The GED is a certificate or diploma from an accredited jurisdiction that certifies an adult has attained high-school-level knowledge despite not finishing his high school education. It is awarded to those who pass the GED test, created by the American Council of Education (ACE). The test must be taken on paper, in person, and can only be administered by approved facilities. Any company that claims to offer online GED testing or GED credentialing is a scam. Several nonprofit organizations, however, do offer excellent free or low-cost online classes to help you prepare for the GED test.

GED-i Online

GED-i is a distance learning program commissioned by the state of Illinois and sponsored by Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington to help adult learners in these states prepare for their GED testing. It is administered by local school boards, churches, libraries and colleges in each of these states. The website provides a basic tour of the program, but you must be enrolled as an adult learning student with an approved provider to gain full access. Contact the literacy hotlines in each state for referrals to local program providers: Illinois Adult Learning Hotline (800) 321-9511, Maryland Adult Literacy Resource Center (888) 464-3346, Minnesota Literacy Hotline (800) 222-1990, and Washington Literacy NOW (888) 444-5744.

PBS LiteracyLink

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in partnership with National Center for Adult Literacy, Kentucky Department of Education and Kentucky Educational Television (KET) created the LiteracyLink program to offer a variety of videos, pretests, workbooks and online learning options for preparing for the GED. To use the PreGED/GED Connection online program, register—at no charge—on the LiteracyLink.com website. Then log in and proceed through each of the learning modules, beginning with an initial test that will help you determine the areas of study to concentrate on.

Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County

The Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County (LVMC) in Phoenix, Arizona, offer a free online GED preparation program. Eligibility is based solely on residency and participants are required to bring a driver’s license or other form of identification proving residency to the mandatory three-hour orientation. Orientation classes are limited to 30 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Contact the organization at (602) 274-3430 for upcoming registration dates.

Free-Ed.Net

Free-Ed.Net offers a free, guided online GED preparation course with 74 units covering math, social studies, science, literature and grammar. Classes start the first Sunday of each month and require preregistration. This program is technically a GED and College Prep program, and it is designed to take approximately two years to complete with the goal of helping students prepare for and take the GED test and then continue on to prepare for college entrance exams. It is taught in an online classroom environment, and students should be prepared to interact with other students including group assignments and discussions.