General Educational Development (GED)
General Educational Development (GED) is made up of five tests which certify that the taker has high school level academic skills as specified by the U.S. Department of Education.
The GED consists of five multiple-choice tests plus a timed essay test. The five subject areas covered by the GED are Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Reading, and Mathematics. Each area covers the material that high school students learn during that particular course of study.
To pass the GED Tests and earn a certificate, test takers must score higher than 40 percent of graduating high school seniors nationwide. The GED Tests are available in English and Spanish. Individuals who take the GED Test in Spanish must also successfully pass an English proficiency test.
Origin of the GED Test
The GED tests were originally created in the late 1940s to help World War II veterans obtain high school equivalency skills which may have been disrupted due to their service in the war. There are numerous reasons for GED recipients not having received a high school diploma. Some of the common reasons include immigration to the United States, home schooling, difficulty in passing mandatory achievement tests, leaving high school early due to a lack of interest, the need to work, personal or health problems, etc.
Famous GED Graduates
A number of famous people have taken the GED and gone on to make successful careers and lives for themselves. The GED honor roll includes such notable individuals as former ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas, actor Michael J. Fox, and Olympic Gold Medalist, Mary Lou, and actor and comedian Bill Cosby who not only earned his GED but also holds a Ph.D. in Education.
Why Get a GED?
With a GED, opportunities for job advancement or for new careers can open up. Many promising careers, like travel agent, human resources assistant, salesperson, or physical therapist aide, require a high school degree or GED. The armed forces now require a GED or high school diploma. GED graduates make an average of $385,000 more in their lifetime than people without a GED. That's a raise of $12,000 a year for most people.
The GED is most lucrative when it's a doorway to higher education at trade schools, community colleges, or universities. The average income for college graduates is $44,000, more than double the income of people who haven't graduated high school.