A GED diploma can make a world of difference toward future success.

Passing the General Educational Development test gives millions of Americans the chance to demonstrate competency of high school curriculum and earn their diplomas. According to Armando Diaz of the GED Testing Service, some 700,000 people take the GED annually, and almost three-quarters of them pass and earn their state’s high school equivalency credential. The GED enables students of any age to reach a higher platform of educational achievement and gain numerous personal, financial and social benefits.

Improved Employment Opportunities

Since many employers will not hire candidates without a high school diploma, a very tangible reward of the GED is employment. For young people entering the workforce for the first time, the GED certification assures future employers that the employee has attained a certain level of competency. For older adults, the GED may allow then to move to a better paying, more secure workplace position. In a study conducted through the Colorado Department of Education, 48 percent of respondents indicated that the GED had resulted in a positive change to their employment status, including job advancement.

Higher Education

The GED is often a first step toward higher education and is accepted at most U.S. colleges. Students with GEDs can apply to vocational, technical, two-year and four-year postsecondary schools. They can also enlist in most branches of the military. However, hopeful college students or armed forces members may be required to take achievement tests or provide additional academic credits before acceptance. In Massachusetts, more than 60 percent of people taking the GED have plans to further their education, according to the Massachusetts Department of Education.

Financial Reward

Because the GED sets the wheel in motion to future achievement academically and financially, GED-holders have more future earning potential throughout their lifetimes. In the Colorado study, more than 40 percent of respondents “reported at least one positive change in their personal finances since passing the GED tests.”

Upward Mobility

Hand-in-hand with financial stability come the benefits of a healthy bank account and good credit. Students who obtain their GED certificates are generally more likely to move to better neighborhoods and to become homeowners.

Civic Responsibility

GED holders are also more likely than their less educated peers to become actively involved in their community, serving on committees and as role models to others. In the Colorado study, more than 75 percent of those who earned their GEDs reported an “increased participation in education and cultural activities” after obtaining their GED. This community involvement offers intrinsic reward to the giver and more measurable benefit to the community.