Earning Your Tennessee High School Diploma!

In Tennessee, if you did not graduate from high school, you still have several options for earning a diploma. You can attend an adult high school program that allows you to complete the credits and requirements for a diploma issued by a particular school district, or you can take a comprehensive exam and earn a High School Equivalency Diploma.

Tennessee's Adult High School Program

Tennessee has a network of Adult High School programs and learning centers in different counties that allow adults, 18 and older, to earn credits and fulfill requirements needed to earn a diploma from high schools that support the program. All Adult High School classes and books are free, and students typically work at their own pace, with the help of teachers, to complete whatever courses they need to meet graduation requirements. Day and evening programs may be offered, and some Adult High School programs operate throughout the year. Not all areas offer an Adult High School and you may have to search through programs offered by individual counties or contact an Adult Education Center to find an Adult High School. You can search for adult education centers on the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development website at www.tn.gov/workforce.

Tennessee requires 22 credits for a high school diploma. You'll first need to provide your official high school transcript so you can apply any earned high school course credits toward your Adult High School diploma.

High School Equivalency Exams

You can earn a Tennessee High School Equivalency Diploma by passing either the General Education Development or GED Exam or the HiSET Exam. Both exams are available to anyone 18 or order, and to students 16-17 who have a signed age waiver from the Director of Schools. Before you can take either the HiSET or the GED Exam, you must complete an official practice test at an adult education center. You must take either the HiSET or GED at one of the authorized testing centers located throughout the state. Staff at your local adult education center will help you locate a testing site that offers the exam you choose to take. Although the HiSET and GED cover much of the same material, there are some differences between the exams.

The GED Exam

The GED Exam is a seven-and-a-half hour exam with four separate test sections that cover language arts, math, science and social studies. The GED Exam is offered only on computer. Each test section has a variety of multiple-choice, fill-in-the-blank, drag-and-drop and hot-spot questions. The GED requires one long essay that you will have 45 minutes to write, a short essay for social studies test and two extended-response questions in science. The fee for the four GED tests is $120. You can learn more about the GED tests at GED.com.

The HiSET Exam

The HiSET Exam has five separate tests in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. In Tennessee, you can take either a computer or pencil-and-paper version of the HiSET Exam. Questions are multiple choice, and a 45-minute essay is required for the writing subtest. The cost of the HiSET Exam is $75. To learn more about the tests, visit hiset.ets.org.

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