Distinguishing Between GED & High School Diploma

GED vs High School Diploma

The General Educational Development (GED) and High School Diploma are often seen as equivalent due to the uncertainty surrounding the differences between them. While passing GED is considered equal to passing a High School Diploma for some individuals, there are important differences between the two qualifications. This article aims to clarify the misconceptions and differences between GED and High School Diploma.

What is High School Diploma?

A High School Diploma is the academic certification given to a student upon their graduation from high school, which typically includes Grade 9 to Grade 12 and takes four years to complete. Students must be at least 18 years old and complete the required coursework given by their school, which varies depending on the state and school. For example, in Illinois, students must study English, mathematics, science, social science, world language, fine arts, physical education, and elective classes to obtain their High School Diploma. This qualification generally holds more weight in the workplace and can provide easier access to college without needing to take entry tests.

What is GED?

Introduced in 1942, the GED was created in response to soldiers returning from war who needed to demonstrate their knowledge to obtain jobs. GED consists of five tests (science, social studies, mathematics, language arts – reading, language arts – writing) that, when passed, certify the candidate has high school-level academic skills. The test must be taken in person and is not available online. Today, GED serves as a means of securing jobs for individuals who have not been able to continue their studies and obtain a regular High School Diploma. Those who have a High School Diploma are not eligible to take the GED. However, someone deciding to leave high school early without completing their diploma can also take the GED.

Passing the GED makes a person eligible for jobs typically meant for high school diploma holders. However, there are several differences between the GED and High School Diploma.

Employers often view GED less favorably than a High School Diploma, preferring to hire diploma holders over those with a GED. Obtaining a GED requires less time, preparation, effort, and responsibility than earning a regular High School Diploma. People can take the GED at age 16 or at any age later in life. While most colleges accept GED for higher studies, they often require a GED holder to pass another entrance-level examination.

Key Takeaways

  • GED is generally held in lower esteem than a High School Diploma.
  • Obtaining a GED requires less time, preparation, effort, and responsibility than earning a regular High School Diploma.
  • Colleges often require GED holders to pass another entrance-level examination, which is not required for regular High School Diploma holders.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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