GED Certificate and Diploma Overviews

A GED certificate is earned by taking the GED at a registered testing center. Registration requirements vary by state, but most states share a few common requirements.

GED Certificate Information

The General Educational Development (GED) exam is available through the American Council on Education (ACE). While state boards of education are responsible for administering the GED, the ACE develops, delivers and safeguards the test.

Earning a GED Certificate

About the Test

A GED certificate is awarded after passing the GED exam. Passing scores for this test are 145 on each of the four sections and 580 overall. The certificate is called a ''Certificate of General Educational Development,'' or something similar; each state has its own title. The GED exam is administered by state educational boards and tests the educational skills that should be demonstrable by a high school graduate.

More than 20 million people have earned their high school credential by taking the GED exam, according the GED Testing Service.

The test is never administered online; it must always be taken in person. There are thousands of registered testing sites throughout the United States. These sites can be searched by inputting a zip code on the Pearson VUE website or through your MyGED account.


Eligibility requirements vary by state; however, some requirements are shared by nearly all states. They include the following:

  • The test taker must not be a high school graduate
  • The test taker must be over 16 years of age on the day of the exam
  • The test taker must have not been enrolled in high school for a specified amount of time

Those interested in taking the GED are encouraged to contact a local testing center to find out more about its specific testing requirements before taking the exam.

Exam Content

The GED test battery consists of four sections, which include social studies, mathematical reasoning, science, and reasoning through language arts. While most questions are multiple choice, there are also other types of questions called alternative format questions. Alternative format questions ask testers to perform various types of tasks, such as plotting mathematical information on a grid. You are given between 70 and 150 minutes to complete each of the four sections of the test, and each section is taken in succession.

Why Get Your GED?

A GED is a credential that is equivalent to a high school diploma. The GED is recognized in all 50 states, shows a potential employer you are job-ready, and opens up opportunities with college. You may also earn more with a GED. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, individuals with a high school diploma experience less unemployment and higher earnings than those who do not have a diploma.

Need help preparing for the GED? Check out's GED Test Prep study guides, complete with bite-size video lessons, practice tests, informational resources, and more to make sure you ace the exam!

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