Nowadays, verification of a GED® diploma is a simple process that is done online and organizations can easily check if the candidate has indeed earned the GED credential.
But there is more to the story, so keep reading.
Why a GED diploma is important
The GED (General Education Development) program was introduced in 1942 to support individuals who could not complete their high school education.
Upon graduation, GED holders have demonstrated that they command academic skills and knowledge at the same level as students who did complete their high school education.
The GED test is used by the majority of states for the purpose of high school equivalency testing and is governed by the GED Testing Service, a joint venture of the American Council on Education (ACE) and publisher Pearson VUE, but the exam is administered under the states’ jurisdiction.
The GED exam includes four independent modules that cover the academic subject fields of Math (Mathematical Reasoning), Social Studies, Science, and Literacy (Reasoning through Language Arts). Test-takers must pass all of these subject tests.
This page contains information both for GED holders looking to secure a rewarding and well-paying position and for employers looking to hire reliable, qualified new workers. This is key as more and more GED holders choose to start their own businesses.
If they want to verify the legitimacy of a GED diploma, potential employers often will ask to submit a transcript of your official GED diploma.
When you have lost your diploma, you can get a copy by contacting the GED Testing Service. Most states, though still responsible for GED testing, do not provide copies any longer. More about that later.
If an employer has some doubts about the validity of a transcript, s/he can very easily verify this by contacting the testing authority or the agency responsible for providing copies and transcripts for GED Testing Service, Parchment.
An increasing number of employers use the services of specialized companies that perform background checks on applicants, including your education verification.
Many states make it very easy for future employers to get information about your GED status but they are required to have written permission on your behalf.
Often, by signing your job application, you may have already given the required permission and this is particularly true when you apply for a job as a firefighter or a police officer!
Do they really look to see if you have a GED?
Probably, potential employers won’t check your diploma, but they will definitely check your record. When you apply for a position, you should never lie. Whether they will check your diploma depends a bit on the job you’re applying to, but one thing is sure: if you lie, they will never hire you.
Get in touch with your school district’s adult education department to see if you qualify for high school diploma classes or that you should take GED prep classes.
All states hold records of GED diplomas and everyone who earned a GED there. These records are accessible for GED holders themselves but also for other individuals and organizations who have their consent.
For instance, when you apply for a job, you will most likely need to submit your secondary education details. As a GED holder, they will ask for your GED completion date to verify your education history. On the other hand, if you hold a college degree, chances are they don’t really care whether you have a GED or a diploma.
And in case you want to volunteer at some organization, you will most likely also have to provide this information as they carry out background checks on applicants. And you may also want to check on someone’s GED records in case you represent an organization as a hiring manager and want to verify an applicant’s information.
How to find GED records
In America, three exams are used for the purpose of high school equivalency testing, the GED (General Education Development), the HiSET (High School Equivalency Test), and the TASC exam (Test Assessing Secondary Completion).
When we say GED, we refer to either of these exams that, upon successful completion, lead to that state’s HSE (High School Equivalency) diploma.
Regardless of whether you want a copy or transcript of your own GED diploma or records, or whether you’re looking to verify an applicant GED credential, the following steps need to be taken:
- Find out in what state the GED diploma was earned.
- Go to that state’s adult education website and learn about the state’s policies regarding records requests.
- If the transcript is not for yourself, obtain written consent from the GED diploma holder. In some states, you can use their online request form, and generally, states will require you to submit:
– Full name, date of birth, and signature of the GED holder
– Social Security Number
– Mailing address or email address where the verification needs to be sent
In most states, the turnaround time will be just 24 hours, but you should make your request as early as you possibly can.
Keep in mind that the only verification information will be sent about whether an official GED credential was earned and on which date. Scores will not be provided as that conflicts with privacy protection regulations.
Background checks show education history
Research has indicated that some 70 percent of college students said they would lie a bit on their resumes to land the job they really wanted. Shouldn’t this be more than enough reason to check resumes of applicants for fraudulent or misleading educational claims?
Most companies understand the importance of checking an applicant’s education history, but not all companies and organizations routinely check and verifying all applicants’ education history.
A good and professionally conducted education background check will help to verify the following:
- A candidate’s GED, certificates, diplomas, college degrees, training, other credentials and honors
- Date of graduation
- Whether the applicants attended the schools that they list in their resumes
- The names, cities, regions, and states of those schools
- A candidate’s domestic and overseas education history
A background check verifies this sort of aspects regarding an applicant’s education history, but there are many reasons and issues for prolonging the process.
Employers need a candidate’s permission
If a potential employer wants to run a background check on a candidate, he will need to have his or her written consent. And if an employer wants to contact one of the listed schools for educational information about a candidate, they’ll need to wait for the school to receive permission from the candidate.
There are also numerous schools that are not allowing employers to contact them regarding current or previous student information. When that’s the case, the candidate will have to provide proof of attending and/or graduating from that school.
Candidates may also consider requesting certified transcripts from the school, and they usually will get access to transcripts for a modest fee. The transcripts will show you what classes they took which helps to demonstrate that they actually learned what they have listed on their resumes.
Waiting on the school
Contacting a school may cause some issues, especially when that school is closed. If that’s the case, you can do nothing but wait until it opens again.
Another issue often is that It may take a considerable amount of time to find the records of the candidate. But what could be the problem with finding a name, you may wonder. Well, there are so many issues with students’ name changes.
It could be that the applicant attended school using the maiden name and later, after completing the school program, got married, and changed her name. And students from overseas may also use a different name or provide some sort of shortened name on their resumes.
So in these cases, you’ll need to know the name a candidate used while they were attending that school. If you don’t know that, you can’t ask the school what name to look for.
Verifying education history
A crucial step in vetting job applicants is verifying their education history. This is especially important because their education history is often incomplete or inaccurate. Keep in mind that also for jobs that don’t require a GED or diploma, background checks are often carried out.
Education verification is key as it may confirm a job applicant’s credentials. The process will verify that certificates, degrees, or diplomas were actually received. Education verifications can take place nationally or worldwide and results are obtained directly from educational institutions or from their authorized agents.
Education verification-what is it?
Most professional positions require at least a certain education level and that also applies if you have an open position that needs to be filled in your small business.
The process of verifying all the information listed on a candidate’s resume will definitely help you improve the level of your company’s hires.
There are many education verification techniques and processes, but in general, employers are looking for confirmation of aspects such as educational degrees, schools attended, years attended, specific certifications, and specialized training.
Employers should verify education
Employers must take reasonable and lawful measures to protect their employees and their company as a whole. When your new hire is conducting dangerously or his/her behavior is injuring co-workers on the job, you and your small business are likely to be exposed to liability claims.
Screening applicants is needed to uncover possible signals that indicate that a good fit between position and person may be questionable.
There’s also the aspect of certification. Certain positions require specific certifications. There are many jobs, particularly in the fields of healthcare, education, and fitness, that require candidates to have proper expertise backed by degrees and/or certifications.
And if a candidate does not command the skills and knowledge required to do the job properly, your business might be confronted with a lot of liability.
Through the process of education verification, employers have the chance to weed out bogus academic degrees and certifications, diploma mills, and desperate persons puffing up their resumes with false and fraudulent education information.
Watch out for ‘Diploma Mills’
Research has shown that a staggering 20 percent of all resumes mention some sort of fraudulent degree. There are numerous sites that help job applicants to create fake certificates or degrees.
The websites that provide these fraudulent degrees and certificates are called ‘diploma mills.’ A diploma mill is a website that poses as a fake education institution that sells fake certificates and degrees for a fee.
Sometimes, these fake degrees from these fraudulent websites are based solely on the candidate’s work and life experiences, but often, they are based on nothing but a candidate’s wallet.
How will you be able to see if a candidate presents a fraudulent degree or certificate from one of these diploma mills? Well, you’ll have to check for the following signs:
- The school name sounds suspiciously similar to that of a real school
- The school doesn’t hold accreditation from an official accreditation agency
- There’s too much focus on work and life experience
- The school doesn’t have an address or location. When only a PO Box number is mentioned, that definitely is a red flag!
Diploma mills provide diplomas and degrees for a fee but they don’t require students to complete any coursework or education. Great help is offered by the database on the website GetEducated.com. There you can simply discover if a listed (online) school is appropriately accredited and if the school was reported as a scam.
This sort of issue does not mean that you won’t be able to get to the education background information that you want to verify. It might just take a little bit longer than you expected.
However, candidates should also be willing to submit the information you require to verify the information they list on their resumes. If they are not, that could very well be a sign that the education information they provided may be fraudulent.
The following are the six regional accreditation agencies for schools:
- NEASC (New England Association of Schools & Colleges)
- NCACS (North Central Association of Colleges & Schools)
- NAC (Northwest Accreditation Commission)
- WASC (Western Association of Schools & Colleges)
- MSACS (Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools)
- SACS (Southern Association of Colleges & Schools)
Common GED record challenges
There are cases when you may encounter some difficulties when requesting GED records. It used to be that all states had their own guidelines for storing GED records and to access this information, some states are simply more compliant than other states regarding requests.
However, more and more states are transferring GED record storing and transcript requests to GED Testing Service and their partner Parchment Services.
Another issue is the date of testing. This also may affect how easy or difficult you can access GED records. Records of recent tests are probably stored digitally so they can be accessed on a computer, whereas older records will more likely be found in physical archives that are less easily searched.
To locate older GED records, archivists need you to provide as much relevant information as you can including a candidate’s previous names.
Requests for older GED records may some additional time to fulfill, sometimes even several weeks. So when you submit a GED records request, take that into account.
Do education background checks go far?
Typical education background screenings cover everything from a candidate’s high school or GED completion, college certificates and degrees, and professional training.
Education verification is checking against official records and there is usually no time limit associated with this sort of investigation.
In case an applicant reports that s/he has graduated while actually the school wasn’t completed yet, the education verification check will still confirm the applicant’s major and when s/he was enrolled in the school.
Drawbacks of education verification
There are quite a few employers who choose to forget about education verification checks because of a number of drawbacks, including:
- It takes too long. It may take several weeks to verify an educational background due to slow degree-posting procedures and processes, and school closures.
- Inaccessibility issues. Numerous educational institutions have procedures and policies that deny third parties access to current or former students’ records.
- Inaccuracy issues. Incomplete or incorrect student numbers and name variation issues often lead to inaccurate education verification results.
- Incomplete verification results. Often, education verification checks do not include information about a candidate’s GPA or honors results.
Before you start the education verification process, determine the education level that your job opening is requiring. Make sure you understand about privacy regulations imposed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that is protecting specific student records.
How to run wider screening
During the job search process, many job seekers get so tied up in everything that has to do with submitting resumes, attending networking events, and perhaps optimizing their interview skills, that they forget about another key hurdle to landing the perfect job: background checks.
When it comes to employment background checks, education verification is merely one crucial component. If an employer wants to be sure he hires the best qualifying candidate, he should really use a pre-employment screening services agency to look deeper into an applicant’s employment, credit, and criminal history.
Many professional organizations offer convenient and very affordable employment background screening for small businesses looking to hire top-quality employees.
There are many reasons why employers are running background checks. They may want to see your behavior regarding making late payments or otherwise irresponsible financial behavior. Employers may regard that as a liability.
Criminal records may additionally form an indication that an applicant may be prone to wrong behavior and/or violence. Usually, employers are running these background checks to protect themselves and their companies from negligent hiring lawsuit experiences when anything happens.
What information can employers obtain during background checks?
An employer can learn many things about you, including your employment history, credit history, driving records, or criminal records. When an employer is using a third party to carry out the background check, the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) makes sure it is lawful.
If an employer wants to obtain a background check report on your credit history, he is obliged to notify you in writing. They are also required to get your written permission.
And when something in the report causes the employer not to hire you for the position, he is required to give you a transcript of the background check report including a copy of your legal rights.
Employers often want to check on your employment history to make sure all the information included in the resume you presented is accurate. This includes where and when you’ve worked, your job title, and your salary.
You should provide contact information for previous employers to comply, and keep in mind, never ever lie in your resume.
A credit check informs a potential employer about lots of personal information such as your current and previous addresses, your social security number, and also financial information such as credit card debt, student loans, car payments, mortgages, late payments, and defaulted loans.
You are entitled to receive a copy of your credit report free of charge every 12 months. TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax are the three major U.S. bureaus in the business of providing employers (and you) with these credit reports.
State regulations vary on what information employers can get regarding your criminal history. There are states that don’t allow questions about incidents that happened prior to a certain point in the past.
As regulations vary by state, check with the Department of Labor of your state if you want to learn what a future employer can check and what he cannot.
The future of background checks
Background screening is developing and evolving fast and these checks are used both for pre-employment due diligence purposes and for post-employment monitoring purposes.
Background checks will more and more be part of processes involved with employers deciding about your professional future. If you learn more about the techniques used in background screening, you will be better prepared for your next job interview.
Detailed background screening was usually done only for applicants for full-time positions and rather uncommon for applicants looking to get part-time positions or contract employees.
This is now changing rapidly, however. More and more businesses have become aware of the advantages and importance of including freelance workers on their teams. Freelancers are increasingly recognized for being ambassadors and representatives for their brands.
Last Updated on September 21, 2020.