On the Fence About Getting a GED? It's a Must -- And Here's Why

If you haven't finished high school and are considering getting a GED, the benefits of getting your high school diploma equivalent far outweigh the time involved in achieving this goal. A high school diploma or equivalent is really essential in today's world, and can often make the difference in terms of your military prospects, employment, job security, positive self image and more. Read on for the most important reasons why getting your GED is a must -- not an option.

A high school diploma or GED is required to enlist in the Army.

If you are considering a career in the U.S. Army, you must meet minimum educational requirements for enlistment. These include a high school diploma or equivalent, which can be satisfied by getting your GED. So, this may be one of the most important factors in your decision to get your GED -- without it (or a high school diploma), the Army will simply not be an option for you.

Your employment prospects will be better with a GED.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that those with a high school diploma or equivalent are more likely to be employed and have better long-term job security that those without a high school diploma or GED. And getting a GED not only helps your employability -- it may also open doors to further training and education. You will need at least a GED to attend trade school, community college (or a university) and to take advantage of the skills and training benefits that you may receive by enlisting in the Army. All of these paths can lead to better long-term job security and allow you to contribute toward creating a more competitive U.S. economy.

Your earnings potential will be higher with a GED.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 2010 young adults with a high school diploma or equivalent (such as a GED) earned significantly more than those without this diploma: $29,900 per year (median income with high school diploma or equivalent) versus $21,000 (without). This difference is even more significant when you consider that having your high school diploma or GED opens the door to later obtaining an Associate's Degree (in 2010 young adults with this degree earned a median income of $37,000 per year) or Bachelor's Degree ($45,000 per year).

You can gain a sense of accomplishment in a short time with a GED.

Obtaining a GED need not be a huge time commitment. Studying for just a few hours each day in the month leading up to your test may be all you need for a passing score -- and the huge payoff of a sense of accomplishment and achievement. Completing this goal can contribute to your overall sense of self worth and higher self-esteem -- which in turn can have a positive impact on your whole life.

You can set a good example for your family with a GED.

Your children learn in part from your actions, so getting your high school diploma or equivalent is a great way to set a good educational example. The higher your education level, the more education your children may seek when they reach high school graduation age.

Obtaining a GED does not have to be difficult.

You can get started with a successful GED study plan and sign up to take the GED easily. Many test experts recommend studying for two hours a day for at least one month prior to taking the exam. You can also prepare with test prep books available at your local bookstore or library, as well as GED preparation courses offered (sometimes for free) by your state's Department of Education. Online GED test prep sites are also helpful and can get you started with practice questions and full practice tests. For example, you can find free practice questions and tests at www.4tests.com and www.test-guide.com. Also, keep in mind that if you are retaking the GED, you may not need to retake all sections. Depending on your state, if you previously took the GED after 2002 and passed some subjects, you may need to retake only the subjects that you did not pass. So, focus your studying on those subjects to maximize your efficiency.

To sign up to take the GED and to find GED testing locations, contact your state's Department of Education. Unfortunately, you cannot take the GED online, but your state likely has a location convenient for you.

Good luck!

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Army in my mind

I would love to