The U.S. Census Bureau is expert at collating the details of the population at large. Out of the milieu of such information, some interesting facts about higher education may be culled. For example, in 2006 the Educational Attainment data showed wage earners without a high school diploma or GED (General Educational Development Test) earn just under $20,000 per year. The largest population without a high school diploma was Hispanic—49%. Wage earners with a high school diploma or GED earn on average $10,000 more per year. Is that not enough incentive to consider getting your GED?
For some dropouts, the incentive is to overlook any academics at all and simply hand over a couple hundred dollars for a fake high school diploma or GED. Individuals that buy bogus diplomas fail to consider the long-term career ramifications. Fakes may serve as short-term solutions, but they are becoming less and less foolproof.
Luckily for high school dropouts the GED is even offered. The GED was first used in 1942 as a means to tune up the critical thinking skills of veterans returning from the war who had left high school to serve their country. The test gave them the skills they needed for employment. Today the GED is becoming controversial for its accessibility; critics argue the test gives teens an “out” with a high school education.
Eighty-five percent of all Americans have earned a high school diploma or equivalent.1 The 15 percent that have dropped out do so because of language barriers, or financial, familial, social or personal problems. Many regret the choice later. How many people actually get a GED? The statistics are chopped up by state, but here are a few that may indicate the numbers of individuals that represent the GED earners:
Thousands of Americans take the GED each year. What can it help you do?
According to most sources, more than 95% of employers recognize a GED as more or less on a par with a high school diploma when making hiring decisions. However, a GED on its own merit is arguably not the solution to a stellar income. A report out of Ohio State University’s Center on Education and Training for Employment suggests that the economic benefits of the GED are short-lived and lose their impact over time. The report’s claims are reasoned out like this:
Individuals that use the GED as a bridge to higher education maximize the test’s overall benefits.
Not only is the GED an important link to a better job, but for many individuals the GED earns them the option to consider college or advanced professional coursework. And over 90 percent of colleges accept the GED as a high school equivalent. College doesn’t have to mean a four-year degree, either. Many more wage earners are opting for a community college education. Practical and targeted programs typically put graduates into immediate jobs with good skill sets. In the article, “Benefits of Community College and Technical Degrees,” we explore the benefits of this alternative educational option.
But what exactly is required when you commit to the GED? Read, “What it Takes to Get Your GED,” for the scoop on tests, preparation, and cost.