Differences Between GED and High School Diploma

Is GED Harder Than High School Diploma?

Earning a high school diploma is different from earning a GED equivalent. In this article, we will cover the differences between a high school diploma and GED and determine whether it is harder to get a GED than a high school diploma.


What does GED mean? GED means General Educational Development. GED examination is a choice for people who don’t have high school diplomas and aren’t able to complete online high school education. GED is recognized by a wide range of United States universities and colleges as proof that people have high school-level learning skills.

A High School Diploma

What is a high school diploma? In the United States, a high school diploma refers to an award that is conferred on students who have finished traditional or online classes in social studies, science, math, language arts, and other courses (grades 9-12).

What Does High School Diploma Equivalent Mean?

During job application, high school diploma or equivalent means that you either have a high school diploma or:

  • You own a (General Educational Development) GED certificate – This is a test about your aptitude in social studies, language arts, science, and math (it is similar to getting a high school diploma). Other alternatives to GED include TASC and HiSET.
  • You completed 12th grade in another nation.
  • You have an equivalency from an accredited school – Most accredited schools offer high school diploma equivalents.
  • You have an accredited homeschool certificate – The United States Department of Education recognizes some homeschool diplomas as high school diploma equivalents.

When is a High School Diploma or Equivalent Necessary?

An online high school diploma isn’t mandatory for job applications and college admission. There are numerous choices to advance your academics without a virtual high school diploma. Additionally, best-paying jobs do not need a high school diploma or equivalent.

  • Most traditional jobs require one to have a high school diploma at entry-levels. Nevertheless, many jobs do not have these requirements.
  • Many universities and universities need high school diplomas or their equivalents as part of their admission requirements.

What is a (General Educational Development) GED Test?

A General Educational Development (GED) is intended for people aged above 16 years who have not attained a high school diploma and are not presently enrolled in school. Additionally, a GED test can offer a graduation alternative for learners who want to graduate from high school early.

Unless you are being forced out of high school due to extreme situations, it certainly makes more sense to attain a high school diploma. All learners ought to meet school counselors prior to opting to leave school and chase the General Educational Development credential.

Format and Content of a GED Test

Even though the General Educational Development test requires little commitment as compared to a high school diploma, it is not educationally easier. GED test is graded using an equivalency scale that the present high school learners. In order to pass GED tests, students must perform on levels equivalent to or over 60% of high school seniors.

The GED tests consist of four test areas. It comprises the following four subjects:

  • Social studies (70 minutes)
  • Science (90 minutes)
  • Language arts reasoning (150 minutes)
  • Mathematical reasoning (115 minutes)

These four subjects don’t have to be taken at once; it’s possible to spread them out as required.

GED tests have short-form answers, multiple-choice, and extended response question-and-answer formats. People who want to do a GED test must prepare well. Online high schools provide online classes, and learners might also be necessitated to buy learning materials or get free practice questions and exams online. The other way of getting ready for the GED test is through GED online courses. Preparing for GED test may be done virtually, but tests have to be taken in a GED testing facility.

Online High School Diploma Vs. GED

GED Vs Diploma Pros and ConsAttaining an online high school diploma might more likely prepare learners for challenges they may experience in college. Nevertheless, attaining a GED credential does not imply that post-high school education is no longer a choice. According to the American Council on Education (ACE), the national association that oversees the GED examination, around 97% of United States universities and colleges accept the GED certificate in place of an online high school diploma.

On the other hand, learners who want to study abroad might find that a small number of international universities are ready to accept General Educational Development credentials. Learners who intend to enroll at post-high school learning institutions can reach out to admission departments to establish whether a high school diploma is needed for admission.

Is Getting a GED Harder Than High School?

Whether you find getting a General Educational Development (GED) or getting a high school diploma more challenging depends on your academic background and learning style. A high school diploma is in some ways easier to acquire if you are already in high school, as you receive support from educators as you learn and you are guided through the system; the General Educational Development (GED), on the other hand, is self-paced and can be a lot of learning. On the other hand, the GED contains less information and is typically less academically rigorous compared to high school examinations are.

Which is Better: A GED or High School Diploma?

In case you have been asking yourself, “What is better: a high school diploma or a GED?” you will need to consider your position prior to finding your answer. Attaining a General Educational Development (GED) credential is best for older people older than high school age as well as those who want to complete their high school faster. Nevertheless, there are numerous benefits of completing the K12 education system. In case you are able to complete high school, it will be advantageous to do so. If you can’t, pursuing a GED is definitely your best option.

GED Vs. High School Diploma Pros and Cons

Almost all higher learning institutions and employers accept a GED as the equivalency of a high school diploma. Here are the pros and cons of GED and high school diploma;

GED Pros and Cons of GED

  • GED only requires passing the four series of tests. Attending classes isn’t a requirement in many states.
  • The GED test has four subjects: Science, Math, Social Studies, and Language. It takes less time to attain a GED.
  •  Low costs when taking GED tests. Costs range between $80 to $250 depending on where you are taking the exams.
  • There is stigma that relates to GED.
  • It is hard to be eligible for military with a General Education Diploma (GED).

Pros and Cons of High School Diploma 

High School Diploma Equivalent

  • There is no exit examination in many states
  • You can attend an online high school at affordable costs
  • A high school diploma is crucial when enrolling in college or applying for an employment
  • You require to attend traditional or online classes so as to obtain credit

Regrettably, there are stigmas that relate to General Education Diploma (GED) diploma. The fact is that the GED examination tests skill and knowledge at a level that is equivalent to that of high school seniors.

Some forty percent of high school graduates wouldn’t pass the General Education Diploma (GED) examination at their initial attempt. Hence, stigmas aren’t fair, also since most successful individuals are graduates of GED.

However, some employees and colleges have expressed concerns that holders of high school diplomas are more reliable, motivated, and persistent compared to holders of GED diplomas. Additionally, there are some misconceptions in several professional environments regarding the level of the GED exam.

GED tests are extremely difficult currently, and graduates usually outperform high school students in university and college.

Across the United States, there are police departments that opt for high school graduates over holders of GED, and army branches opt for high school graduates over General Education Diploma (GED) holders.

Some employers fear that learners who did not complete their high school education show negligent behavior in the workplace. It might sound ridiculous, but it’s a factor that most employers consider when making decisions to hire new employees.


Currently, obtaining a high school diploma is much easier, thanks to the popularity of virtual high schools. When you get an accredited high school diploma, you’re well accepted and regarded by employers, universities, and colleges. Being a regionally accredited virtual high school, High School of America provides accredited online high school programs for high schoolers so as to secure their diplomas. Such virtual high schools have made educational settings to be more friendly to students, enabling them to pursue their talents with coursework. Hence, students do not struggle in their life.

Passing the General Educational Development (GED) exam just offers a student a certificate. Nevertheless, this certificate doesn’t is less valuable as compared to a real accredited high school diploma.

Resources and References: