GED Requirements Overview
The GED is intended to measure a students academic abilities in relation to a typical high school graduate. Hundreds of thousands of test takers each year earn their GED credential to help them get a better job, go to college or improve their life.
Each state, territory or province sets their own GED requirements as long as they meet the minimum set of requirements as specified by the GED testing service.
Summary: Learn about the GED requirements and see if you are eligible to take earn your GED.
GED Testing Service Minimum Requirements
The GED is developed and administered by the General Education Development Testing Service (GEDTS) which is a nonprofit department of the American Council on Education. The GED is administered via a partnership between GEDTS and the local U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and various U.S. Territories.
GEDTS develops the tests, sets the administration procedures, specifies minimum test requirements and passing standards. The local jurisdictions deliver the test and award the high school credential to adults who meet eligibility standards and pass the tests.
Minimum GED Requirements
Listed below are the minimum requirements for taking the GED. These requirements are the bare minimum which are set by the GEDTS. Requirements may vary depending on the state in which you will be taking your GED.
- Student must not currently be enrolled in high school
- Student must not have graduated from high school
- Student must be at least 16 years old
- Student must meet jurisdictional requirements regarding residency, age, and length of time since leaving high school.
GED State Requirements
Each state has its own GED eligibility requirements. For example, some states may require a test-taker to be at least 18 years old before sitting for the GED exam. Review the table below for more information.
In the past, you were only able to take the GED exam at an in-person testing site. However, now you can take the exam online (if your state allows it).
|State or Territory||GED Test Offered||Online GED Test Offered||Minimum Age|
|District of Columbia||Yes||Yes||18+|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Yes||Yes||18+|
What are the requirements for taking the GED test?
As mentioned above, each local jurisdiction (whether a state, territory or province) is allowed to set their own requirements for GED eligibility as long as they meet the GEDTS minimum standards (i.e., at least 16 years of age, not enrolled in high school and not a high school graduate). In practice the vast majority of the local regions have very similar requirements.
For example, most states require a GED test taker to be 18 years of age. This rule is often intended to discourage students from dropping out of high school early. The reasoning is: if students feel that they can drop out of high school at 16 and easily get a GED, then more high school dropouts will occur.
Most jurisdictions will argue that dropping out of high school will have an adverse impact on a students career prospects (as well as other social implications) so they do not want to do anything to encourage more high school drop outs.
The other requirements for taking a GED are less controversial. All states, territories, and provinces do not allow current high school students or high school graduates to take the GED test.
Local testing authorities will also require GED test takers to be a resident of the area that is administering the GED credential. Test takers will have to supply a valid form of ID, such as a current driver's license, state issued ID, military ID or passport.
GED test takers are also required to pay a testing fee. The fees will differ from state to state and can also vary by local testing center. Fees can range from $50 to $150 and are sometimes charged on an individual test basis (e.g., $20 per individual GED exam or $100 for all 5 exams).