What’s the Difference Between the GED and a High School Diploma?

If you’re considering taking the GED, a whole lineup of questions may be running through your mind about this type of certification. What’s the difference between the GED and a high school diploma? Do employers and colleges care which one you have? Are there limits to what you can do with a GED versus a high school diploma? GED Testing Services has all the answers and more!

What is the GED?

The GED is comprised of the GED test and the GED credential. The GED test includes exams on four different topics, including math, reasoning through language arts, science, and social studies. If these subjects sound familiar, it’s because high school students encounter them every day in the classroom. In fact, if you’ve attended high school through junior year, you should feel pretty confident about your ability to study for and pass the GED exam.

Once you pass all four exams on the GED test, you’ve earned your GED credential. This credential serves as a diploma showing you have a 12-grade level knowledge base—even if you didn’t graduate from a traditional high school.

Is the GED Equal to a High School Diploma?

The GED is a high school equivalency diploma, so you can use it to apply to college or for a job resume, just like you would with a high school diploma. And if you’re wondering which schools and jobs accept the GED, we’ve got good news! More than 98 percent of schools in the United States accept the GED, including community colleges, universities, and private schools. Couple your GED with a good SAT or ACT score, and you’ll have an excellent chance of getting into any school you wish.

If you’re ready to dive straight into the workforce, the GED is a great option in that area too. Employers view the GED as equal to a high school diploma, so you shouldn’t have trouble applying for jobs—as long as you have the skills and experience necessary for the position. And, earning a GED also has the potential to boost your earnings significantly. Many GED graduates go on to make $9,000 more per year than those without a high school diploma.

Which Option is Right for You?

A high school diploma is an ideal option to prepare you for a career and college studies. But this route takes four years to complete, and some people don’t have the option to attend high school if they drop out during their teenage years.

Luckily, GED graduates can prepare to earn their certificate in just a few months, and the test can be taken even by those past high school age.

Ultimately, both options are a great way to gain knowledge and life experience to open up new opportunities, including higher pay, continued education, and career advancement.

13 Comments

  1. Hi my name is Meena Dokmai. I am living in Hawaii and I just pass the last test for the GED today so I was wondering if they have the graduation ceremony or do they just mail me the GED transcript?

    1. Hi Meena! If you attended an adult education center you can reach out to them and see if they have a graduation ceremony. We will also have a virtual celebration for all GED graduates this spring so watch out for emails about that!

    1. Hi Erika! Yes you can take the GED. We suggest looking for an adult education center near you to help with your preparation for the GED. For more information please email help@ged.com.

  2. After passing all GED tests, do you get a certificate similar to a HS diploma or is the transcript sufficient enough to show a potential school or employer.
    What happens if you lose proof that you completed the GED. Where do you acquire a copy of it. The GED was done in the state of PA

    1. Hi Makalina! Yes you will get a transcript that is sufficient to show schools and employers. If you lose proof that you completed your GED, you can email help@ged.com and they will assist you in getting a copy of your transcript.

  3. Dear GED Testing Service,

    Hope this mail finds you well.
    I’m Hilda, I used to lived in San Francisco CA.
    I attended GED classes and I passed two of the subjects test already. But unfortunately I have to move with my family to Asia. Is it possible for me to take the other two subjects test online?

    Thank you
    Best regards.
    Hilda Ichioka

    1. Hi Ichioka! We want to help you finish your GED. Unfortunately we do not allow students to take the actual test online, but we do offer the GED in Asian countries. Please email help@ged.com and they can provide you with more information on relocating and testing internationally.

    1. Hi Jazmín! You should be able to get your GED depending on what state you’re testing in. Please email help@ged.com for more information on how to get started or click here to learn more about testing in a specific state.

  4. Hi, I completed (Graduated) from high school I earned high school Certificate of Attendance and completion it didn’t counted as diploma or Equivalent to diploma I was not meeting requirements for high school Diploma and I could able earn GED Credential more benefits than the High School Certificate a non-credential because I Was a Special education Outside a General Education requirements for Diploma for the office jobs

  5. Hola, mi nombre es Adán, vivo en the bronx new York , soy ciudadano pero viví todo el tiempo en mexico y allí terminé mis estudios de secundaria y 1 año de hig school , y tengo ganas de seguir con ello , mi pregunta es ¿ yo puedo hacer un g.e.d y que tomen en cuenta mi constancia de secundaria en México?

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