The general equivalency degree, most commonly known as the GED, shows that a person has obtained sufficient knowledge to pass high school. Students who don't have the necessary credits to graduate from high school or choose to drop out for any reason, often take the GED test instead. Most states require GED test takers to be at least 16 years old, but adults of all ages take the GED test every year. A GED proves that you have met high school academic requirements.
A major advantage of a GED is being able to take a five-part test to verify your high school academic credentials, rather than obtaining all the necessary high school credits to do so. If you decide to drop out of high school due to pregnancy, full-time employment, medical issues, family obligations or other personal pursuits, a GED doesn't require you to attend daily academic classes. You can complete the GED test in less than 8 hours.
Employment and Wages
Most employers want proof that a job applicant has a minimum of a high school education. According to Clark College, most jobs require a high school diploma and the GED is accepted by many employers just like a high school diploma. For males, a GED doesn't necessarily mean an increase in entry-level or starting wages, but for females it's a different story. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that males with GED certificates don't receive higher wages than dropouts without them, but females with GED certificates earn 1.7 percent more per hour than high school dropouts.
A GED can help you get accepted to a college or university. Clark College reports that a GED certificate is accepted at most colleges and universities across the country as proof you've successfully completed your high school education. Some colleges even offer special scholarship programs to those who've obtained a GED. Depending on the college, you'll likely need to submit additional application materials such as your partial high school transcripts, standardized ACT or SAT test scores, essays and letters of recommendation.
A Sense of Accomplishment
Obtaining a GED can give you a sense of accomplishment. It's never too late to take the GED test, even if you're well into your adult years. A GED certificate proves that you've mastered high school level skills in math, reading, writing, science and social studies. You and your family members can take pride in your having achieved the GED certification.
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images