College 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.
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 Registration Schedule.
The GED® Test Battery is based on high school curriculum standards and certifies mastery in four parts: literacy, social studies, science, and math. The GED® diploma is the certified equivalent of a traditional high school diploma. Students may take courses to prepare for the battery of official GED® 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 $80 fee before taking the official GED® tests.
Learn about free GED® testing for Durham County residents!
View the GED® schedule and GED® testing.
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.
Admission, Placement, and Enrollment into ABE, AHSD, and High School Equivalency Courses
Main Campus – Prospective ABE, GtCAHSD, and High School Equivalency students must attend a structured orientation that consists of a four-day workshop and placement testing. Workshops are held Mondays–Thursdays from 9 a.m.–noon or from 5:30–8:30 p.m. Students must make an appointment and must attend all workshops before registering for courses. For more information about workshops times, and locations, review the Workshop Schedule or call 919-536-7218, ext. 3003.
Chapel Hill – Placement testing is administered at 9 a.m. on the following Thursday mornings: Sept. 11, Oct. 9, Nov. 6, and Dec. 4. All testing takes place at the Orange County Skills Development Center, 503 W. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill. No appointment is needed; admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 919-536-7218, ext. 3003.
Hillsborough – Placement testing is administered at 9 a.m. on the following Thursday mornings: Aug. 28, Sept. 25, Oct. 23, and Nov. 20. All testing takes place at the Orange County Campus, 525 College Park Road, Hillsborough. Students may enroll in ABE and GED courses throughout the semester, based on availability. No appointment is needed; admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 919-536-7218, ext. 3003.
Once students have been admitted, they may register May 20 and 21. Summer semester courses begin June 1.
Durham Technical Community College offers 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 Compensatory Education 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 Compensatory Education Schedule