Though the GED and a high school diploma are equivalents, they are not exactly the same. In this article we’ll discuss the high school diploma and the GED, plus the main differences between them.

What is a High School Diploma?

A high school diploma indicates that you have completed 9th-12th grade and that you have satisfied your states’ education requirements for secondary education. This typically includes meeting the educational requirements for math, science, social studies, and language arts.

High school is academically demanding and is a large time commitment. However, through high school, you receive a great deal more support from teachers and other educators.

High school is an important part of many peoples lives, and there are many personal milestones and social events people experience through it. For many students, this is very important and a major reason they stay in high school. Additionally, a high school diploma is accepted by all types of employers and trade schools.

What is the GED?

The GED is a group of exams designed to determine if students have the equivalent knowledge of a 9th -12th grade high school education. The GED tests on 5 subjects: math, science, social studies, reasoning through language arts, and writing. In order to earn your GED, you must pass all exams with a minimum score.

One major difference between a high school diploma and a GED is that you can earn your GED much faster than you can earn a high school diploma. Though the GED does not take 4 years of studying, it is academically rigorous and a large time commitment is necessary.

Another difference between a diploma and a GED is that you do not have as much structured instruction for the GED as you would taking the high school route. Depending on your learning style, this may be a drawback or a benefit. In order to start studying for the GED, you must be at least 16-years-old, though this age may vary depending on which state you live in. You must also not be currently enrolled in a high school.

According to the GED, 98% of schools and employers accept the GED in place of a high school diploma.

Is a High School Diploma Better Than a GED?

Though some may argue that a high school diploma is slightly better than a GED, both are widely accepted, and demonstrate your knowledge.

One possible drawback of the GED is that it’s less academically rigorous than attending 4 years of high school. And though increasingly rare, a few employers may still prefer applicants who have high school diplomas over applicants with GEDs.

Another noteworthy fact about the GED is it’s cost. Through a public high school, you can receive your high school diploma for free. The GED, however, charges for each test you take. Though many states will help cover some of that cost, you are responsible for the rest of it. In addition to study materials, you may also be required to enroll in adult education courses, at an additional cost.

Though they are similar, there definitely are some differences between a high school diploma and a GED. Regardless of what route you choose to take, it is important to earn one of them.

More Reading: