What Do Employers and Colleges Think About the GED?

About this article
The General Educational Development exam (GED) is an excellent first step in reaching your future financial and personal goals. However, what if you want to go to college or apply for a particular job? Will the GED be accepted? Read this article for answers to these questions.
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The GED for Further Education

GEDs are, for the majority of colleges and universities, accepted the same way as are traditional high school diplomas. Rarely do colleges and universities determine a person's enrollment solely on the basis of the GED credential. Be aware, however, that some preparatory or prerequisite courses may be required in addition to the GED. This is particularly true for engineering and life science majors, but could be true for any major depending upon the university. Do your research and contact the admissions office of any schools you are interested in.

GED Pros and Cons for Employment

It is difficult to generalize how employers view applicants who hold a GED, and equally challenging to assign an employer's decision to hire or not to hire to a single factor such as GED vs. high school diploma. However, here are some facts to consider:

  • A current high school student who has the opportunity to complete the traditional diploma should know that the U.S. Census Bureau statistics generally show somewhat higher earnings for graduates who hold a traditional high school diploma as compared to GED certificate holders. Additionally, a much higher percentage of traditional high school graduates (73%) go on to pursue some type of postsecondary education, as opposed to 43% of GED holders.*
  • However, for those who are over 18 who did not earn a traditional high school diploma, a GED or other high school equivalency credential will offer a significant advantage as compared to adults with no high school diploma. The Census Bureau showed earnings of $3,100 per month for GED holders in 2009, as compared to $2,400 for those who had just some high school credits but no diploma. Additionally, GED holders worked more hours, were unemployed less, were a little more likely to have employee benefits, and reported higher job satisfaction as compared to those who held no high school credential.**

(Sources: *Statistics for 2009 as reported by the U.S. Census Blog in 2012; **(GEDTestingService.com) Labor Market Impacts of GED Test Credential on High School Dropouts, 2008)


An adult who lacks a high school diploma and goes on to earn a GED will see both tangible and intangible benefits as a result of their efforts. A GED holder can generally expect that the employers will recognize the certificate as comparable to a diploma, and they shouldn't hesitate to apply to a job that says 'high school diploma required'. In fact, an individual who overcomes difficulties, recognizes a need for a diploma and sets out to earn the equivalent via a less-traditional path can make the argument that he or she has demonstrated perseverance and a desire to succeed, both of which are qualities sought by employers.