Congratulations! Taking the steps you need to get your GED credential in California moves you toward a more stable future. You can further your education with a GED, which will help you acquire higher-paying jobs. As a California resident, you can earn your high school equivalency diploma. We’re here to help—every step of the way.

FAQs for Earning a GED in California

Top Policies

How old do I need to be to take a California GED® test?

The minimum age requirement to take the GED® test is 18 unless you meet any one of the additional requirements.  See below.

If you are underage, you must meet one of the following additional requirements:

  • You must be within 60 days of your 18th birthday (regardless of school enrollment status).
  • You are within 60 days of when you would have graduated from high school had you remained in school and followed the usual course of study. (Candidates testing under this criterion may not be enrolled in high school.)
  • You are 17 years of age; have been out of school for at least 60 consecutive days; and provide a letter of request for the test from the military, a postsecondary educational institution, or a prospective employer. The letter is to be provided to a test administrator at a local Pearson VUE test center that delivers the GED® test for the administrator’s review and approval.

For those testing on the Online Exam: 

  • Online testing is available in California for any test-taker who meets the eligibility requirements for California.
  • A test taker under the age of 18, with an approved waiver from the California Department of Education due to additional requirements may be eligible to test.
  • A parent or guardian must be present at the pre-test check-in to give consent and authorize the under 18 test taker to be recorded during testing. If the parent or guardian is not present, the exam session will be revoked. 

You will be required to provide identification on the day of the test. The following types of identification will be accepted:

  • Photographic driver license, with a signature, issued by any US state or foreign government
  • Photographic identification card, with a signature, issued by any of the US Armed Forces, any US state, or any foreign government (*military IDs are not allowed for Online Proctored testing)
  • Photographic Tribal enrollment card with a signature.  
  • Photographic identification card or badge, with a signature,  issued by a California department or agency (e.g., California Conservation Corps)
  • Photographic passport, with a signature, issued by the US or a foreign government

In California you are required to be a resident, as defined in Government Code section 233, or a member of the armed services assigned to duty in California.  If the form of identification you intend to bring does not prove your California residency, you must additionally bring at least one of the following to prove your residency:

  • Current rental or lease agreement
  • Current deed or title to residential real property
  • Current mortgage statement
  • Current home utility bill
  • Current cable or phone bill
  • Current employment documents
  • Current insurance documents
  • Current Internal Revenue Service or California Franchise Tax Board tax return
  • Current property tax bill or statement
  • Court documents that list the applicant as a California resident
  • Current California certificate of vehicle or vessel title or registration
  • Completion of the California High School Equivalency Declaration of California Residency

If you do not provide documentation to prove that you are a resident, you will not be allowed to test and will lose the testing fee that was paid.

Some states allow people who do not live in that state to take the GED® test and others do not. Arizona and Oregon currently do not have a residency requirement; while Nevada does. You should check the current residency requirement for the state that you are interested in testing in.

No, you are not required to take a class before taking the GED® test. However, instruction prior to testing is a benefit to test takers.

The practice test can provide information about your readiness to test, and offer guidance for further study if needed.

For those testing in-person at a Testing Center: 

  • No, you’re not required to take the GED Ready® practice test before taking the official GED® test. 

For those testing on the Online Exam: 

  • Yes, you are required to take the GED Ready® practice test before taking the official GED® test online. 

Price & Payment

What is my cost if I test at a Test Center?

  • Starting July 1, 2023: California charges $41 per subject for the GED® test at a Test Center.

What is my cost if I test Online?

  • California charges $41 per subject for the GED® test via Online.   

You will pay for the test online with a debit or credit card when you schedule your test.

Test Retake Policies

For those testing in-person at a Testing Center 

  • In California, there is no waiting period for your first two retakes. After taking a test subject 3 times, you will have to wait 60 days before retesting.

For those testing on the Online Exam: 

  • The Online Proctored Exam allows for one retake before a 60-day waiting period. After taking a test subject 2 times online, you’ll have to wait 60 days before retesting.  

For those testing in-person at a Testing Center: 

  • Starting July 1, 2023: You will receive one discounted* retake for every GED® test subject you purchase but don’t pass. You have 365 days after your full price test to use this retake. This retake offer (1 full price:1 discount) repeats until you pass the test. GED Testing Service waives its $26 testing fee, however additional testing fees may still apply in your state.

*In California, there is a $15 test center fee for GED® test retakes.  

For those testing on the Online Exam: 

  • The Online Proctored Exam costs $41 for a retake in California. Discounted retakes are not offered on the Online Proctored Exam. 

Transcripts & Diploma

Links to the electronic transcripts and certificates are often emailed within hours of obtaining your credential.  By logging into your account, you can click on the link to order additional transcripts or certificates. Through that link you can verify your mailing address and obtain a free paper certificate.  

Links to the electronic transcripts and certificates are often emailed within minutes of the order, but all orders should be processed within 2 weeks.  If you have not received your documents within 2-3 weeks, please call GED® Customer Service at 877-392-6433.

California uses GED Credentialing for GED® transcripts and certificates earned after 1990 and for some GED® transcripts and certificates earned before 1990, depending on where you tested. Be sure to include the following information when you request your transcript:

  • Testing center or school district name
  • Any city and state you likely tested in
  • The year or range of years when you earned your GED® credential
  • Any possible combination of name/names that may have been used (including aliases or maiden name)

If you tested before 1990 and your city does not have online transcript requests through GED Credentialing you must contact the test center where you tested. A fee may apply for duplicate transcript/diploma requests.  You can view the list of test centers maintained by GED® here.

The California High School Equivalency Certificate.


For those testing in-person at a Testing Center:

  • Yes, in California you can take all subjects in the same day if you can find a test center with hours that can accommodate the scheduling of all four subjects.

For those testing on the Online Exam:

  • No, you must schedule your test appointments separately, one at a time. After you complete one online exam you may schedule another, based on appointment availability.

Yes, in California you can test in English or Spanish and you can combine tests from different languages to earn your credential.

Check the residency requirements in that state to determine if you can continue testing in your new state.

If you have passed two GED® test subjects in the current testing series and you are currently a resident of California, you may continue testing within California and receive a California High School Equivalency Certificate. Please check the California residency requirements for more information.

Don Killmer
GED Administrator
State GED® Office
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 4202
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901
Public Hotline: (916) 445-9438
Fax: (916) 319-0962

How to Get a GED in California

To start this path toward your California GED, you must be a resident. You must not be a graduate or possess a high school diploma. You also cannot be enrolled in high school or other similar institutions. Additionally, while you can take the subject tests at 17 years of age if you meet certain requirements, you won’t be able to receive your GED credential until you turn 18. To get started, sign up for a free account. We provide you with step-by-step instructions and answer your questions along the way. Do you have a current account? Log into your account now. Plan on preparing for your GED for 2–3 months. After you take and successfully pass the test, the State of California will send you a certificate showing you have the same knowledge as a high school graduate (note: you must be 18+ years old to receive this certificate).

Find Classes Near You

Many students prefer in-person learning, feeling more comfortable in a traditional classroom environment. If you benefit from getting out of your office or home environment, join one of our in-person GED classes at one of our many convenient locations. Our in-person classes provide each student with:
  • Supportive and experienced teachers
  • Inclusive learning environments
  • Partnering opportunities with like-minded students
  • Flexible schedules for students with family and/or work responsibilities
  • Guidance and encouragement
  • Preparation
  • Professional support
  • College counselors
  • Helpful practice tests and reviews
Several testing centers can be found in California for you to take the GED online. Click here to find testing centers near you.

GED Tests Online in California

In California, you can prepare for the GED either in person or online—but can only take the test online. If you’re taking it home, ensure a stable internet connection, a proper computer with a functioning webcam, and privacy. You can also take advantage of online learning programs to prepare successfully. Taking an online class allows you to manage a busy work or family schedule while studying for your GED. You can also take practice quizzes and learn test-taking strategies at convenient times for you. When you earn a passing score on the GED Ready practice test, you can take the exam either from the comfort of your own home or at a secure testing site. Learn more about the benefits of getting your GED online today.