Since 1942, the GED test has had a monopoly on the high school-equivalency test market.

It has been the only nationally recognized exam for those who didn’t finish high school and wanted to further their education or find a better job.

Now, at least two other vendors have developed high school equivalency exams, and there’s a good chance South Carolina could be using at least one of those by 2015 in addition to the GED.

“We’re not eliminating the GED,” said David Stout Jr., director of the Office of Adult Education for the South Carolina Department of Education. “We’re looking at options.”

The GED test is developed and overseen by the GED Testing Service, which is a for-profit that’s owned by a nonprofit, the American Council on Education, and a testing company, Pearson. The demand for the exam is significant, with more than 757,000 adults across the globe taking some portion of the test in 2010. In South Carolina, about 9.000 adults take the GED exam each year.

One of the new competitors to the GED is dubbed HiSET, and it was developed by two nonprofit assessment organizations, Educational Testing Service and Iowa Testing Programs. The HiSET will launch in January, and at least six states – Iowa, Montana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Missouri – have adopted the new exam to either replace or use alongside the GED.

The other alternative to the GED is the Test Assessing Secondary Completion, which was developed by McGraw-Hill, a digital learning company. New York and Indiana both have chosen to replace the GED with the TASC exam, which will be available in January, too.

Stout said South Carolina officials have been talking to both vendors and likely soon will invite them to submit proposals for the state Department of Education to review. State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais is a strong supporter of options, and like the ACT and SAT college entrance exams, different people might be comfortable taking different tests, Stout said.

Reach Diette Courrégé Casey at @Diette on Twitter or (843) 937-5546.