Pennsylvanians have three options to earn their Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) or high school equivalency credential:
- Take and pass the GED® exam.
- Take and pass the HiSET® exam.
- Use the 30 College Credit option.
Learn more about these options on the Pennsylvania Department of Education's web site.
See a comparison of the three options to earn your high school equivalency here.
HiSET® has a new home. It is now a part of PSI Services, a leading provider of testing for certification and credentials.
If you created a HiSET® account prior to September 23, 2022, please follow the instructions on this flier.
Pennsylvania requirements for taking the GED® or HiSET® exam
You must have documents to prove your identity and prove you are a Pennsylvania resident.
You must not be enrolled, nor required to be enrolled, in high school, and you must not have already earned a high school diploma or high school equivalency diploma/credential.
In Pennsylvania, the minimum age required to take the GED® or HiSET® test is 18 years old.
If you are 16 or 17, you must have an approved age waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE). Candidates must submit both of the following to PDE for approval:
- Age Waiver Form
- Written request from either an employer, college admissions office, military recruiting office, or director of a state institution indicating a GED® or HiSET® is required.
Before you can register online to take a test, you must submit a Pennsylvania Age Waiver Form with the additional documentation and have it approved.
You can combine GED® and HiSET® scores to earn a diploma.
In the past, test-takers were required to pass all of the GED® sub-tests or all of the HiSET® sub-tests to earn a diploma. As of June 2023, that has changed. You can now combine passing scores from the GED® and from the HiSET®. For example, if you took and passed the GED® Science and English Language Arts tests last year but want to finish up by taking and passing HiSET® Social Studies and Math, Pennsylvania will combine those passing scores and award a diploma.
What about English and Spanish versions of the tests?
You may now also take some GED® or HiSET® sub-tests in English and others in Spanish. As long as you pass all the tests, you will be awarded a PA diploma.
Have you heard about HiSET®?
Pennsylvanians looking to obtain the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma (CSSD) now have another option besides the GED® test. The state has approved the computer and paper versions of the HiSET® equivalency exam, and the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) is making paper-based testing available at locations throughout the region.
“Compared to the GED®, the HiSET® is a more affordable option offered at convenient locations.”
The HiSET® is made up of five parts (math, science, social studies, reading and writing). The questions are multiple choice plus one essay.
Upon successful completion of all sections, a PA Commonwealth Secondary School diploma (CSSD) will be issued. The CSSD is accepted by colleges, employers and the U.S. military, expanding opportunities for examiners pursuing postsecondary education and career goals.
In addition to administering the HiSET® exam, the CSIU also offers classes to prepare adults to take the HiSET®, as well as the traditional GED® exam.