HiSET Exam and Eligibility Requirements

The Tennessee State Board of Education has ruled that passing the HiSET exam (published by Educational Testing Service, or ETS) is currently the only method for earning a recognized Tennessee high school equivalency diploma. The Adult Education Division is the liaison for the HiSET program. As such, the division creates a policy that aligns with Tennessee laws concerning high school equivalency testing and eligibility requirements. To take the HiSET exam, testers must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Age: You must be at least 18 years of age without a high school diploma or equivalency to take the HiSET exam. If you are 17 years old you must have an age waiver signed by your local director of schools and present it at the time of your test.
  • Residency: You do not have to be a resident of Tennessee to take the HiSET exam.
  • Identification: You must present identification on test day at the HiSET test center. A valid driver's license, passport, military ID, or another form of government-issued (national or foreign) identification that shows name, address, date of birth, signature and photograph are acceptable forms of identification. Outdated or expired identification will not be accepted. 

The Division also approves test centers to offer the HiSET exam. Test centers interested in applying to offer the HiSET should complete and submit this form.

How can I receive a voucher that allows me to take the HiSET exam for free?

To be eligible to receive a voucher that allows you to take the HiSET exam for free, you must meet the requirements established through your local Adult Education program. Not all local programs offer vouchers; however, all programs funded by the TDLWD Adult Education Division do offer vouchers. You can contact a program near you to determine if they offer vouchers and what the qualification requirements are.

Adult learners can earn High School Equivalency Diplomas online

Adults across Tennessee who did not graduate high school now have an online pathway that will lead them to a high school equivalency diploma. Every county in the state offers students virtual classes that will prepare them to take the online HiSET examination.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development (TDLWD) is coordinating the statewide campaign “Learn Online. Graduate Online.” to make adult education accessible to all interested Tennesseans.

“There are still several adult education programs whose classrooms are closed due to COVID-19,” said Jay Baker, interim Assistant Commissioner of Adult Education. “We want everyone interested in improving their math, literacy, and English language skills to know they never have to leave home and they can still work to change their future. And that includes earning a high school equivalency diploma—all of it can be done completely online.”

Individuals interested in learning more about their local adult education program can call TDLWD at 800-531-1515. Callers will give agents details about their local area and then transfer the caller to the adult education provider in their area.

Once in contact with a local provider, interested individuals will receive the resources needed to begin their online adult education. All course programs are available virtually and will prepare students to take the online HiSET examination to determine if they have earned their high school equivalency diploma.

The online exams are identical to HiSET exams taken in physical testing centers in terms of content, format, on-screen experience, and scoring. Each of the features test takers experience in testing centers, such as the ability to preview, skip questions, review, and change answers, are available with the online exam.

“Earning a high school equivalency diploma can really change a person’s life,” Baker added. “An adult who has a diploma can earn much higher wages and unlock more opportunities for education and career advancement.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s HiSET Voucher Program covers all costs associated with the exams. To receive a voucher from a local Adult Education program, a test taker must be a Tennessee resident and demonstrate test preparedness through a qualifying practice test.

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About Adult Education

Adult Education, as part of the Workforce Innovations and Opportunity Act (WIOA), provides services to adults to build the knowledge and skills necessary for high school equivalency (HiSET), employment, post-secondary opportunities, and economic self-sustainability.

En Español

La Educación para Adultos, como parte de la Ley de Oportunidades e Innovaciones Laborales (WIOA), brinda servicios a adultos para desarrollar el conocimiento y las habilidades necesarias para la equivalencia de escuela secundaria (HiSET), empleo, oportunidades postsecundarias y autosostenibilidad económica. Para aplicar, llame a su programa local.

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Adult Education 2023 Grant Funding RFA

The Adult Education Division announces the release of the 2023 Request for Applications (RFA) for organizations to receive grant funding to implement adult education programs across Tennessee. Application period: March 1 - April 6 at 5 p.m. (CDT).


No Wrong Door is a podcast that explores how Tennessee is reimagining its workforce through innovative Adult Education initiatives across the state.

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