College and Career Readiness

Options for Students Without a High School Credential

Durham Tech has a number of options for students who are interested in developing academic skills and have not yet earned a high school diploma. Whether you are an adult looking to improve your skills and earn a high school diploma or its equivalent, a high school student interested in dual enrollment in college-level classes, or a learner of English as a Second Language (ESL), Durham Tech is here to serve you. View a complete list of our options for students without a high school credential.

College and Career Readiness Programs

Durham Tech’s College and Career Readiness programs (formerly Basic Skills) focus on developing basic reading, writing, and math skills to allow students to obtain a high school credential. Programs offered are Adult Basic Education (ABE); Adult Secondary Education, which includes Gateway to College Adult High School Diploma (GtCAHSD) and High School Equivalency diploma; and Compensatory Education (CED). Before enrolling, all applicants must complete a structured orientation that includes placement testing. Students are enrolled in courses based on placement test results.

Adult Basic Education

ABE courses are available for adults who wish to improve their reading, writing, and math skills, and who have performed below the high school level on placement tests. ABE courses are designed to prepare students to move into the Gateway to College Adult High School Diploma or High School Equivalency programs. These free courses are held at the Durham Tech’s Main Campus, the Orange County Campus, and other sites throughout Durham and Orange counties. Registration is open until each course is full.

Review the Adult Basic Education Schedule.

Adult Secondary Education

Through Adult Secondary Education programs, students without a high school diploma can earn a high school credential. After completing either the Gateway to College Adult High School Diploma (GtCAHSD) or High School Equivalency program, students may participate in Durham Tech’s annual commencement exercises. Courses are tuition-free, but students are required to buy their books.

Gateway to College Adult High School Diploma (GtCAHSD)

Students enrolled in Durham Tech’s Gateway to College Adult High School Diploma program are required to complete 22 units of credit, which include four electives. An official transcript will be reviewed to determine which units completed in high school satisfactorily qualify for transfer into the GtCAHSD program. While most courses in the GtCAHSD program are taught in a traditional setting, some courses are offered online. Regular class participation is required for this program.

View the GtAHSD Schedule.

High School Equivalency

The High School Equvalency test is based on high school curriculum standards and certifies mastery in four parts: literacy, social studies, science, and math. The High School Equvalency diploma is the certified equivalent of a traditional high school diploma. Students may take courses to prepare for the tests. Courses are offered in traditional classroom and lab settings, as well as online. In some settings, students are able to work at their own pace. Students must pay a fee before taking the tests.

The test is free for Durham and Orange county residents. Read more about free testing.

High School Equivalency Online

Durham Tech now offers High School Equivalency online instruction. Qualified students may prepare for the test from the comfort of their homes. Eligible students must have Internet access and possess the ability to work independently. All interested students must attend a pre-online study orientation. For further information, please call 919-536-7218, ext. 3003.

View High School Equivalency Online information

Carla Anahi Rosales Salazar and Salvador Sanchez Bautista at Commencement
Read about Carla Anahi Rosales Salazar's and Salvador Sanchez Bautista's experience with GtCAHSD.

Admission, Placement, and Enrollment into Adult High School Diploma and Adult High School Equivalency (HiSET® and GED®)


First-time applicants and returning students who have not been enrolled in the College and Career Readiness program for a year or more are required to attend a four-day workshop, which is held in the White Building, room 1-101. Sign up by calling 919-536-7218, ext. 3003, or stop by the office in the White Building, room 1-103.

On the first day, please arrive 15 minutes early. The workshop includes placement testing in language, math, and reading. Participants will be able to register for classes upon completion.

Fall Semester 2018: August 20 – December 11
Workshop times are 9 a.m. – Noon or 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
November 26-29, December 3-6

Holidays (college closed): Labor Day – September 3; Thanksgiving – November 22 –23; Winter Break: December 21 – January 1.

Spring Semester 2019: January 14 – May 2
Workshop times are 9 a.m. – Noon or 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
January 7 – 10, January 14 – 17, January 22 – 24 (Tues-Thurs), January 28 – 31, February 4 – 7, February 11 – 14, February 18 – 21, February 25 – 28, March 11 – 14, April 1 – 4, April 8 – 11, April 15 – 18, April 22 – 25, April – 29 – May 2,

Holidays: January 21: MLK Holiday (college closed), March 25 – 28: Spring Break

Online Placement Testing

First-time applicants and returning students who have not been enrolled in the College and Career Readiness program for a year or more and cannot attend regular on-campus classes can pursue their Adult High School & Adult High School Equivalency Diploma online. Completion of placement testing in language, math, and reading is required.

Testing is held in the White Building (Building 1), room 1-101, from 12:30–5 p.m. on specified Wednesdays. You may sign up for online placement testing by calling 919-536-7218 x3003, or stop by the office, White Building, room 1-103.

Test dates: January 16, 30; February 13, 27; March 13

Offsite Placement Testing

Fridays from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.

Chapel Hill:
Orange County Skills Development Center (OCSDC)
503 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Test dates: November 30, January 4, February 8, March 8, April 12

Orange County Campus (OCC)
Orange County Department of Social Services
113 Mayo Street, Hillsborough, NC
Test dates: November 16, December 7, January 18, February 22, March 22, April 26

Bring the following to the workshop or placement testing:

  • Two forms of identification, such as a driver’s license, passport or any government issued photo ID. The second form of ID can be a social security card, birth certificate, or ITIN (tax ID). If you do not have an ID, please see Gregory Bellamy, Dean of College and Career Readiness in the White Building, room/office 103-D.
  • Notebook, paper, black or blue pens, and #2 pencils (no mechanical pencils).
  • An “official” copy of your high school transcript. Do not open the transcript. The envelope must remain sealed to be considered “official”.


Minors (16–17 years of age) must be withdrawn from school at least six months before being admitted into the College and Career Readiness program. A minor’s application packet must be completed and submitted to the dean for approval. The packet may be obtained from the College and Career Readiness office, White Building (Building 1), room 1-103, or downloaded here.

Adult Basic Education First Step Program

Durham Tech offers the Adult Basic Education First Step program (formerly Compensatory Education) courses free of charge for adults 18 years of age and older with developmental disabilities. Compensatory Education has a specific curriculum, and computer-aided instruction is available in all classrooms. To be eligible to participate in the Adult Basic Education First Step program, an individual must be diagnosed with an intellectual disability or function on an equivalent level as a result of a head injury. To obtain a schedule of courses or for information about the course content, registration, or placement into courses, please call 919-536-7218, ext. 3104.

View the Adult Basic Education First Step Program Schedule