GED Vs. Online High School Diploma: Is there a difference?

Posted on March 06 2013

Educational credentials go a long way towards career growth. If you were not able to earn a high school diploma in your teens, it’s never too late. You may have been forced to leave high school because of the need to help with the family’s finances, or were pursuing an athletic, musical or showbiz career or for any other reason. You have a second chance (actually, two!) towards proving your academic ability: you can take the General Educational Development (GED) test or get an online high school diploma. These two work towards the same end – to help one become more prepared for life and more competitive in the workplace.

However, there are also differences between the two. If you are vacillating between taking the GED exams or earning your high school diploma through a virtual high school, here are some differences that may help your decide.

Who is eligible? What are the requirements if you want to earn your high school credentials? For a GED, you need to meet state requirements and should be older than 16. GED test takers are also those that are not currently enrolled in high school or have already finished high school. Meanwhile, an online high school diploma is available for all, regardless of age or personal circumstances. It may be the preference of someone who is of high school age. It is also available for those who are working, who already have families or have issues that prevent them from attending a traditional high school.

Achieving the credentials. The GED is a battery of tests that will look into one’s knowledge of five academic subjects. To pass, the test taker should receive a score that is higher than 60% of the scores of the current graduating seniors. Meanwhile, an online high school diploma is earned by earning the requisite amount of credited units. Thus, this makes it more rigid, requiring more time and effort as you not only take tests but also submit homework and participate in online group discussions. This is not to say that the GED is as easy. The battery of tests may be a challenge, since it will cover mathematics, science, writing, interpreting literature and social studies.

Continuing on to college. Community colleges usually accept a GED as equal to a high school diploma. There are also some gifted students who look at the GED as a way to zoom through high school if they know that they are able to pass these tests. However, there are some colleges that find a high school diploma more ideal. And since an online high school requires more academic work, someone who earns his diploma this way is more prepared for the academic challenges of college. There may also be some colleges that require you to take the SATs.

Employment. In today’s competitive environment, employers would naturally look for people who exert effort towards completing one’s education – be it through the GED route or through earning a high school diploma online. If given a choice, employers will choose someone who has the credentials than someone who doesn’t. This shows ambition, determination and self-motivation. Sadly, there is more of a stigma with GEDs when it comes to the workplace. However, this can be off-set by continuing on to college, where how you get your high school credentials become less of an issue.

Whether you decide to go with a GED or an online high school diploma, it is important that you use this credential as another stepping stone to further education. This will show potential employers that you have your eyes on the goal and that you are willing to do the required follow-through.