What to Do After You Earn Your GED

Education might not have come easily to you as a teen, but as an adult, you understand the importance of earning academic credentials. With every step up in education, you receive greater employment opportunities and higher earning potential. That is why you finally earned your GED: to take control of your career and start seeing outstanding success.

But — now what? With a GED, the possibilities for your career expand to an almost overwhelming degree. Here are a few of the paths you might consider pursuing now that you have access to them:


One of the most common reasons individuals return to school to earn their GED is an interest in pursuing even higher academic achievement. A bachelor’s degree is a valuable credential for professional achievement; like a GED, it unlocks another tier of income potential, and it allows individuals to pursue more specialized roles in industry. What’s more, a bachelor’s degree is essential for continuing into advanced education and pursuing a master’s degree or PhD.

As you consider applying to college, you should think more critically about where you want your career to go. You might ruminate on your current interests and skills and reflect on how you would enjoy earning money into the future. For example, if you would appreciate an opportunity to help those afflicted with substance abuse disorders, you might pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Then again, if you want to launch your own business, you might enroll in a business degree like entrepreneurship or business administration.

The college you choose to receive your degree from can also impact your career. You should find a balance amongst cost of tuition, accessibility and reputation to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck from your bachelor’s degree.

Trade School

A weakness of the bachelor’s degree is that many degrees do not provide instruction in the exact skills and knowledge that students will need to excel in work after graduation. If you are more interested in a career that allows you to use your hands, and if you want your courses to provide you with specific guidance in the skills you will need in your career, then you might opt to enroll in a trade school.

There is a wide variety of trade school programs for you to choose from. Some of the most popular trades pursued in trade school include:

  • Website developer
  • Dental hygienist
  • Electrician
  • Plumber
  • Mortician
  • IT technician
  • Legal assistant
  • Licensed practical nurse

Contrary to popular belief, trade school graduates can command salaries that rival those of bachelor’s degree-holders. For example, the median salary of an elevator installer and repairer is almost $98,000. As with a bachelor’s degree, you should think critically about what kind of trade interests you and how your current knowledge and skills might apply to your trade of choice.


You might be surprised to learn that the GED was created in the 1940s as a tool to help military veterans from World War II. Many of those vets enlisted or were drafted before they could earn their high school diplomas, so the GED allowed them to reintegrate into society with a basic education credential. If you do not already have military experience, you might use your GED instead to launch a military career from a higher starting position.

There are three tiers of recruitment into the military, with Tier 1 having more opportunity to specialize and reach officer level, and Tier 3 having less opportunity. With your GED, you qualify for Tier 2. By enlisting in the military, you can gain a number of benefits, such as lifelong healthcare, a housing allowance, tuition assistance, retirement benefits and more. Many personnel remain in the military for the duration of their careers, achieving high social status in doing so.


You need no credentials whatsoever to launch your own business. In fact, there are plenty of stories of wildly successful entrepreneurs who left school early, such as Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Group) and David Karp (founder of Tumblr) who both dropped out of high school at 15. If you have a solid business idea, you can pursue it as long as you have the funding necessary to support your entrepreneurial dreams.

Earning a GED is an outstanding achievement that deserves admiration, but what you do after earning your GED also matters. You can put your GED to good use by pursuing any of the above career paths, which make the most of your new education credential.