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High School Equivalency Eligibility Requirements

California High School Equivalency Test Eligibility Requirements

To obtain an official California High School Equivalency (HSE) Certificate, test takers must meet all of the following State requirements:

  • You have not completed high school.
  • You are a California resident or a member of the armed services assigned to duty in the state of California.
  • You have passed all portions of an HSE Test that has been approved by the California State Board of Education (SBE) and taken at a testing center that has been approved by the California Department of Education.
Test takers must also meet one of the following requirements:
  1. You are 18 years of age or within 60 days of your 18th birthday and would have graduated from high school had you remained in school and followed the usual course of study toward graduation.
  2. You are 17 years of age, have been out of school for at least 60 calendar days and provide a letter of request from the military, a post-secondary educational institution, or employer that states the need for you to take an HSE Test.
  3. You are at least 17 years of age, have accumulated fewer than 100 units of high school credit and are confined to state or county hospital or correctional agency and you meet all of the following criteria:
    • You do not have a realistic chance of completing the requirements for a high school diploma.
    • You have adequate academic skills to successfully complete the HSE Test.
    • You understand the options available regarding acquisition of a high school diploma, the High School Equivalency Certificate, or the High School Proficiency Certificate and the requirements, expectations, benefits, and limitations of each option.
    • You have sufficient time left to complete the entire HSE Test while confined; however, if released before the test is completed, you may complete testing at an authorized testing center.
  4. You are 17 years of age, have accumulated fewer than 100 units of high school credit and have successfully completed a dropout recovery high school program.
    • "Dropout recovery high school" means a school offering instruction in any of grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in which 50 percent or more of its pupils are either designated as dropouts pursuant to the exit and withdrawal codes developed by the department or left a school and were not otherwise enrolled in a school for a period of at least 180 days and the school provides instruction in partnership with any of the following:
      • The federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128)
      • Federally affiliated Youthbuild programs (29 U.S.C. Sec. 3226 et seq.).
      • Federal job corps training or instruction provided pursuant to a memorandum of understanding with the federal provider.
      • The California Conservation Corps or local conservation corps certified by the California Conservation Corps pursuant to Section 14406 or 14507.5 of the Public Resources Code.



High School Equivalency Identification Guidelines (PDF)

Each test taker's identity and age must be verified by photographic identification, both at the time of registration and before admittance to the testing room. The identification document must include name, date of birth, signature, photograph and address of the test taker. Acceptable identification includes:

  • Photographic driver's license, with a signature, issued by any U.S. State or foreign government
  • Photographic identification card, with a signature, issued by any of the U.S. Armed Forces, any U.S. state, or any foreign government
  • Photographic Tribal enrollment card with a signature
  • Photographic identification card or badge, with a signature, issued by a California department or agency (e.g., California Conservation Corps)
  • Photographic passport, with a signature, issued by the U.S. Or foreign government


Proof of California residency must be verified, both at the time of registration and before admittance to the testing room. Acceptable evidence includes:

  • Current rental or lease agreement
  • Current deed or title to a residential real property
  • Current mortgage statement
  • Current home utility bill
  • Current cable or phone bill
  • Current employment documents
  • Current insurance documents
  • Current Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return
  • Current property tax bill or statement
  • Court documents that list the applicant as a California resident
  • Current California certificate of vehicle or vessel title or registration
  • Completion of the California High School Equivalency Declaration of California Residency

California High School Equivalency Declaration of Residency

Declaration of California Residency (PDF)
Declaración de Residencia de California (PDF)


Questions:   High School Equivalency and Outreach Office | | 916-445-9438
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 16, 2022
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