ged requirements

What Are The GED Requirements You Must Satisfy?

Each state has its own GED requirements, so it's critical to understand the rules and whether you're eligible to take the test. Let’s check it out!

Updated at October 24, 2022

A state-issued high school equivalency (HSE) diploma is the ideal way to demonstrate the skills and abilities required for a better job or more education for today’s 39 million U.S. individuals who did not graduate from high school. Each state has its own GED requirements, so it’s critical to understand the rules and whether you’re eligible to take the test.

In the following article, we will go over those GED requirements as well as how to obtain a GED.

ged requirements

GED requirements

The General Education Development Testing Service created and administers the GED (GEDTS). The GED is administered through a collaboration between GEDTS and local US states, Canadian provinces, and US territories.

GEDTS creates tests, establishes administration procedures, and establishes minimum test requirements and passing benchmarks. Local jurisdictions administer the test and award the high school diploma to adults who meet the eligibility requirements and pass the exams.

The GED requirements are summarized below. These are the bare minimum requirements set by the GEDTS. The requirements may differ depending on the state where you will take the exam.

You are not currently enrolled in high school

You cannot take the GED tests while still in high school. You must choose between a diploma and an equivalency, not both. GED testing occurs at the senior level of high school, so participants should make preparations carefully. Some states even require you to attend preparatory classes prior to taking the exam.

You never finished high school

If you possess a high school diploma, you do not require your equivalency diploma.

You are over the age of 18

Some states permit testing at younger ages, but you must not be younger than 16 years old. Those aged 16 to 18 are usually subject to additional requirements. This could involve official school withdrawal, permission from the previous school district, and parental consent.

Possible Extra Requirements

Some states require additional steps before you may pursue your GED. For instance, you may need to be a legal resident first. You may also be required to provide proof that you have been absent from school for a specified period of time.

You may be required to pass an official qualification test first, based on where you live. Some states also require examinees to take a formal practice exam. Before you can take the official test, you must score high enough to demonstrate that you are likely to pass it.

To obtain your GED in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Arizona, or Illinois, you must pass a Constitution test. Furthermore, in North Dakota, you must pass a Civics Test.

What Other Circumstances Apply to Test Candidates?

When a candidate has a high school diploma from an unaccredited high school or has been home-schooled, they may choose to take the test. These candidates are more likely to be accepted by colleges and employers if they have an official state credential.

Similarly, candidates who graduated from a non-U.S. high school are generally eligible to take the GED test or HiSET exam if they meet all other state and federal requirements. Often, a high school equivalency diploma is more readily accepted than a non-U.S. diploma. U.S. citizenship is not a requirement to take the test. Adults who aren’t U.S. citizens can take the test and earn a credential.

ged requirements

Applicants who finished high school from a non-US high school are also generally qualified to take the GED or HiSET exam if they satisfy all other state and federal requirements. A high school equivalency diploma is frequently accepted instead of a non-US diploma. It is not necessary to be a US citizen to take the test. Adults who are not citizens of the United States can take the exam and earn a credential.

Recap of GED Requirements

As previously stated, each local jurisdiction (whether a state, territory, or province) is free to set its own GED eligibility requirements as long as they satisfy the GEDTS basic standards (i.e., at least 16 years of age, not enrolled in high school and not a high school graduate). In practice, the vast majority of local regions have requirements that are very similar.

Most states, for example, require GED test takers to be at least 18 years old. This rule is commonly used to discourage students from leaving high school too soon. The reasoning is that if students believe they can drop out of high school at 16 and easily obtain a GED, there will be more high school dropouts.

Most states and territories will argue that dropping out of high school will harm a student’s employment prospects (along with other social implications), so they don’t want to encourage more high school dropouts.

Other requirements for taking the GED are less contentious. Current high school students and high school graduates are not permitted to take the GED test in any state, territory, or province.

Local testing authorities will also necessitate GED test takers to be residents of the area in which the GED credential is administered. Participants must present a valid form of identification, such as a current driving license, state-issued ID, military ID, or passport.

Test takers for the GED must also pay a testing fee. The payments will vary from state to state and may also vary by the local testing center. Fees may range from $50 to $150 and are frequently charged per test (e.g., $20 for each individual GED exam or $100 for all five exams).

GED requirements FAQs

What is the earliest age at which you can take the GED?

California has accepted the use of two high school equivalency tests (GED® and HiSET®) for students 18 and older, and 17 in some cases, in order to obtain a California High School Equivalency Certificate.

What is the cost of obtaining your GED?

Most states charge $30 per subject if the GED is taken at a GED test center, and $36 if the GED is taken online. Some states, however, charge only $20 for an in-person test at a testing facility and $36 for online testing. 

Is the GED accepted at Harvard?

Most colleges in the United States, including Ivy League schools like Harvard and Yale, accept a GED certificate in place of a high school diploma. GED diploma holders who have already earned some college credits can apply as first-year applicants or transfer students.

Can I get into medical school if I only have a GED?

To become a physician, you do not require a high school diploma or a GED. On medical school applications, AMCAS does not take the high school into account at all. Simply be accepted to a reputable university, complete all prerequisite classes with a VERY HIGH GPA, and perform well on the MCATs.

On this website, we offer thousands of free GED practice test questions to help you thoroughly prepare for this exam!