Adult Education / HiSET / ESL

Consider Iowa Western for any type of learning you’re interested in, either for personal interest or career advancement. Our adult education services include:

  • HiSET preparation,
  • career advising,
  • review of reading, writing, and math skills,
  • HiSET Academy,
  • specific skills training such as keyboarding or using measurements, and
  • survival English for English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

During orientation, students are assessed in reading and math.  After discussion and consultation, students are then assigned to a class that best meets their needs. Iowa Western serves a seven-county area providing Adult Education services at the Iowa Western campus in Council Bluffs, and the Iowa Western Centers in Atlantic, Clarinda, Harlan, and Shenandoah. A $25 registration fee is due at the time of registration and is valid through June 30.

Redefine your success with a high school equivalency diploma.

Iowa Western offers preparation courses and exam opportunities for adults to take the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), formerly known as the GED.  The High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) is equivalent to a high school diploma. Our staff will be with you every step of the way, providing guidance and support. Choose a location and class schedule that fits your needs.

AdultEd: Request More Info

Class Schedule

Council Bluffs Campus

Kinney Hall top floor
Morning and evening orientations are available. Call to schedule orientation

HiSet and ESL Class Sessions

  • Jan. 11 – Mar. 3
  • Mar. 8 – Apr. 28
  • May 3 – Jun. 16

HiSet Class Schedule

  • Mon. – Thur. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Mon. – Thur. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

ESL Class Schedule

  • Mon. – Thur. 9 a.m. – noon
  • Mon. and Wed. 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Center Locations

Orientations held first day of class
Call for more information.

HiSet Class Sessions

  • Jan. 18 – Mar. 31
  • Apr. 4 – Jun. 16

Cass County Center (Atlantic)
(712) 243-5527

  • Tues. and Thur. 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Tues. and Thur. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Shelby County Center (Harlan)
(712) 755-3568

  • Tues. and Thur. 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Tues. and Thur. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Clarinda Center
(712) 542-5117

  • Mon. 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tues. and Thur. 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
  • Tues. and Thur. 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Page/Fremont County Center (Shenandoah)
(712) 246-1499

  • Mon. and Wed.1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Mon. and Wed. 5 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Adult Education Services

English As A Second Language (ESL)

Instruction is available for students who are learning to speak, read, and write English. Contact your nearest IWCC Center for information regarding classes or individualized instruction. Refer a friend or share this information with someone who is interested in attending ESL classes.  

Basic Skills

Iowa Western assists adults who seek to improve their skills in reading, writing, and math. Adults can register for general instruction or specific skills programming directed towards specific outcomes, such as job-related keyboarding or refreshing math and writing skills

HiSET Preparation

For those who have not completed their high school education, instruction is available in preparing for the five HiSET tests: Language Arts-Writing, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics, and Language Arts-Reading. You may prepare for the exams by attending classes at one of our sites. Studying online through Essential Education’s HiSET Academy is an online option to consider. Call the Council Bluffs Adult Education Department for more details.


Iowa Western administers HiSET testing, by appointment, at various test sites across the region. Instructors will assist students in creating an account and advising which test to register for. 

Note: Students must have instructor approval and qualifying scores on official practice tests to take HiSet final exams (verification form is required for examiner). 

Volunteer Program

If you or someone you know would like to volunteer to work with adult students on improving their reading skills or learning to speak, read and/or write English, please contact us at (800) 432-5852, ext. 3266 or (712) 325-3266. Volunteers may choose to give extra time and attention to students who attend regular classes, or they may schedule individual sessions in Council Bluffs or another setting in Iowa Western’s seven-county service area.

Continuing Education Adult Basic Education & HiSET FAQ’s

High School Equivalency Test(s) (HiSET) is Iowa’s nationally recognized high school equivalency testing program. Educational Testing Service (ETS) and the Iowa Testing Programs recently created the HiSET program to provide you with an affordable, accessible alternative to other high school equivalency tests. It’s another way for you to get the credentials you need to continue your education or to succeed in the workplace.
Iowa Western Community College has certified HiSET Proctors who administer the computer-based exams. Adjunct instructors provide instruction in Council Bluffs, Harlan, Atlantic, Clarinda, and Shenandoah.
Persons seeking to meet the Iowa High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED) requirements should be aware of companies that claim to offer a High School Equivalency program over the internet or through correspondence courses. Although testing for the HiSET is computer-based, the tests can only be accessed at a recognized Iowa Community College testing site where certified HiSET Proctors will administer the test(s). There is an online option for students to study and prepare for the HiSET tests. Reading and math scores must fall within the eligibility range to qualify for this program. You must take official practice tests and final exams with a certified Proctor, usually located at one of our campuses. Call the Adult Education Department at (712) 325-3266 for further details.
Attending classes offers face-to-face instruction, evaluation of homework, and test orientation and practice. Attendance is mandatory and gives students the opportunity to ask questions, schedule additional help, and to interact and learn from peers. Classes at the main IWCC campus meet four days a week for seven weeks and are available during the day or evening. Classes at the four off-site campuses meet two days a week for three hours for thirteen weeks and are available day or evening.
You register for the HiSET preparation program at the IWCC Adult Education Department located on the IWCC campus, in Kinney Hall, or at one of the preparation sites listed. You may be required to schedule an appointment to register or asked to come at a specific time. Please call the location where you would like to attend classes and ask about the registration procedure. During registration, you will fill out a few forms and learn program expectations as well as what opportunities are available to you in your pursuit of furthering your education. There is a $25.00 dollar registration fee due at the time of registration. This fee is good through June 30th. Your registration process is complete once you have completed the reading and math assessments. The following locations provide HiSET instruction:

  • Council Bluffs, IWCC campus and IowaWorks office (OMNI Centre)

  • Harlan, IWCC Shelby County Center

  • Atlantic, IWCC Cass County Center

  • Clarinda, Clarinda Campus

  • Shenandoah, IWCC Page/Fremont Center

Please contact regarding options if you are at least 16 years old. You will need official documentation from your high school that states you are no longer enrolled as well as your current official transcript and verification of your high school graduation date. You also need a valid photo ID. Depending on your age, you may need your parent/guardian’s consent.

Participants do not have to be a resident of Iowa to take the HiSET exam. Individuals 17 years of age and older who have not graduated from an accredited high school, received a high school equivalency diploma, and are not currently enrolled in high school are eligible to take the HiSET tests. Individuals 18 years old and under must have an age waiver signed by their previous high school or school district showing they are not enrolled. Individuals who are 16 may test if court-ordered to do so.
All students must demonstrate that they are prepared to take and pass the HiSET final exams. This is done by taking a variety of assessments and an Official Practice Test (OPT) for each subject with a qualifying score as a goal. The score on this OPT scores determines whether you are ready to go in and take an official HiSET final exam. It is difficult to predict how much time you will need to prepare for testing because the amount of time each student needs and has available for successful review work, varies considerably. Your success depends on your learning abilities, your study habits, your motivation, and how consistently you attend class.
Exams are offered year-round. Days and times at our sites vary. Students will be able to select the location and time that best meets their needs but will need to be enrolled in and working with a program where details on registering and scheduling to test through Educational Testing Services (ETS) are provided.
You will need the completed Verification Form, provided by the program in which you prepared to test. You will also need a valid, government-issued photo ID (Driver’s License, etc.).
Tests are scheduled individually and the cost is $10.75 per test – this includes (2) free retests for each subject. You will need to pay with a debit or credit card. If an outside agency is paying for your test fee, they can purchase a testing voucher from the IWCC Bookstore for the price of $55.25. You will need to provide your agency contact name and phone/email so directions can be sent about how to purchase a voucher(s) for you.
You have one year from the date of your first test (if using the 5-test voucher). Final exam scores expire five years from the date of the test if the test battery is not completed.
You must earn 8 out of 20 points for the minimum passing score for each individual final exam, but you need a total of 45 points (out of 100) to earn your High School Equivalency Diploma (HSED). Your individual test score report also indicates whether or not you have achieved the score required to demonstrate college and career readiness (shows a level of performance similar to the minimum level required to succeed in college-level credit-bearing courses).
Our graduation ceremony is usually held in May at the Iowa Western Community College main campus. Everyone who successfully completes the HiSET battery, is invited to attend the ceremony. Friends and family are welcome to attend. If you finish after the ceremony in a given year, you will be invited to attend the following year’s ceremony.
Diplomas and transcripts can be ordered through The first request for documents is free of charge, and subsequent requests for documents costs $15 and is payable by debit or credit card.

Students who successfully complete the five final exam battery prior to turning 18 years old will be awarded their diploma with their graduating class.