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Eligibility and Requirements for the GED Test

What you have to do (or not do) to be able to take a GED test.
by Leonard Williams

For today’s 34 to 38 million adults in the US who didn’t graduate from high school, the GED credential is the best available ‘diploma’ to demonstrate skills and proficiency levels that are necessary to progress in education or career.

Developed in 1942, the first GED Tests were designed to help military veterans finish their basic education. Military service members are still eligible for the General Education Development test. However, the GED credential is awarded to others who can pass the full test series that measures academic knowledge and proficiency in science, social studies, math, reading and writing.

Who’s eligible to take the GED test?

* You aren’t currently enrolled in high school;
* You haven’t graduated from high school;
* You are at least 16 years old or older; and
* You meet state, provincial, or territorial requirements regarding age, residency, and the length of time since leaving school.

What other circumstances apply to GED test candidates?

* Some candidates elect to take the test when they have a high school diploma from an unaccredited high school or they’ve been home-schooled.
* Candidates who graduated from a non-US high school are eligible to take the GED test if they meet all other state and federal requirements.
* US citizenship is not a requirement to take the GED test.

Is the GED test given online?

No, the GED is not available online. The GED is administered by the American Council of Education, which oversees and monitors GED testing regulations and the tests. Official GED tests are ONLY given at designated test centers throughout the U.S., U.S. Territories and Canada. To locate official testing centers, visit

What makes a GED credential equivalent to a high school diploma?

The GED test is a rigorous 7.5-hour exam, equal to or exceeding high school proficiency. Tests are standardized and normed using a national random sample of graduating high school seniors. To pass the GED tests, a candidate must demonstrate a level of skill that meets or exceeds that demonstrated by 60% of graduating high school seniors. This means that 40% of graduating high school seniors wouldn’t pass the GED tests.

Approximately 97 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S., and 95 percent of employers accept the GED credential.

More GED Resources:

- Free resources and information on GED testing, official testing sites, financial aid and student support are available at The website also provides links to federal agencies and nonprofits that serve GED students, instructors and workforce development programs.

- The American Council on Education and most local libraries and community colleges will also have additional resources designed specifically for GED students and adult learners.

Author's info/links:
About the Author: Leonard Williams, an e-learning instructor with, is also a curriculum specialist who focuses on research and development, implementation and assessment of best-practice learning solutions for adult learners and people with educational challenges. Leonard’s email is He invites feedback and questions from GED students and instructors.

Written by: Leonard Williams
10 July 2008

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