What Does A High School Diploma Or Equivalent Mean?

A high school diploma or equivalent is a valuable and essential asset on one’s resume, as it demonstrates a person has achieved a specific educational accomplishment.

It is important to understand the requirements for achieving such an educational milestone and what it means in terms of potential job prospects and other opportunities. This article will examine what a high school diploma or equivalent is, and how it can help open doors for success.

What is High School Diploma?

The phrase “High School Diploma or Equivalent Required” can be found in many job postings from employers or employment agencies. What exactly does that imply? A high school diploma is an academic school-leaving certificate issued to students who have completed high school.

A four-year course of study, from grade 9 to grade 12, is usually required to acquire a high school diploma. 

You have either a high school diploma or a high school equivalence if you have a high school diploma or a high school equivalency (HSE). Put another way, the applicant must have completed high school and received a diploma (in the United States, grade 12) or hold a high school equivalency (HSE) credential.

Both certificates are basic certifications that open numerous doors: a high school diploma or an HSE is required for many jobs and internships. Furthermore, persons with a diploma or equivalency earn more than those without! 

The school awards the diploma in compliance with the local state or provincial government’s standards. The prerequisites for getting the diploma vary by jurisdiction, and different streams or levels of high school graduation may have varying requirements. 

They usually consist of a combination of selected coursework that meets specific standards for a particular stream and passing scores on the state exit test. There are a variety of options for completing secondary education.

Students can also earn a high school equivalency certificate or diploma (depending on the state) that certifies that they passed an exam that assesses academic proficiency and abilities at the level of graduating high school seniors. 

The passing standards on all three HSE tests (GED, HiSET, and TASC) are set so high that over 40% of all high school graduates will fail the exams on their first attempt. The acronyms GED, HiSET, and TASC stand for General Educational Development, High School Equivalency Test, and Test Assessing Secondary Completion, respectively. 

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What Do Employers Mean by High School Diploma or Equivalent?

Employers’ definition in their job applications may vary from the legal definition. A looser description of “High School Diploma or Equivalent” would include the following cases:  

  • You own a high school diploma. 
  • You completed 12th grade in another country. 
  • You have an equivalency from an accredited institution – Many accredited institutions
    (including some from the National Private School Accrediting Alliance) issue high school diploma equivalents. 
  • You have an accredited home-school certificate – The U.S. Department of Education
    recognizes some home-school diplomas as high school diploma equivalents. 
  • You own a General Education Development certificate (GED) – a test about your aptitude in math, science, language arts, and social studies (it’s just like getting a high school diploma). Other alternatives to GED include HiSET and TASC. 

Is a High School Diploma a Must For College Admissions And Job Applications?

There are numerous ways to continue your education without obtaining a high school diploma. A “high school diploma or equivalent” is also not required for many well-paying positions.

At the starting level, many traditional jobs require a high school diploma or equivalent. Many jobs, however, do not have such prerequisites. 

Most colleges and universities demand a high school diploma or equivalent as part of the admissions process. School is an important component of the life of the majority of Americans aged 5 to 18. They usually follow the typical path of going from elementary through high school. After that, they’ll have to pick whether they want to go into the workforce or to college, and kids have many options. 

However, a growing number of kids are choosing to drop out of high school early for a variety of reasons. They may need to work to help pay the bills, others may have started a family, and for others, school does not appear to be the best option at the time.

This, however, does not have to be the end. Students who drop out of high school without receiving a diploma can always return to finish their studies. 

They can later take the GED, HiSET, or TASC examinations to receive their state’s high school equivalency (HSE) diploma. The GED exam is now offered online, and you may learn more about the HiSET-at-Home option by researching online.

Over 8.5 million Americans aged 25 and up, according to the US Census Bureau, have a GED diploma or something equivalent. Wouldn’t you agree that this clearly indicates that the HSE path is quite popular in America? 

This also means that the HSE program allows businesses access to a much larger pool of bright job seekers than just high school graduates, even if GED graduates may come from backgrounds that don’t quite fit the standard educational model.

Employers in America increasingly think the same way about job applicants with a GED credential rather than a traditional high school diploma on their résumé. 

The vast majority of companies, government organizations, and post-secondary educational institutions across the country recognize and accept the High School Equivalency diploma in place of a conventional high school diploma. 

Can a GED Impact Your Career?

However, there are some professions where it does make a difference, the most notable of which is the United States military. Traditional high school graduates are preferred over GED graduates by all US military branches.

However, the main distinction is between those who completed secondary education (high school or GED) and those who did not. Completing a secondary education program increases your chances of landing a well-paying career. 

Those with high school graduation or a GED can expect to earn at least $9,600 more per year than those who did not complete secondary school. You can take the four modules of the GED exam one at a time, and understanding which subtest to take first is crucial.

As a result, obtaining a GED diploma is better than having no high school diploma. And, once again, most businesses regard a GED and a high school diploma to be similar in terms of educational qualifications. 

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The Importance of Continuing Your Education

You can also continue your college studies after earning your high school equivalency diploma. Almost all firms have raised their educational requirements, including for entry-level positions, and an increasing number of positions now demand candidates to have a college certificate or degree. 

Your GED, on the other hand, is a stepping stone to higher education. Pass the GED exam in the “College-Ready” or “College-Ready PLUS Credit” categories (165-174 and 175-200, respectively). You may be eligible to enroll in the credit-bearing college-level curriculum without having to submit sufficient SAT/ACT scores or take additional remedial programs. 

Employers don’t care how you finished high school because it makes no difference to them. They only care if you went on to acquire a college diploma or completed a skills-based training program effectively. 

What Does It Mean To Have “Equivalent Experience”?

Employers can refer to either professional experience instead of schooling requirements, or non-paid experiences, such as volunteer or intern work experience, when they use language like “comparable experience” in their job advertisements. 

Paid job experience in that field or a comparable field and unpaid experiences such as internships, volunteer work, or other designated activities are examples of equivalent experience.

You can be considered for a position even if you don’t have a high school diploma or equivalent or if you don’t have a college degree or certificate but have
adequate equivalent experience. 

For example, a job posting may specify that a high school certificate, certification, or some college degree is required, as well as relevant experience in the sector. While a degree or certificate from a community college is generally desirable, certain occupations require a combination of experience and a certificate or degree, or possibly substantial professional experience can be considered for a position. 

This is especially true in the military, which seeks personnel with specific professional expertise and training. This is referred to as “desired comparable experience” in the Armed Forces. 

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Explaining Experience in Your Cover Letter

Your cover letter is also great for explaining how your experience aligns with the job’s requirements. Of course, if you get an interview, you can present your case in person. As a result, make sure you’re prepared to discuss all of the hard and soft
qualities that make you an excellent candidate for the job. 

Computer expertise, foreign language fluency, word processing, or a degree or certification in a certain employment field are examples of teachable proficiencies (accounting, management, or business administration). 

Leadership, motivation, oral and written communication, problem-solving, flexibility, teamwork, mediation, time management, and work ethic are examples of soft skills, sometimes known as “people skills.” If you’re serious about the job, always give yourself the benefit of the doubt while determining if you have the necessary experience. 

Don’t rule yourself out—leave it up to the employer to decide after you’ve presented the strongest case possible for your candidacy. Make sure you can make a convincing case for how your comparable experience relates. You don’t want to waste time looking for jobs that are out of your reach and don’t fit your qualifications. 

Ø Your curriculum vitae

Always highlight your equivalent experience when applying for a job. It’s critical to describe exactly what your equivalent experience entails on a job application, résumé and cover letter, and at a job interview. 

You should emphasize the aspects of your equivalent experience relevant to the job or the organization. This is a fantastic opportunity to show you have what it takes to succeed in that role. 

Make sure to mention your experience in your resume as close to the job requirements as possible, preferably right at the top. This may pique the hiring manager’s curiosity and urge him or her to read the rest of your CV. 

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Ø Your Cover Letter

The cover letter that goes with your CV is also a fantastic way to explain why and how your specific experience qualifies you for the position. And if it works, and you’ve landed a job interview, you’ll have a chance to make your case in person. If you’ve made it this far, make sure you know how to talk about your finest hard and soft abilities and
why you’re the best candidate for the job. You will have to be creative and skillful at this stage. 

Computer expertise, word processing, foreign languages, or a certificate or degree in a certain employment field are examples of teachable proficiencies (business administration, management, or accounting). People skills are another term for soft skills.
These skills include written and spoken communication, leadership, problem-solving, motivation, flexibility, time management, teamwork, work ethics, and mediation. 

Don’t rule yourself out when you’re very interested in a position and consider whether you’ve had similar experiences. Giving oneself the benefit of the doubt is always a good idea!

The employer has the final say on whether or not to screen you out, but you should give it your all to show that you’re the greatest candidate for the job, right? On the other hand, you shouldn’t waste your time applying for jobs that are plainly out of your grasp or don’t fit your qualifications. 

Have you completed high school or Posses an equivalent?

A high school diploma signifies that the student has received or will receive a U.S. high school diploma before the first day of college or has received a foreign school diploma comparable to a U.S. high school diploma before the first day of college. 

A student who has received or will receive a General Educational Development (GED) certificate or a state-authorized high school equivalent certificate before the first day of college enrollment has received or will receive a GED certificate or a state-authorized high school equivalent certificate.

A certificate that the issuing state acknowledges as
the equivalent of a high school diploma in that state is known as a state-authorized high school equivalent certificate. A high school attendance and completion certificates are NOT the same as a high school diploma. 

The term “homeschooled” refers to a student who has completed or will complete homeschooling at the secondary level, as defined by the state, before the first day of college enrollment. None of the above implies that the student lacks a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent or did not finish secondary education in a home school situation. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is GED?

The GED is a high school equivalency diploma, so you can use it to apply to college or for a job resume, just like you would with a high school diploma. 

Who can attend High school?

A person 18 years or older who have been out of school for at least 10 consecutive months and who passes all five tests in the General Educational Development (GED) test battery with a minimum standard score of 4501 or better on each test will be granted a High School Equivalency Diploma.  

What is secondary school?

Secondary school is defined as schooling after elementary school, therefore in the U.S. that would be graded 6 through 12.  

What is GCE?

The General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (GCE “A Levels”) is an entry
qualification for universities in the United Kingdom and many other locations
Education improves your skills. 


Now that you have been enlightened on what a high school diploma or an equivalent means, there are a few points to note. A high school diploma is a document that verifies that you have completed high school. Other high school diplomae equivalents, such as the GED, HiSET, and TASC, are available in addition to formal education.

Although a high school diploma or equivalent is usually required for entry-level occupations, this is not always true. Without it, many colleges give training and certification. 

Both courses require secondary education. The GED®, HiSET®, and TASCTM examinations are the three exams that can lead to a high school equivalency diploma in the United States.

Secondary education refers to a four-year high school program. Completion means the student has earned a diploma or a graduation certificate indicating that he or she has finished the minimum required coursework. 

If you’re blessed with attractive appearances, skills, talents, and abilities, you can find work even if you don’t have a degree. At the same time, even if you’re an average person, numerous high-paying job opportunities are available to you.

You should now understand what a “high school diploma or equivalent” is, when it is absolutely necessary, and when it is possible to get around it. We wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors.  


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