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The True Cost of Getting a GED

June 9th, 2022
A person sitting at a table putting a coin in a piggy bank

In the United States, the GED (General Education Development) certificate is supposed to be the equivalent of a High School Diploma. BUT, the GED is not always regarded the same as a high school diploma. There are some perception issues that can impact GED certificate holders. It is not always accepted as equal. I’ll explain why later on. 

For those that dropout of high school early, getting a GED can be an appealing route. The GED testing service gives test takers the flexibility to study on their own and take the exam when they are ready. For those that can learn on their own, it’s a simple way to get the  equivalent of a  high school diploma. It can also satisfy the requirement that some colleges and trade schools have for enrollment. However, those that seek out a GED should be aware of the true costs of going for a GED instead of a diploma.

The High School Experience

High school life is a special time and can be an amazing experience for young adults. There are high school events like sports games, drama performances, music performances, art exhibitions, science exhibitions, dances, and more. More importantly, is the day-to-day interaction with other students.

Let’s be real, not all the interactions with other students are positive. People have plenty of bad experiences in high school but, there can also be a lot of good. Hopefully, most people will have good experiences that will get them through the bad experiences.

While high school can be challenging, because of the people aspect. It can be a period of growth and maturity. You will learn there are people you get along with and people you don’t. You will run into this issue when you’re working a job too. Either way, you need to learn to work with all types of people and when you do, you will be more prepared for life after high school.

Preparation for the Future

High school is the last stop before college and taking advantage of what it has to offer will make you more prepared for the future, whatever that may be. The goal of high school is to give you the foundational knowledge and skills you need to be successful in college and your adult life. That’s why you’ll be given what feels like endless amounts of homework.

Learning to manage your school work load and outside commitments can be a challenge, at first. There will probably be sleepless nights or weekends at home studying and finishing essays.  Through hard work, you will learn how to deal with studying and homework. This process makes you more prepared for college and the types of jobs that will pay you more.

Actual Costs

There are some actual costs to getting a GED. When you first start, you must pay $6.99 for all four practice tests. Plus, the test itself is around $164, if taken online or $140 in-person, depending on what state you are in. There are four tests you must take are Mathematical Reasoning, Reasoning through Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. If you’re in Arizona, you must also take the Arizona Civics test, an additional $35.

If you decide that you need help with the exam, there may be classes you can take at a local adult education center. For those that are not close to an adult education center, there is an online GED preparation service called GED+. The GED+ service costs $389 for all subjects or $119 for a single subject. Although, it can be a useful tool in getting your GED.

Potential Loss of Income

The most distressing part about getting a GED is that it’s technically the high school diploma equivalent, but it is not looked at the same by all potential employers. The military, in particular, regards GED holders differently and they are accepted as tier-two recruits.

While it is certainly better to have a GED than no high school diploma at all, it can cause you to get paid less than high school graduates. US Census data has shown that the mean monthly pay for those with a high school diploma is $4,700 while those with a GED certificate earn about $3,100 monthly. This is a difference of $19,000 per year.

Based on this information, we are not suggesting that a GED shouldn’t be pursued. It can be a necessary option for some, depending on your circumstances. Yet, if you do need to get a high school diploma, we can help you get your high school diploma at any age.

In Arizona, Grad Solutions offers young adults ages 16-21 the opportunity to get a high school diploma at no cost. You can study online, on your schedule, and will not leave you hanging when you need help.

If you are outside of Arizona or are over the age of 22, the Smart Schools online program can give you the opportunity to get your high school diploma on your schedule.

Sources

GED Recipients Have Lower Earnings, are Less Likely to Enter College

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