How Getting Your GED Can Help Your Career

Although the high school graduation rate in Florida has increased from 59.2% to 90.0% between 2003-2004 and 2019-2020[1], some students still need to leave school before earning their diplomas. If that was the case for you, you might be wondering if it’s worthwhile to earn an adult high school diploma or a GED.

Getting your GED, no matter how old you are, has many benefits. It can give your career a boost and make you feel accomplished. Learn more about the benefits of getting your diploma and how to do it.

A GED Opens up Job Opportunities

Earning a diploma or GED means that you have more options when it comes to finding work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has identified 103 occupations that don’t require a person to have any educational credential[2]. That’s less than one-third of the number of occupations that require at least a high school diploma or equivalent.

The jobs available to people who haven’t yet earned a diploma are limited. The BLS reports that the occupation with the greatest demand for workers who don’t have a diploma will be fast food and counter workers. It anticipates that there will be slightly more than 800,000 job openings for fast food workers per year between 2019 and 2029. Other occupations that are available to people without a diploma include:

  • Cashier
  • Server
  • Housecleaner
  • Stock mover or laborer
  • Janitor

Many of the occupations that don’t require formal education also don’t pay very well. The occupations listed above have median annual earnings under $25,000.

Once a person earns a diploma or GED, a wider range of occupations becomes possible. With the wider selection also comes a higher earnings opportunity:

  • Receptionist or office clerk
  • Maintenance and repair worker
  • Customer service representative
  • Home health aide
  • Security guard

A GED Opens up Educational Opportunities

Enrolling in an adult school program and earning a GED or adult high school diploma can pave the way to more educational opportunities. You might also need a diploma or the equivalent to participate in an apprenticeship program.

If one of your goals is to go to college, earning either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree, earning a diploma or GED is the first step to take.

A GED Can Mean Less Unemployment and More Earnings

The BLS has some sobering statistics concerning workers who don’t have a diploma or GED. The highest unemployment rates are among people who have “less than a high school diploma.” In 2020, the unemployment rate was 11.7% for people without a diploma[3].

The unemployment rate was 9% for people with a diploma and 8.3% for people with some post-secondary education.

Unemployment rates are lower for people with higher levels of education. The more education a person has, the more they are earning. In 2020, the median weekly earnings for people with less than a high diploma were $619. Those who had a diploma but hadn’t gone to college had median earnings of $781, and those who had some college had median earnings of $877.

How to Get Your GED

It’s never too late to enroll in an adult diploma program or to earn your GED. To earn a GED, you need to pass an exam that covers concepts a student would typically learn in a four-year high school program.

The GED exam consists of four separate tests:

  • Language Arts
  • Science
  • Mathematical Reasoning
  • Social Studies

To pass the exam, you need to earn a score of at least 145.

What is Adult High School?

Adult high school gives students who are at least age 16 and who are not enrolled in high school an opportunity to earn a standard high school diploma. To earn their diploma, students enrolled in a high school diploma program for adults need to meet the same requirement as students enrolled in a traditional high school program.

Students need to complete 18 to 24 credits, depending on the type of program they are enrolled in. They also need to maintain a GPA of at least 2.0.

Orange Technical College offers adult education programs (GED, ESOL) across all campuses. Some of the program’s courses are held online, but students need to visit campus to enroll and for class.

Getting a GED or adult high school diploma can be the first step you take toward a better-paying and more fulfilling career. To get started, learn more about the steps to enrollment at Orange Technical College.


  1. “Florida High School Graduation Rate”, Florida Department of Education,
  2. “Education Level and Predicted Openings”, 2019-2029, Bureau of Labor Statistics,
  3. “Education Pays”, Bureau of Labor Statistics,