Do you get a GED when you graduate high school?

Many students ask us this question. When you graduate high school you receive your high school diploma. The GED® exam is geared toward adults who did NOT graduate from high school.

So the simple answer is no. You will not receive a GED when you graduate high school and there’s also no need to receive a GED in that case.

Keep also in mind that the GED program is not open to applicants who are already holding a high school credential.

On the other hand, if you couldn’t complete your traditional high school curriculum, you still can earn an equivalent credential if you pass the GED exam.

So the GED is a secondary education credential that is a substitution for a high school diploma.

In America, there is the GED high school equivalency test and two alternatives, the HiSET or TASC exam (more about that below).

Today, practically all employers and colleges require you to hold at least a secondary education degree, also for entry positions and the GED diploma is also your ticket toward a college education.

So if you didn’t graduate from high school, getting your GED is not only a good idea, but it will also help to ensure better career options later in life.

GED Education

The GED (an acronym of General Educational Development) is an exam that assesses skills and knowledge at the level of graduating high school students.

Often, individuals that initially dropped out of high school and who worry about their prospects without a secondary diploma, decide to take the GED exam.

The GED exam comprises of four separate content area tests that are corresponding to the four core subject fields addressed in a common high school curriculum. These fields are:

  • Math (Mathematical Reasoning)
  • English Language (Reasoning Through Language Arts, RLA)
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Today in the U.S., there are three exams available that states may use to measure knowledge and skills to issue their high school equivalency diplomas or certificates. The exams are challenging and decent preparation is key. Check out these free practice tests to get all set for the GED test efficiently!

These three options are the GED®, the HiSET® exam (short for High School Equivalency Test), and the TASC™ exam (Test Assessing Secondary Completion). For an overview of all three options, check out this page.

The diploma or certificate that your state will award upon successfully completing the HiSET or TASC exam is regarded in the same way as a GED, so in the same way as a regular HS degree as well.

Please note that a number of states require GED students to additionally pass a Constitution and/or Civics Exam before they award the credential. Read more here.

So if you gave up your high school education and were not in the position to graduate, there’s still hope. You don’t need to give up your future education. You can still earn your high school equivalency diploma and pursue the college education you want.

Sure, it will take dedication on your part but that counts for high school grads as well. You may require some more commitment as you’ve probably been out of school for a while.

But overall counts just how much time you are willing to dedicate to studying and how much work you’re ready to put into making it all happen. There are students that benefit hugely from tutoring, not only to attain higher GED scores, but also to learn how to write better.

But it’ll be worth the effort! And don’t forget that it’s never too late! A high school diploma will prove to be your passport to a rewarding and well-paying job and you don’t need a GED if you have a high school diploma.

What do GED grads earn?

There still may be some discrepancy between what HS grads and GED holders earn but, in general, people holding a secondary education degree will be making at least $9,500 more annually than people without a GED or HS diploma.

So again, if you’ve graduated from high school, you won’t get a GED and you don’t have to, as your credential is valued at least in the same way as a GED. Getting a GED would not make any sense as you already hold a diploma that’s valued perhaps even slightly better than a GED!

So when you have successfully taken the GED, TASC, or HiSET exam, you will be awarded your state’s GED or High School Equivalency diploma or certificate (that depends on your state).

The credential is across the nation accepted in lieu of a high school diploma and scores in the college-ready and college-ready + credits ranges (respectively 165-174 and 175-200) may qualify GED graduates to skip having to take the ACT or SAT entrance exams or a state-specific test for college qualification.


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