high school diploma vs GED

High School Diploma vs GED: The Differences Explained

VWB Blog 1 year ago 22

In America, 8.9% had less than a high school diploma or equivalent. That same year, only 81% of White Americans finished high school. In 2020, it was expected to rise that number.

2020 has seen a rise in the urgency to complete high school education. With threats of quarantines and distance, there has been an urgency to keep ourselves and our children close and mentally.

Read on to learn the difference between a high school diploma vs GED.

What Is a GED?

The General Educational Development (GED) curriculum replaces the conventional high school diploma. The American Council on Education offers it.

It’s a credential awarded to those who pass an examination designed to measure the skills and knowledge equal to a high school diploma. It allows those who still need to complete high school to achieve a secondary credential.

A GED can give people new opportunities and even the ability to further their education. It can provide the same benefits. It is sometimes viewed as a more reliable measure of a person’s capabilities.

Regular High School Diplomas

The gold standard for proving high school completion and mastery of typical high school competencies is a high school diploma from a traditional brick-and-mortar school.

For four years, it’s required to have full-time attendance at school. It is for students to pass their studies and graduate.

The possession of a high school diploma demonstrates that the holder has participated in and finished all the courses mandated by the applicable school district.

A transcript of the courses taken and grades awarded. It’s needed for college and employment applications and will be provided upon request.

How Does Obtaining a GED Differ From Earning A High School Diploma

Earning either a high school diploma or a GED is an accomplishment. It is often the first step toward higher education and better job opportunities.

A high school diploma is awarded after a student completes a specific number of courses and meets other requirements set by the governing authorities. It provides the same level of education as a high school diploma. But it’s not associated with any particular school.

Also, there are many national testing facilities where you can take the GED exams online. Finally, obtaining it is far quicker than getting a high school diploma. You may achieve it without attending a high school.

Benefits of Obtaining A GED Instead of A High School Diploma

Getting a GED is much lower than obtaining a high school diploma. Plus, it requires far less time to get. It involves passing an exam. At the same time, a high school diploma requires many courses and examinations.

Society often gives much more respect and recognition to a high school diploma than to a GED.

But for those who do not complete high school, obtaining a GED may be a more effective and cost-efficient way to demonstrate their ability and knowledge to get better employment opportunities.

It’s a fantastic choice for those who dropped out of high school early. It is also helpful for students who have other obligations, including full-time employment or a family to support.

Requirements and Eligibility

High school diplomas and GED qualifications are commonly confused as they’re perceived to carry the same value and recognition. However, this is not the case regarding requirements and eligibility.

A high school diploma is issued by the local board of education when a student successfully passes all the subjects and passes the final exam. On the other hand, GED is a national test that can be taken by anyone above the age of 16 who has yet to graduate from high school.

The eligibility criteria for taking the GED test require the candidate to have high school-level knowledge of Maths, Science, Social Science, and Language. To pass the test, the candidate must score at least 145 points out of 200.

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Testing Guidelines

The main difference between a High School Diploma and a GED is how the tests are administered.

A High School Diploma is obtained by completing all the classes required at a high school and often must be accompanied by high school-level standardized testing.

GED tests focus strictly on the academic knowledge expected of someone with a high school-level education and don’t require courses to be completed.

Both tests must be taken within several attempts while meeting the deadline.


Having a High School Diploma shows the future employer that the student has completed the school’s requirements and high school education.

Having a GED indicates that the student focused on professional and experiential learning instead of traditional classrooms.

Experience can provide a different educational path and be used to earn the GED, which provides the same skillset as a High School Diploma.

Can I Use My GED at Colleges?

A high school diploma and GED are commonly accepted credentials when applying for colleges. The main difference between a high school diploma and a GED is the type of educational program obtained by the student.

Those with GEDs usually have to provide additional information such as a personal statement, a copy of the assessment or transcript, and sometimes a letter of reference to demonstrate their academic successes.

It is possible to use a GED to enter college, but it is essential to understand that admission requirements can often be stricter for GED recipients than those with a high school diploma.

Colleges typically prefer applicants to have a high school diploma and may impose additional requirements on GED applicants, such as an application essay or further standardized testing.

Decide Between High School Diploma vs GED According to Your Career Goals

To sum it up, a high school diploma vs GED can open career and educational doors for you. It is crucial to weigh both options’ pros and cons and determine the best option for you.

Take the time to research and meet with professionals before you make your decision. Make the wisest educational decision for your future.

If you’d like to discover more tips regarding career, education and more, visit our other blogs at your convenience.

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