Life throws us all curveballs and sometimes getting a traditional high school diploma is not possible. The American Council on Education or ACE offers the General Educational Development or GED examination as an equivalent to a high school diploma. Passing this test is important, because it can expand your employment opportunities, increase your wages and allow you to go to college.

Hourly Compensation

By earning your GED, you can expect to get paid nearly as much as a high school graduate. According to a study conducted by the American Council on Education, high school graduates earn about 3.5 percent more per hour than GED recipients. However, when you compare GED recipients to high school dropouts, the GED recipients earn nearly 12 percent more per hour than dropouts. If you take the time to get your GED instead of just dropping out of school, you can also expect to work more. A GED recipient works on average 28 hours per week, three more hours than a dropout, according to the ACE. More work equals more money.

Attending College

If you want to get a college degree, obtaining your GED is the first step in the process if you don't have a high school diploma. About 95 percent of U.S. colleges accept GED certificates in the same manner as high school diplomas, according to the ACE. Once you have passed the GED, you can sign up for the SAT or ACT test; most colleges require these standardized tests as part of the application process. Some colleges require GED recipients to take placement tests to determine if they need any additional coursework to help them succeed in college.

Satisfaction

Earning your GED can help you get a satisfying job. According to the ACE study, 63 percent of GED recipients reported that they liked their job very much or fairly well. Only 54 percent of high school dropouts could say the same about their jobs. Many people also decide to take the GED examination to improve personal satisfaction. Even if you do not need the diploma for employment reasons, many GED recipients feel a distinct sense of accomplishment upon completing their GED.

Fringe Benefits

In addition to enjoying your job more, getting your GED may help you gain more employment fringe benefits, such as medical insurance and retirement planning. According to the ACE survey, 69 percent of GED recipients received employer-provided benefits. Only 60 percent of high school dropouts reported that they received some sort of employee benefits.