 1. Apply for Admission to Central Piedmont

      • If you have previously applied, you do not need to apply again.
      • If you have applied to Central Piedmont before but don’t know your student ID number or username, or if you are not sure if you are in our system, please call or email us before completing the application.
      • If you do not receive an email with your student ID number within one business day, please contact Admissions or email

      Submit the Central Piedmont College and Career Readiness application

      Step 2. Create Central Piedmont Login

      Create Central Piedmont login.

      If you are a brand-new student (not a previous student with an ID number) and want to take classes at Cato Campus, you can also get started by going to the Cato I building registration desk to get assistance with completing the Central Piedmont application and to get your student ID number.

      Step 3. Attend College and Career Readiness New Student Seminar

      For more information, please visit the Central Campus Education Center Monday — Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

        Step 4. Take the Career and College Readiness Placement Test

        Your placement test results will help your advisor place you in classes that meet your needs.

        • Please arrive to the test 15 minutes early. If you are late, you will be referred to the next session.
        • You will be tested in reading and math.
        • The placement test is not a pass/fail exam.
        • On the day of the test, bring your valid, government-issued photo ID.
        Cato Campus Placement Test

        Students with an ID number (returning or students who completed CFNC forms) should go to Cato III, Room 216 Monday — Thursday between 9 a.m — 10:30 a.m. or Monday and Wednesday between 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to take the placement test.

        Harper Campus Placement Test

        Arrive at Harper Campus, Room 117 Tuesday and Wednesday at 8:30 a.m.,10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., or 4:30 p.m.

        Step 5. Meet with Your Advisor to Register for Classes

        During your testing session, you will be given a follow-up appointment with an academic and career advisor. Make an appointment with the Adult High School advisor approximately a week after you submit your high school transcript. Advisors can assist you with reviewing test results and discuss career interests and any potential barriers to attending class regularly. Advisors will help develop a career and academic plan for you and register you in classes if needed.

      • How Do I Register to Take the GED or HiSET?

        Before registering to take the GED® or HiSET®, there are a few things you need to know. The following is a checklist to help you stay focused and organized.

        1. Check your Eligibility

        • 18 years or older

          • If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you can take the exam, but you must obtain special approval. Contact the College and Career Readiness Minor Specialist, Jonathan Klish, at or 704.330.2722, ext. 3262.
        • Residency:
          • You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina to take the GED® or HiSET® exams.
        • Identification: you must present a valid photo ID on your test day when you arrive at the test center. A valid photo ID includes a government-issued ID or Driver's License, passport, military ID, or other form of government-issued (national or foreign) ID that shows name, address, date of birth, signature, and photograph. Outdated or expired identification is not accepted. If your license has expired, North Carolina does not accept it as a valid form of ID even when accompanied by the Department of Motor Vehicles renewal certificate.

        2. Create an Online Account

        With an online account, you can easily:

        • set up test appointments
        • check your registration information
        • view scores
        • print reports

        When you create your account, the name you use must exactly match the name on your identification (ID) documents (excluding accents) that you will use on the day of your test at the test center. If it doesn't, you may not be allowed to test or your scores may be canceled after you take the test.

        3. Review Payment Policies

        GED® Payment Policies
        • cost: $20 per subtest or $80 for all four subtests; two free retests for each purchased subtest
        • payment: you can pay by: 
          • debit card or credit card (American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard®, VISA®)
          • you have to pay for the exam when you schedule it online
        • additional Information: visit the GED® website
        HiSET® Payment Policies
        • cost: $10 per subtest or $50 for all five subtests; two free retests for each purchased subtest
        • payment: you can pay by: 
          • debit card or credit card (American Express®, Discover®, MasterCard®, VISA® or JCB), e-check, HiSET test voucher, or PayPal®
          • you have to pay for the exam when you schedule it online
        • additional Information: visit the HiSET® website

        4. Request Disability Accommodations, If Necessary

        If you have a disability or health-related need and require testing accommodations, you must request your accommodations before you schedule an appointment to take the exam. The approval process can take six weeks, so make sure to leave yourself enough time to submit all the necessary information before your test date

        5. Select a Test Date and Schedule your Appointment

        When you're ready, check available test dates online through your online account. The tests can be taken on days when the test centers are open and space is available. You can take them on different days, or take more than one on a single day.

        6. Take Practice Tests/Study

        Remember: before registering to take the GED® or HiSET®, you are encouraged to take practice tests online to check your test readiness.

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