A popular alternative, the General Education Development program, better known as the GED, is a standardized test equivalent to a high school diploma. The program first emerged after World War II, in order to provide educational opportunities for returning soldiers that previously dropped out of school to join the armed services. Today, this standardized test is managed by the American Council on Education (ACE) in partnership with Pearson, and includes four core areas - language arts, mathematical reasoning, social studies, and science. A passing score indicates that students demonstrate knowledge equal to that of a high school graduate.
While hard work is often key to entrepreneurial success, so too, is education. A high school diploma increases employability and job security. During periods of high unemployment, employers can be more selective about new hires, and dropouts have fewer job opportunities. Furthermore, students often need a high school diploma or GED in order to enroll in an accredited higher educational institution, and individuals that complete higher education typically have greater opportunities for advancement and earn higher salaries. In addition, students that return to school and complete a GED or diploma program most likely benefit from intangible benefits that also transfer to the workplace. These students gain self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. Employers recognize the commitment of such students that study hard and achieve a degree. In addition, adult students serve as role models for other adults, as well as their children.
Both public and private adult learning programs are available that provide diploma and GED tutoring opportunities. Community centers and vocational schools lend support to adult learners. Community and online colleges provide added resources for students that desire to earn high school credits. While the GED is a nationally recognized standard, adults, especially students that do not test well, may benefit more by completing a diploma program. Diploma programs require that students complete core subjects similar to those found in the GED test. Moreover, students learn valuable classroom skills, including time management, technology, and communication. In addition, participating in a classroom environment, be it on a campus or online, provides preparation for higher educational goals and some programs even transition into more specialized vocational programs.