Earning a High School Equivalency Credential

A High School Equivalency Credential – formerly known as the GED – is an alternative to a high school diploma. Today, there are two tests that you can take to earn your High School Equivalency Credential in Massachusetts: the GED® and the HiSET®.

Earning a High School Equivalency Credential is an important achievement and step towards better job and educational opportunities. Enrolling in a High School Equivalency (HSE), pre-HSE, or Adult Basic Education (ABE) program can help you get there.

Three yellow lines to signify a sun-burst decorating the top right corner of an image.
A recently graduated student holds up their graduation cap in front of a school building.
Three yellow lines to signify a sun-burst decorating the bottom left corner of an image.

High School Equivalency Tests: GED® & HiSET®

The GED® and HiSET® can be taken in English or Spanish. It is usually taken on a computer at a test center. In some situations, you can take the test from home with a proctor.

The tests cover four subjects:

  • Math (“Mathematical Reasoning”)
  • English Language Arts (ELA) (“Reasoning through English Language Arts”)
  • Social Studies
  • Science

You must pass all four subjects to earn a High School Equivalency Credential. In Massachusetts, you can use any combination of tests (GED® or HiSET®) in either language (English or Spanish) to qualify for a credential. For example, if you have passed the Social Studies, Science, and ELA tests in English using the GED® but can’t pass the Math test due to a language barrier, you could take Math in Spanish using either test.

In Massachusetts, taking your high school equivalency exam can be free: the state covers the cost of the initial GED© and HiSET® tests in each subject, plus two retakes, to ensure that cost is no longer a barrier to residents completing their high school equivalency and working towards their educational and career goals.

For more HSE information including updates, contact people and test center locations, visit the HSE section on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website. Watch the video, What You Need to Know about Getting Your High School Equivalency Credential, for more information about the process.

Need Your HiSET® or GED® Test Scores?

Massachusetts works with Diploma Sender to store originals and to distribute copies of HSE (GED© and HiSET®) certificates and score reports. If you need a copy of your certificate or score report, please visit the Diploma Sender website. Please note that while your original certificate and score report are free, copies cost $15 each. If you have any questions, please contact Massachusetts HSE staff.

Adult Diploma Programs

Some school districts offer Adult Diploma Programs (ADP) as another path to achieve a high school credential. Graduates of ADP programs complete the same requirements as high school students in their district. They also receive a traditional high school diploma instead of a high school equivalency credential. For more information, visit the ADP section on the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.

What’s the next step in your journey?