GED/HSED certificate programs

Program basics

  • General Education Development (GED) certificates are awarded on successful completion of a series of tests that gauge the individual’s general knowledge of high school subjects such as math, reading. and science
  • The GED provides individuals who lack a high school degree with an equivalent credential
  • Benefits include improved job market prospects and access to postsecondary education among others
  • Testing programs may also include tutoring, counseling, and social services

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Strong (second-highest tier)

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Strong (second-highest tier)

Ranked as having the second-highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps


Target population

Low- and moderate-income adults

Program cost

Not available

Implementation locations

  • Nationwide

Dates active

Not available

Outcomes and impact

  • Increased earnings and earnings potential
  • Reduced recidivism
  • Increased employment
  • Career-focused GED programs with nonacademic support, as well as comprehensive curricula, tend to have more robust effects

Keys to successful implementation

  • Note: This content is under review
  • Programs that use more rigorous college and career readiness curricula may be more likely to encourage participants to continue on to post-secondary education and training.
  • Open enrollment systems encourage greater participation, allowing new students to enter classes on a weekly or even daily basis.
  • Instructors need materials and resources to build strong and coherent lesson plans and professional development to support their effectiveness.

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