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How to Earn Your Diploma While Getting Your GED

Earning a General Education Development (GED) and a post-secondary diploma at the same time can seem like an impossible task. After all, most mature students must balance their studies while working or taking care of family responsibilities. It’s not easy, but it is possible, however! 

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 16.7 million people aged 16 to 24 were not enrolled in high school as of October 2021. Education is a major factor in a person’s life experience; note the gap in salary between those with high school diplomas and bachelor’s degree holders. 

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For those who may not have gotten off on the right foot, it’s fortunate that there are ways to get your GED and a post-secondary diploma simultaneously.

How to Get Your Diploma While Earning Your GED

You can earn your diploma and GED simultaneously if you are a part of a special program in your state. Three types of programs can help you do this:

  • Ability-to-benefit (ATB) program: allows you to get your diploma if you don’t have the required English skills for the GED test. 
  • Dual credit program: gives students credit for their classes while taking the GED test. 
  • Completion program: allows students who have already passed the GED test to earn a diploma by taking additional classes.

Explore the Ability to Benefit Program

If you don’t have the required English skills to take the GED test because you are new to the US or didn’t get much reading practice growing up, you may be able to participate in an ATB program. This special program allows you to earn your diploma while taking classes that help you improve your reading, writing, and language skills. 

Your education coordinator or a career counselor can help determine if your state has an ATB program. The program may be open to recent immigrants or students who are behind in their reading and writing skills, or it may be limited to students diagnosed with special needs or a disability.

An ATB program can also help you better understand your state’s graduation requirements, so you are prepared to pass the GED test. 

Attend a GED Workshop

Many states have workshops that allow you to earn your diploma while taking the GED test. The GED workshop gives you the skills you would learn in a regular high school program.

You can take each subject test up to three times in a calendar year. While there’s no wait time between the test sessions, test takers must wait 60 days after the third attempt. 

Take Assessment Tests

Assessment tests can help you prepare for the GED test. These tests are designed to assess your academic skills, such as reading comprehension, critical thinking, and vocabulary, so you can improve in those areas before you take the GED test. 

They can also help you understand the requirements of your state’s graduation standards, so you are prepared to pass the GED test once you are ready. You can take several assessment tests, including the American College Test (ACT) and the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT). 

While you’re exploring the different ways to complete your GED, you can also look at the different options available to start earning your diploma. Most technical colleges have an Eligible Career Pathway Program (ECCP) that allows students without a high school diploma to enroll in their GED prep course and work towards a designated diploma program at the same time. 

Why Would You Want to Earn Your Diploma While Getting Your GED?

Earning your GED and diploma saves time and allows you to get started in your career sooner.

Earn Your Diploma 

Investing in your education by earning your diploma can pay off big in the future. You can earn your diploma and GED at the same time by participating in an ATB program, taking a GED workshop, or taking additional classes in a completion program—further increasing your chances of success. Whatever approach you take, plan accordingly so you have enough time to fulfill the requirements. When you receive your diploma, you will have another degree to add to your resume and LinkedIn profile to help you land more job offers and a higher salary.

Explore our Eligible Career Pathway Programs (ECPP) you can take while completing your GED. 

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