Obtaining a GED is an accomplishment. After all the preparation, studying and work that it took to obtain the General Education Diploma, it can be a surprise when you can’t track down that vital piece of paper. Keeping track of the GED diploma can be a challenge as situations arise, such as a move, job transfer, addition of children or spouse or other life-changing events.
Why a GED Is Needed
Once you have acquired a GED, it is a valuable commodity. Employers and admission officials may ask for your GED credentials long after you’ve laid down your pencil and passed the exam.
How to Verify a GED
The Department of Education in your state can verify your GED. It must be the state where you originally took and passed the GED. You will need the following to verify your GED with the state:
- Your date of birth
- The name that you used when you took the test, including abbreviations, middle initials, nickname or shortened first name. The same way that you signed your name when you registered is the name you will use when you ask to verify your GED in order to avoid any confusion.
Fees to Expect
When you contact the Department of Education in the state in which you originally tested, there may be a fee involved. Processing GEDs is a lot of work, and the fee can vary by state.
The Department of Education in the state from which you need to obtain your GED may not be able to take an electronic payment. Most of these state government institutions have traditionally required a check to be mailed and processed before they will turn over a GED test result. This can take three to five days. Expect to wait a week to receive your GED verification.
How to Track Down the GED
Aside from the Department of Education in the state in which you lived when you took the test, you can contact the testing center. The organization or testing center that administered your GED test may be able to get your GED certificate. At the very least, they will know the best way for you to get a copy of your GED. This can save you time and possibly money, as fees can add up.
Using the GED Website
Before scheduling the GED test, you should have had to officially register. The website GED.com offers a free account and has a wealth of resources that you can use before and after you take the test. From study guides and detailed practice tests to resources that help you replace a missing GED certificate, the GED.com site is a valuable source.
GED Process From Start to Finish
To get a GED, there are a few things to do before you sit down to take the test. You will need proof of residency with either a driver’s license, state ID card or Social Security card. You can only take the GED at certified exam centers. The nearly two-hour test gauges your understanding of basic skills you studied in high school.
The subjects on the GED include:
- Social studies
- Reading and writing
GED test scores will then be sent to the Department of Education in your state before they are sent out to the students. Check to see if your state’s Department of Education offers to send the GED directly to the college you hope to attend. Some colleges prefer to get a copy from an official GED test center or state department.
Overseas or Military Students
If you are out of the country, an international student, in the military or incarcerated, then be prepared to pay a fee and wait for the arrival of your diploma. The GED Testing Service allows for an online form to be filled out with a small fee attached. To get a copy of the GED after proving your identity through documentation, it can take 30 days to two months.
- As of Jan. 1, 2014, many state education departments transitioned to digital records, which means many don't send a hard copy of GED credentials anymore. Instead, you'll likely get a copy via email and digital file, which you'll be able to print out on your own. Some states, such as Ohio and New York, still provide hard copies, but you'll have to pay for these, as well.
- If you need a copy of your GED transcript to apply to college or to prove education for a job, you'll need to order your own copy. Most state departments of education only provide copies to individuals and not to schools or employers.
- Many state offices allow individuals to view their GED score results for free.
- It usually takes two to four weeks to receive a copy of your credentials.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.