Getting a job without a high school diploma can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Many people who didn’t finish high school or have a diploma have had successful careers.
One option for those who still need to finish high school is to earn a General Educational Development (GED) certificate. But the question remains: Can you get a job with a GED?
The answer is yes. Many employers hire individuals with a GED, and various jobs are available for those who have earned their GED certificate. Some employers view a GED as equivalent to a high school diploma. However, it’s important to note that some jobs may require additional training or education beyond a GED.
While possessing a GED can expand your job prospects, it’s crucial to remember that employment opportunities differ based on the specific industry and geographic location.
Some industries may require a high school diploma or additional education, while others may be more open to hiring individuals with a GED. It’s crucial to research job requirements and qualifications before applying.
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The GED test is a series of four-subject tests that assess a person’s knowledge and academic skills at a level equivalent to a high school diploma. The tests cover subjects such as Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematics.
Individuals who pass the GED test receive a GED diploma or certificate, widely recognized as an equivalent to a high school diploma.
A GED diploma or certificate can enable individuals to meet the qualifications for jobs that mandate a high school diploma or equivalent.
The GED test is designed for individuals who still need to complete high school and wish to continue their education or pursue a career. The American Council on Education (ACE) administered the test, which is available in English and Spanish.
The GED test is administered electronically at official GED testing centers. It comprises multiple-choice and short-answer questions, along with an essay. The test is timed, necessitating the completion of each section within allocated time limits.
The GED test is challenging, and individuals must prepare adequately to pass it. Several resources are available to help individuals prepare for the GED test, including study guides, practice tests, and online courses.
GED vs. High School Diploma
Completing a high school education is essential to pursue a successful career. Two main options for students to achieve this milestone are obtaining a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) diploma. While both options signify that a student has completed a high school education, there are some critical differences between the two.
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High School Diploma
A high school diploma is earned by completing four years of traditional high school education, which involves attending classes, fulfilling assignments, and taking exams.
A high school diploma signifies that a student has completed all the required classes and has passed the exams in a traditional high school setting.
On the other hand, a GED diploma is an alternative way of obtaining a high school education. It is designed for students who could not complete high school education through traditional means.
The GED exam evaluates proficiency in four subjects: language arts, social studies, science, and mathematics. Passing this test awards a diploma equivalent to a high school diploma.
Differences Between High School Diploma and GED Diploma
There are some critical differences between a high school diploma and a GED diploma. Here are some of the main differences:
Time: A high school diploma takes four years to complete, while a GED diploma can be obtained within a few months.
Curriculum: A high school diploma requires students to attend classes and complete assignments in various subjects, while a GED diploma only requires students to pass four exams.
Acceptance: While employers and colleges widely accept a high school diploma, a GED diploma may be less highly regarded. Some employers and colleges may prefer candidates with a high school diploma over those with a GED diploma.
Eligibility: A high school diploma is only awarded to students who have completed all the required classes and exams in a traditional high school setting. A GED diploma can be obtained by anyone who passes the GED test, regardless of their educational background.
Career Paths with a GED
Individuals with a GED have a variety of career paths available to them. While some jobs may require additional education or training, many industries offer entry-level positions requiring only a GED.
Here are some career paths that individuals with a GED can pursue:
Healthcare is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries in the United States, and many positions only require a GED.
Some examples of healthcare positions that individuals with a GED can pursue include:
- Medical Assistant
- Home Health Aide
- Pharmacy Technician
- Dental Assistant
Trade jobs are another area where individuals with a GED can find employment. Many trade jobs offer on-the-job training or apprenticeships, making them accessible to those without a formal education.
Some examples of trade jobs that individuals with a GED can pursue include:
- HVAC Technician
Administrative support positions are another area where individuals with a GED can find employment.
Many administrative support positions only require a high school diploma or equivalent, making them accessible to those with a GED.
Some examples of administrative support positions that individuals with a GED can pursue include:
- Data Entry Clerk
- Customer Service Representative
- Office Assistant
GED holders can venture into entrepreneurship and become self-employed. Initiating a business can present challenges, but it also offers rewards and the freedom to work on one’s terms. Here are some business possibilities for GED holders:
- House Cleaning
- Personal Training
- Pet Care Services
Specific Jobs You Can Get with a GED
Having a GED opens up various job opportunities in multiple fields. Here are some specific jobs that can be pursued with a GED:
Construction and Related Fields
Construction is a field where a GED can be a valuable asset. Jobs such as carpenter, sheet metal worker, and boiler mechanic require specialized skills that can be learned through vocational training or apprenticeships. These jobs can be physically demanding but offer good pay and job security.
In healthcare, a GED can be advantageous. Occupations such as optician, pharmacy technician, and medical assistant require specialized training, available through vocational schools or on-the-job training.
Landscaping is a field that requires physical labor but can be rewarding for those who enjoy working outdoors. Jobs such as landscaper and florist require creativity and attention to detail. These jobs can be obtained through vocational training or on-the-job training.
Private investigation is a field that requires a GED and specialized training. Private investigators gather information for clients, such as businesses or law firms.
They may conduct surveillance, interview witnesses, and search public records. This job can be rewarding for those who enjoy problem-solving and working independently.
The U.S. Postal Service hires mail carriers who need a GED, pass exams, and a fitness test. They deliver mail, get good pay and benefits, and suit independent workers.
Real Estate Appraisal
Real estate appraisers assess property values for home sales, purchases, or securing mortgages. One needs a GED, specialized training, and certification to enter this field. Appraisers must possess strong attention to detail, analytical abilities, and effective communication skills.
Security is a field that offers many job opportunities for those with a GED. Security guard and power plant operator jobs require specialized training and certification.
These jobs offer good pay and benefits and can be a good fit for those who enjoy working in a structured environment.
The food service industry provides ample job openings for individuals with a GED. Positions like server and barista demand strong customer service skills and adaptability in fast-paced settings.
These roles typically involve on-the-job training, offering flexible schedules and chances for career progression.
GED Holders in College
GED holders interested in pursuing higher education have various options available to them. While a GED is not equivalent to a high school diploma, it is still widely accepted by colleges and universities across the United States. Over 98% of colleges and universities in the US get the GED as a valid form of high school equivalency.
GED holders wishing to pursue a college degree should carefully research their options. They may look at community colleges offering affordable tuition and flexible schedules.
Community colleges also often have programs specifically designed for adult learners, which can be helpful for GED holders who are returning to school after a break.
GED holders can enroll in online colleges or universities, particularly suitable for adult learners seeking flexibility or residing in areas lacking traditional educational institutions.
However, thorough research is vital to confirm the accreditation and reputation of these online programs.
Additionally, GED holders aspiring to earn college should explore potential financial aid opportunities.
Numerous colleges and universities provide scholarships and grants tailored to adult learners, while federal programs like the Pell Grant are also accessible.
Salary Expectations for GED Holders
GED holders can anticipate earning a respectable income, albeit typically less than individuals with college degrees.
In 2020, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary of $38,792 for workers with a high school diploma or equivalent. However, this figure fluctuates based on the occupation and sector.
Some of the highest-paying jobs for GED holders include transportation, construction, and healthcare.
For example, a commercial truck driver can earn an average salary of $48,000 annually, while a construction supervisor can earn up to $67,000 annually.
Medical assistants earn approximately $35,000 annually in healthcare, while dental assistants can make up to $44,000 annually. It’s worth mentioning that salary fluctuations based on location are also a factor to consider.
For example, the national average salary for a pest control worker is $36,000 per year. Still, the average salary is higher in some states, such as California and New York, at $43,000 and $47,000 per year, respectively.
GED and Military Careers
Individuals aspiring to join the military without a high school diploma may be curious about GED eligibility.
The good news is that all military branches accept GEDs as equivalent to high school diplomas. However, requirements for enlistment with a GED may differ from those for high school graduates.
GED holders might need higher entrance exam scores than high school diploma holders. For instance, the United States Marine Corps maintains rigorous education standards for recruits.
Those who have yet to graduate high school but possess an equivalent credential like a GED certificate may question if they meet the enlistment education criteria.
It is important to note that having a GED may limit some opportunities in the military. For example, some jobs may require a high school diploma or additional education beyond a GED. However, many options are still available to individuals with a GED interested in pursuing a career in the military.
For individuals considering a military career but uncertain about their path, the armed forces can offer an unconventional route to a prosperous future. It provides diverse job opportunities, including technical and specialized roles that may not be accessible in civilian life.
Additionally, the military provides training and educational opportunities that can help individuals advance their careers within and outside the military.
GED Test Details
The GED test assesses the knowledge and skills of individuals who didn’t complete high school in four subjects: Mathematics, Language Arts (Reading and Writing), Science, and Social Studies.
These subject tests are time-limited: Language Arts includes multiple-choice and essay sections, and Mathematics involves multiple-choice questions with provided calculators. At the same time, Science and Social Studies consist of multiple-choice questions with some short answers.
It’s computer-based, with immediate score results. To pass, you need a minimum score of 145 on each of the four tests, with a maximum possible score of 200.
The cost varies by state and testing center, usually from $20 to $30 per subject. Some states may offer free or reduced-cost testing based on specific eligibility criteria.
Online Resources for GED Holders
GED holders can access various online resources to support their career aspirations. These platforms offer valuable information and aid in job search and educational advancement.
One such resource is GED.com, which provides various tools and resources. These include a job search engine enabling users to find positions by location, industry, and job title.
Additionally, the site offers a resume builder tool and job interview tips to help GED holders present themselves effectively to potential employers.
Another beneficial platform for GED holders is Indeed.com, a job search engine with location, industry, and job title filters. It also supplies salary data, job descriptions, and company reviews to assist GED holders in making informed career choices.
For those looking to continue their education, several online resources are available. CollegeBoard.org, for instance, provides information about colleges and universities accepting GED holders and offers resources for college entrance exam preparation, such as the SAT and ACT.
Another valuable resource for GED holders interested in further education is Coursera.org, which offers a diverse selection of online courses from renowned universities and institutions worldwide.
These courses empower GED holders to acquire new skills and knowledge across various fields, enhancing their prospects for new career opportunities.
GED in Different Professions
Having a GED can open up various job opportunities across different professions. While some jobs may require additional training or certification, a GED can serve as a minimum educational requirement for many positions.
A GED can serve as a pathway to careers like paralegal, legal assistant, or court reporter within the legal sector. These roles often demand precision, effective communication, and the capacity to handle stress. While certain employers may favor candidates with bachelor’s degrees or more, a GED can be a valuable asset for those aspiring to enter the legal field.
Community and Social Service
A GED can also benefit those interested in pursuing a career in community and social service. Jobs in this field may include positions as social workers, counselors, or case managers.
These roles often require strong interpersonal skills, empathy, and the ability to work with diverse populations. While some positions may require additional education or certification, a GED can be a good starting point for those looking to make a difference in their communities.