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Life After the GED: I Passed! Now What?

Congratulations on passing the GED! The high school equivalency credential that you've just earned can open up many professional and educational opportunities. Read on for ideas on where to go from here.

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Completing the GED: The Next Step

Passing the General Educational Development (GED) exam is a true accomplishment. According to GED Testing Service, the organization that manages the GED, the test is designed to show that you have the academic skills demonstrated by 60% of high school seniors.

Successful completion of the exam means you've earned a high school equivalency credential, which reflects a similar (but not identical) level of academic achievement compared to a high school diploma. In order to use this credential, you need to obtain a copy of your GED transcript. For people who took the test in the U.S. or Canada, this can be acquired by contacting your original testing center. Military personnel, test takers in correctional facilities and individuals who took the exam overseas can request a copy via the GED Testing Service transcript request form.

Once you have a copy of your transcript, there are two main ways you can take advantage of your new credential - you can pursue postsecondary education or advance in your career.

College

Some of the many reasons to pursue a college degree include increased career opportunities and better earning potential. Although your new credential doesn't guarantee college admission, it can open doors: According to GED Testing Service, over 95% of colleges and universities accept the GED transcript in lieu of a high school diploma for admission.

If you're considering postsecondary study, you'll first want to decide on your long-term goals. If you have a career in mind, find out what the typical educational requirements are, including specific subject areas and advanced degrees. For example, most states allow you to become a registered nurse with just an associate's degree in nursing, but you'll eventually need a master's degree in the field to become a nurse practitioner.

Once you've determined the degree path that meets your goals, look for local schools that offer relevant opportunities. If you're unsure what you want to do in the long run, consider starting with a local 2-year institution. Most community colleges offer lower tuition and convenient locations. Earning an associate's degree can also reduce the time and cost required to earn a bachelor's degree should you eventually transfer to a 4-year college or university.

Career

Passing the GED can also help you advance your career. Even if you aren't interested in pursuing long-term postsecondary education, your new credential can help you access professional training programs at community colleges and vocational schools.

Your GED transcript can also help you get through the door at a new job or advance within your current company. GED Testing Service reports that 96% of employers accept the high school equivalency credential for hiring eligibility.

If you are currently looking for work, be sure to include your new credential on your resume. There are many services available to adults who are looking for a job. First, contact the career services center at the institution at which you took the GED exam. If the testing center doesn't offer services, stop by your city library or look up your local workforce development office for assistance.

If you're happy with your current company, ask your boss to meet with you. Tell him or her about your recent achievement and find out if it opens up any new opportunities for you within the company. You may not be offered a promotion right away, but your GED credential could qualify you to apply for another position at the appropriate time.

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