Options for Finishing High School

INFORMATION on obtaining a GED or HSED

Selecting the GED or HSED High School Equivalency Diploma or Certificate of General Educational Development

Selecting the GED or HSED

The two most common options for high school completion are the Certificate of General Education Development (GED) and the High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED).  The GED is accepted by most employers and technical and community colleges.  Some employers, universities, and branches of the military require an HSED.  Individuals can decide which option is best.


General Education Development (GED)

The GED is a certificate awarded by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to adults who successfully complete the orientation, Career Awareness class, and tests in the five academic areas:

  • Reasoning through Language Arts
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Civics
    • Click here to see a version of the Civics test and study resources.


High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED)

Individuals who wish to obtain an HSED must complete all GED requirements and meet additional requirements in health and employability skills.


5.09 High School Equivalency Diploma (5.09 HSED) Requirements

Individuals who would prefer to take coursework instead of GED tests may enroll in the 5.09 HSED program.  Coursework is similar to that taken by Wisconsin high school students.  Required courses include:

  • Career Awareness
  • Health
  • Employability Skills
  • Social Studies
  • Science
  • Communication Skills 1 & 2
  • Civics
  • Pre College Math
  • Pre Algebra
  • Computer Basics 1 & 2



Students work at their own pace. Individualized, group, and technology-based instruction is available. Day and evening classes are available.  Contact LTC-Manitowoc or LTC-Sheboygan for specific class and learning lab schedules.


Eligibility for Testing

To participate in a GED and HSED program, individuals must be 18 years and 6 months of age or be 18 years of age and their 9th grade class has graduated from high school. In addition, it is required that an individual:

  • be a resident of Wisconsin (or is a migrant worker or child of a migrant worker).
  • not currently enrolled in a public or private high school.
  • has not graduated from any high school.


Testing Options

Tests are given at designated times at LTC-Manitowoc and LTC-Sheboygan. Please view our testing schedule for Summer 2024.


Scheduling Tests

Each student must create an account at GED.com.  This account will be used to schedule exams, study, take GED Ready practice tests ($6.00/test), view test results, and learn about job and college options.


Test Accommodations

GED Testing Services is committed to providing students with full access to the GED® test for anyone with disabilities and support the intention of the Americans with Disabilities Act as Amended (ADAAA). Test accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis and may include extra testing time, extra breaks, and/or a separate testing room. To apply or for more information, visit: https://ged.com/about_test/accommodations


HSED and GED Fees

GED Requirements
Each test (credential fee included) $39.75
Civics Test $10.00
Total Cost (including 4 GED exams) $169.00
HSED Requirements
Each test (credential fee included) $39.75
Civics Test $10.00
Health Test (if needed) $15.00
Credential fee (if upgrading from GED to HSED $15.00
Total Cost (varies depending on need and prior learning) $184.00-$199.00
5.09 HSED Requirements
Civics Test $10.00
Credential fee (if upgrading from GED to HSED) $15.00
Total Cost $25.00

*Instruction and materials are free.


Test Scores

To earn the credential, individuals must earn:

  • Score 145 on each GED test
  • Score 65 on Civics test
  • Score 145 on each GED test
  • Score 65 on Civics test
  • Score 65 on Health test
5.09 HSED
  • Must pass each course with a “C” or better.  The following grading scale is used:
    • A   93-100%
    • B   87-92%
    • C   78-86%
    • D   70-77%
    • F    Below 70%


Retest Policy

Test re-take waiting periods are:

-10-day wait period required after 1st non-pass

-10-day wait period required after 2nd non-pass

-60-day wait period required after 3rd non-pass

-30-day wait period required for Civics and Health exams between each non-pass


Component/Content Areas

Component Content Areas Test Time Limit
GED/HSED Orientation and Career Awareness This 2-part class provides an introduction to current occupational trends and resources for exploring careers.  Values, interests, and abilities are assessed as they relate to career decision-making.  Individuals will establish short- and long-term education and career goals and will participate in an orientation to credentialing options. Class
Reasoning Through Language Arts
Test Topics:
  • Reading for Meaning
  • Identifying and Creating Arguments
  • Grammar and Language
  • 3 sections
  • 1 written essay
  • Multiple choice and other question types

150 minutes

(One 10 minute breaks are allowed between sections)

Social Studies
Test Topics:
  • Reading for Meaning in Social Studies
  • Analyzing Historical Events and Arguments in Social Studies
  • Using Numbers and Graphs in Social Studies
  • Calculator allowed, access to calculator reference sheet
  • Multiple choice and other question types
70 minutes


Test Topics:
  • Reading for Meaning in Science
  • Designing and Interpreting Science Experiments
  • Using Numbers and Graphics in Science
  • Calculator allowed, access to calculator reference sheet
  • Multiple choice and other question types
90 minutes
Mathematical Reasoning
Test Topics:
  • Basic Math
  • Geometry
  • Basic Algebra
  • Graphs and Functions
  • 2 sections
  • Calculator allowed on portions, access to calculator reference and math formula sheets
  • Multiple choice and other question types
115 minutes
Test Topics:
  • Principles of US government and constitutional government
  • Functions of Wisconsin state government
  • Roles of political parties
  • Individual rights and responsibilities
  • Structure of the court system
  • Fill in the blank
  • 100 questions from the Naturalization exam

Additional Requirements for HSED

Health Knowledge of mental and emotional health, personal and family health, and community and environmental health.  Prior completion of the test may apply. Untimed
Employability Skills Review job search techniques, including conducting a job search, complete application forms, write cover letter, prepare effective resumes, and learn how to have a successful interview. Class

Valid government-issued ID containing current address is required to test.

GED/HSED Transcripts, Credentials and Verifications

GED/HSED credentials are issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. They are the bearer of the record. Please contact them to order transcripts and credentials or to verify a credential.

  • Click on the following link: dpi.wi.gov/ged
  • Contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction at 1.800.768.8886.

Educational Goals

After earning a GED/HSED, continue on a path to achieve new educational goals. Lakeshore offers over 100 career-focused degree programs and certificates to help start a new career. The Lakeshore team is dedicated to helping student’s continue to achieve their educational success.