What’s the difference between a H.S. and a GED Diploma?

Generally, the Standard High School Diploma requires common-core coursework (24 or 18 credits), a 2.0 GPA minimum, and passing scores on the state assessments for English Language Arts Reading and End of Course exams (EOC’s) for Algebra 1 and all other core subjects. Whereas, the GED Diploma requires a student to pass the following four subject area tests:  (1) Reasoning through Language Arts (2) Social Studies (3) Science and (4) Mathematical Reasoning.

Diplomas: What Do You Receive?

Upon successful completion of either the GED or Standard H.S. program, students are awarded a Florida State issued Diploma and transcripts of their work.

Classroom Differences

Although both diploma options signify a student’s High School completion, there are some basic program differences such as:  the time it takes to complete the program, age requirements, scheduling, classroom instruction and attendance.

Time- Standard public high school students generally finish within 3-4 yrs. Since public schools do not allow fifth year seniors, students must complete their graduation within the 4 years. If not, then they must transfer to an alternative school. 

Compared to a H.S. program, GED students on average can pass all 4 subjects within approximately 4-6 months of prep work. However, GED classes are self paced and students may take as much time as needed to master each subject area.

Age- The minimum age for GED is 18 and there is no maximum age.  Students can take the GED test at 16 or 17 years of age with a waiver for extenuating circumstances (such as helping to support their family etc.) However, students under 18 yrs of age must enroll in an accredited school, have a waiver approved by a parent/guardian, pass GED pretests and be approved by an instructor.  Students 18 and over are not required to pretest, but it is highly recommended.  

In contrast, the maximum age in public high school is 19 and most are required to graduate within 4 years.

Scheduling - Most public high school students attend the majority of the day between 8am-2pm.  FTI’s H.S. class meets from 8am to 12 noon Monday thru Friday.

Whereas, GED classes usually meet for 3 hours Monday thru Friday and students can choose from  a variety of scheduling options such as: morning, afternoon, evening and online classes.

Classroom Instruction- FTI’s High School class is not like the traditional blocked schedule. It is a self-paced program that works to match a student’s individual learning style.  Certified instructors monitor the classroom allowing for more individual attention instead of the traditional direct in front of the class teaching approach. Our H.S. coursework is computer based and students are required to meet the Florida State H.S. Diploma requirements.

 In the GED classroom, certified instructors assist students either independently or in small group study. Students may choose computers or text book learning and in order to monitor student progress, the instructors use online and offline pre-tests. These pre-tests help guide instruction and maximize student success.

Attendance- is mandatory for Adult H.S. and GED classes. However, GED students have the option to transition between morning, afternoon and night classes. This is a great help for those with childcare needs and changing work schedules.

College and Career- Acceptance

Most state colleges have no problem admitting a GED student and many employers do not care which diploma you have (GED or H.S.).  What’s important is that you’ve completed a State approved High School level program.

Adult High School

FTI’s High School graduates have successfully entered college, careers and the military just as other high school graduates in our district. College bound students are required to take college placement exams such as the ACT or SAT and those interested in the military are required to take the ASVAB. FTI offers applied academic classes to help students boost their academic skills. Stop by our registration office for more information.


GED graduates effectively transition into college or the workforce. Many GED graduates enroll into college. If you have a GED and want to attend a University or a 4 year College, you may enter a community college then transfer into a 4 year University. If you plan to enter into a career, then your job skills and work experience are more important than your diploma type (GED or H.S.).  

FTI academic classes help students prepare for the Test for Adult Basic Education (T.A.B.E.). Scoring at a high school level on this test is required by most career & tech programs.

Lastly, GED graduates seeking the military may notice that enlistment requirements can change. Most branches have a certain number of enlistees allowed to enter with a GED. Once this allotment is reached, they may require one semester of college with the GED Diploma. FTI has had many GED graduates successfully enlist into the U.S. Military and we are proud to help students achieve a successful career.