Complete High School

Western is a great place earn your high school credential. Wisconsin residents have a choice of two high school credentials, both based on the GED® Test. You can choose between the High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) or General Educational Development (GED).

Our Learner Support classes will prepare you to take your GED® Tests. More than 90 percent of those who attend GED preparation classes at Western successfully complete the test. That’s about 20 percent better than the national average.

The GED® is a computer-based test that measures four areas of knowledge considered essential for career and college readiness. About one out of seven adults in the United States earn their high school credential through GED® testing.

In addition to preparation classes, you may also complete the pre-testing orientation (required by the state of Wisconsin) at any of our Western locations.

GED or HSED: Which is Right for Me?

To Earn a GED Credential

You must:

  • Be 18 1/2 years old (or the class that you entered in 9th grade has graduated)
  • Have completed the state-mandated Orientation/Careers/Employability Skills class
  • Pass the GED Tests

To Earn an HSED Credential

You must meet the requirements listed above and also successfully complete coursework or testing in:

  • Health
  • Civic literacy
  • Employability skills

To Earn an HSED without Taking the GED Test

The 5.09 competency-based HSED program offers an alternative method for earning the HSED. The program is for individuals who can, in a classroom setting, demonstrate mastery of skills expected of Wisconsin high school graduates.

Western's 5.09 option is a flexible, competency-based program designed to award an HSED to students who meet the required competencies.

GED Overview

The four content areas covered in the GED® Test are:

  • Reasoning Through Language Arts
  • Mathematical  Reasoning
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Day and evening classes are offered to potential GED test-takers at Western locations throughout the district. There is no charge for these classes.

You are required to complete the pre-testing and orientation prior to registering for testing.

For more information and class schedules, contact the Western location near you. 

The GED® Testing Service is a joint venture of the American Council on Education and Pearson VUE. The test is taken on a computer at a Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center, like Western Technical College.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction sets the requirements for Wisconsin residents. For more information about the GED Tests, see GED Testing Service® Website. GED® and the GED Testing Service® are registered trademarks of the American Council on Education and may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the American Council on Education.

Adult High School Credit Program

For past high school students no longer enrolled in high school, the Adult High School Credit program allows you to earn your high school diploma from the last high school attended. This program is for students who are near completion of the high school diploma (2 credits or fewer). You earn credits by attending classes at Western and completing courses of study that your high school will accept for graduation requirements. Before you can begin the program, your high school must enter into an agreement with Western to honor the credits earned here. Please note that not all high schools participate in this program.  

Adult High School Credit is available at Western locations in La Crosse, Mauston, and Tomah.  Please contact the La Crosse Learner Support and Transition Division for details.

Alternative High School

Students between the ages of 16 and 18 who are at risk of not graduating from their local high schools may attend Western as an alternative high school.

You may either earn credits that will apply to your graduation requirements, or work toward completion of your High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED).

It is necessary that a parent or guardian, a representative from the sponsoring high school, and representative from Western enter into a written agreement that defines the services that will be provided.

Contact your high school for more information regarding Western’s Alternative High School option.

Evening and Summer School for Current High School Students

High School Credit Recovery

High school students needing to make up credit for high school completion can enroll at Western in a limited number of class offerings. Your high school must be contracted with Western through our Partnering for Success program in order for you to take advantage of these classes, which are offered evening hours during the school year and morning hours during summer term. You will need to contact your high school to enroll. *Please note that class(es) may be canceled due to low enrollment.

High school credit recovery classes are offered at the La Crosse, Mauston, and Tomah locations.

Ordering/Verifying GED and HSED Transcripts

If you need an additional copy for your GED® certificate or HSED diploma, or you need to verify that you earned your credential, contact the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Visit their website for a convenient online request form.

Note: GED® and the GED Testing Service® are registered trademarks of the American Council on Education and may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the American Council on Education.

Start Earning Your High School Credential

For more information, class schedules, and testing, contact Western Learner Support & Transition or a Western regional location near you.