What You Need to Know About the GED

Most employers and almost all colleges require you to have a high school diploma. If you did not finish high school or failed to obtain your high school diploma for any reason, the alternative is to get a General Equivalency Development (GED) certificate. To get this certificate, you would need to pass a test that covers five major subjects: Language arts for reading and writing, science, social studies, and mathematics.

The test is available in all 50 states, the U.S. territories, the District of Columbia, and most provinces and territories in Canada. Over 500,000 people take the test every year and it is considered the same as a high school diploma in the employment marketplace and at secondary schools.

To qualify to take the test, you must be at least 17 years of age and a resident of the state where you will take the test. Some states allow you to take the test at age 16 if you submit a waiver. The test is for anyone that had to leave school because of illness, pregnancy, incarceration, parental problems, and other issues. You must have been out of school for a minimum of one year.

The GED test comes in a number of languages including English, Spanish, and French. It is also available in large-print, Braille, and an audio version for those with visual disabilities. Most testing centers will also make accommodations for people with physical challenges. It is best to call the testing center in your area for more information about these special accommodations and GED testing.