College and Career Readiness

High School Equivalency Exam (GED® or HiSET®)

To earn a high school equivalency diploma, you 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 and earning your high school equivalency diploma.

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 (review the requirements for minors)
    • be officially withdrawn from your last K-12 public, private, or home school
  • 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. Don't worry. We want to make sure you succeed, so 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.

    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 last eight weeks and meet 10 hours per week; day and evening classes are available.
    • A computer lab is available if you need additional instructional support or a more flexible schedule.
    • Pre-requisite classes are offered at the Central, Cato, Merancas, and Harper Campuses as well as at several community sites.
    • You must attend on a regular basis and adhere to the department’s attendance policy in order to succeed in the classes.

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

    • If your test results place you in a Level 1 class, you may be able to complete the pre-requisites courses in eight weeks.
    • If your test results place you in a Level 1, 2, or 3 class, it could take you 16—32 weeks to complete the pre-requisite courses.

    After completing level four, you will be prepared to start our GED®/HiSET® preparation classes.

  • 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?

    You will get the same high school equivalency diploma issued by the North Carolina Community College Board regardless of whichever test you pass. The GED® and the HiSet® tests are similar, but there are differences in the format and cost. The following is a comparison to help you choose which test you would prefer to take.

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

    Step 1. Apply for Admission to Central Piedmont (New Students)

    If you have applied to Central Piedmont before, you do not need to apply again. If you have applied to Central Piedmont before, but don't remember your student ID number, username, or if you are in our system, please first email or If you do not receive an email with your student ID number within one business day after submitting your application, please contact us.

    Submit the Central Piedmont College and Career Readiness application

    If you need help, please contact First Year Experience.

    Step 2. Create Central Piedmont Login

    Create your Central Piedmont login. Your login will work in all of our systems after 6–24 hours. It will work right away only in the Central Piedmont login menu.

      Step 3. Take the High School Completion Placement Test

      Placement test information

      Step 4. Attend Group Advising and Register for Classes

      After you take the placement test, you will be scheduled to attend New Student Seminar. At the seminar, an academic advisor will help you create your class schedule.

    • 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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