Many people are asking: just what is a GED certificate? With so many different definitions, that question can be tricky to answer. Let us help you figure it out!
History of the GED
GED stands for General Educational Development. It refers to a series of test originally developed in 1942. Back when a high school diploma was sufficient for many jobs, most test-takers took the GED test for employment reasons. Passing the GED meant you were prepared for many entry-level positions.
Since then, the GED has been updated to reflect changes in both education and the job-market. Subject tests were added (or deleted) and changes were made to test questions. The current GED test is aligned with high school standards as well as career/college-readiness expectations.
Common GED Terms
When people talk about the GED, you may hear different terms used to describe the same thing. It can all get very confusing. Here is the break down:
GED Certificate / Diploma
You will often find the terms used interchangeably because a GED certificate and diploma are the same thing. Once you pass the GED subject tests, you earn a GED Certificate, or diploma. An official GED certificate can only be ordered online through GED testing services.
- GED Certificates are issued by the state in which you took the test. Your GED certificate features a state seal, date of completion, your name and a signature from your state’s Superintendent of Education.
Once you have taken and successfully passed all four GED subject tests, you earn a GED credential. Think of the credential as more of an achieved “status” and less of an actual object. You tell future colleges or employers you have a GED credential, but you can’t send it to them in the mail.
Transcripts are official records containing your GED testing history. Order transcripts online through your MyGED account. Transcripts may be sent directly to college admission offices, or even employers who want to look at your academic achievements.
GED Test Scores
You are given a GED test score after each subject test you take. Test scores are kept online in your MyGED account and can be accessed for as long as your account is active. You can print copies of your test scores at any time. These are unofficial copies of your GED testing history.
The GED is a high school equivalency exam. When you hear “GED equivalency,” it refers to someone or something that is at the same level as a high school graduating senior.
- Like the GED credential, people use this term to describe the successful completion of GED tests, not an actual certificate. You earn your GED equivalency, but you can’t hang it on your wall.