Q&A: Getting Your GED: Your Second Chance!

Answer: You can't--because the GED tests can't be taken online--anywhere. C. T. Turner, director of public affairs for the GED Testing Center, warns, "Anyone that claims to offer GED tests on line is a fraud, and is misusing our trademark."

The 5 separate GED tests, which require 7 hours to complete, serve as the official route to a high school equivalency credential. If you take a test on the Internet that claims to be the GED test, it's not a legitimate program. "I feel bad when people who need that GED credential for a job or promotion, especially in these difficult economic times, get taken in by a website that may charge $300 or more for a short test which isn't the real thing," Turner says. "Then, when they apply for a job, or for college admission, they find that fake credential isn't accepted."

But good news! More than 17 million people have earned their GED credential since the program began in 1942. Today, there are more than 3,400 accredited testing centers worldwide. To find them, go to http://www.gedtest.org/locator and enter your zip code. You'll get a list of all legitimate GED testing centers near you.

You can prepare for the GED tests at home, in a class or online. Here's how to check classes to verify they're accredited.

Go to http://www.gedtest.org/prep. When you click on the link for the GED Preparation Representative in your area, you'll find the name, email address, and phone number of a staff member who can help you. Contact that person, tell them what your goals are, and ask questions about preparation programs in your state. That way, you can be sure that your school or program is accredited -before you enroll.

"Most folks go to a state adult education program," says Turner, "and most of these programs are free, or have only a small fee for materials." The link above also offers sample test questions from GED and information on preparation books and videos.

GED Testing Service also suggests contacting colleges and employers to confirm they will accept your credential before you enroll in any classes. "Online programs may test different skills and knowledge than what colleges and universities require," Turner cautions. You can also contact the employer you want to work for, and ask if they will accept your credential (certificate or diploma) for employment. GED officials say that the GED credential is accepted by 98 percent of colleges and universities and 96 percent of employers as equivalent to a high school diploma for testing and employment.

Here's a good starting place to learn online about GED testing: http://www.acenet.edu/Content/NavigationMenu/ged/test/Intro_TestTaker.htm. Best wishes as you work towards getting your GED certification.



Jan teaches online courses for Harper College and traditional courses for Roosevelt University, and has been teaching in higher education for 20 years. She's also written seven books in a career series for young adults, and numerous articles about banking, workplace safety, and manufacturing processes. Jan has the MBA in marketing and the Master of Arts in Training and Development (MATD) degree with a concentration in e-learning. Her bachelor's degree is from Cornell University.