Office 760-398-6302

Differences Between GED And High School Diploma For Adults At Work

So, you didn’t finish high school and you are now planning to get a High school Diploma or a GED to fulfill that credential slot in your resume. Let’s face it, there may be more than one empty check-box in your resume. You are wondering what to do. You think to yourself that perhaps you are too old to go back to school, maybe you should wing it and apply for those top jobs anyway. You have confidence in yourself and would much rather put in your hours at a paying job than reading for a GED test.


Well, erase those thoughts! You can still get your high school diploma or at least a High School Equivalency Certificate by going back to school. These days, there are several adults who are getting Adult High School Diplomas and enrolling in various GED programs. You have heard the saying that age is nothing but a number, and that saying does not ring truer when it comes to getting an education. As long as you have the will and determination, you can do anything you put your mind to.


Now, you are probably wondering, “I have a full-time job earning minimum wage to meet my current needs, where will I ever get the time to study and take tests?” Well, this article aims to guide you through making the decision about whether you should go back to a school that offers Adult High School Diploma such as Coachella Valley High School or you should just take the GED test.


GED vs. Adult Diploma

The General Education Development exam, popularly known as the GED test measures 5 basic areas of knowledge: writing, reading, math, science and social studies. It is set to test students on their high school education. Adult diplomas, commonly known as Adult High school Diploma is awarded to students who complete the classes they did not take while in high school. This program is offered in all states in the U.S. Here in California, it is offered in cities such as Palm Desert, Indio, Coachella, El Centro, La Quinta, Thousand Palms, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage, among other cities. The California Department of Education recognises the need for adult education and has provided High School Equivalency Exams such as the CAHSEE Exam and HiSET for people who did not attain their high school diplomas for one reason or another.

If you have only a couple of credits left to achieve your high school diploma, enrolling in an Adult High School Diploma program is the best choice. Otherwise, if you have a lot of credits left to complete, The GED may be the better choice.



To do the GED test, students do not have to enrol for classes. However, many chose to take GED programs to help them prepare for the test and perform better. GED courses can be taken online, during the weekends and evenings depending on what program the student chooses. In California, tests are offered depending on which city you are in. Cities such as Palm Springs, Mecca, Thermal, and others offer the exams at different times. GED programs can also be completed as an independent study at home. Adult diplomas, on the other hand, require you to enrol through local community colleges and public schools. Classes are normally offered at night and over the weekend although there are some programs available online. As an adult pursuing a high school credential, it is up to you to choose what program will fit into your current schedule.



Time Considerations

This is entirely dependent on the particular student. You may take a couple of weeks to study for the GED and take years to complete your high school diploma or vice versa. However, it usually takes little time to prepare for the GED test as compared to completing an adult diploma. For example, at Coachella Valley High School, it may take you a year or two to get your high school diploma depending on the diploma credit requirements. For some, it may take even a year to prepare for the GED. It all depends on where you left off your high school diploma and how much time you commit to studying for whichever program you choose. If you are working, it may be easier for you to read for your GED by yourself and take the test, rather than going to class. But again, it depends on your schedule.



Studies have shown that GED holders may not be viewed as favorably as high school diploma holders. Here are some interesting statistics to note:

  • Less than five percent of people with a GED, receive a bachelor’s degree, compared to 33% of high school diploma holders that do.
  • Seventy seven percent of GED holders don’t continue past the first semester of college
  • The military reports dropout rates for GED holders are forty five percent compared to twenty four percent of high school diploma holders.

There is a stigma associated with GED holders, where people say that diploma holders are more resilient to the pressures of undergraduate studies and eventually the workplace. However, a study done by the American Council on Education (ACE) showed that approximately 96% of U.S employers accept the GED as an equivalent to a high school diploma. If you are looking to advance in your career and do not have enough work experience under your belt, a high school diploma may be the way to go. This is not to say that GED holders cannot get jobs or promotions but the odds lean more towards high school graduates.


All these are considerations you should think about keenly before deciding what program to enroll in. Ask the advice of people who are senior to you in the workplace or who have gone through a similar situation. They just might give you the answer you need to make the right decision. Remember why you are going back to school: to better yourself.

Share This