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What Can Having Your GED Offer You?

by Kathryn Rateliff Barr

If you failed to complete your high school education, you might have difficulty finding a job or advancing your career. With few options, many adults seek a GED certificate because alternative high schools for adults are frequently not available or have requirements that are too restrictive for people trying to work and attend school. If you don’t have a high school diploma, completing the GED requirements offers some advantages.

Employment

Many employers require job applicants to have a high school diploma or the GED equivalent. They expect applicants to have basic skills of reading, writing, math, science and other coursework required to graduate from high school. Some employers give preference to applicants with a high school diploma over those with a GED certificate, but they refuse to hire applicants who don’t have either. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people who earn the GED certification earn less than high school graduates, regardless of gender, ethnicity or age. Many employers want to see that you were willing to complete your education in any form, according to MAU Workforce Solution’s marketing and communications specialist, Brett Yardley.

Adult Education

Most colleges and universities require students to have a high school diploma or a GED certificate. While people who earned their high school diploma are more likely to enter and finish college than those holding a GED certificate, those who do neither seldom enter a post-secondary institution. On-the-job training, trade school education and other adult educational opportunities may also require applicants to earn the GED certificate or high school diploma. If you complete college with an associate or higher degree, employers are not likely to care whether you earned a high school diploma or passed the GED test, according to Yardley.

Self-esteem

A GED certificate could boost your self-esteem. It indicates that you had the perseverance to finish your secondary education. It might communicate the same message to your employer and open the doors you thought were closed to you. Your GED certificate reveals that you can set a goal and achieve it, and that can give you the courage to pursue other educational or career goals and achieve them.

Head Start

Some teens opt for a GED certificate to jump-start their careers, electing not to finish high school so they can enter and finish college earlier than their peers, according to Maya Frost, author of "The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education." Getting your GED certificate at 16 to enter college and finishing several years ahead of your peers tells employers that you are truly motivated to succeed and that you are willing to find alternative ways to get things done.

About the Author

Rev. Kathryn Rateliff Barr has taught birth, parenting, vaccinations and alternative medicine classes since 1994. She is a pastoral family counselor and has parented birth, step, adopted and foster children. She holds bachelor's degrees in English and history from Centenary College of Louisiana. Studies include midwifery, naturopathy and other alternative therapies.

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