Comparisons of high school equivalency and high school diplomas in NB | UNB

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NB-IRDT

Comparisons of high school equivalency and high school diplomas in NB

Author: Philip Leonard, Ted McDonald, Andy Balzer
Year: 2019
Category: Education and Training

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Is getting a GED as “good” as getting a high school diploma? 

New Brunswickers who drop out of high school but later complete their high school education commonly receive a General Equivalency Diploma – otherwise known as a GED. Some may assume that having a GED or other equivalency degree is comparable to having a high school diploma. Meanwhile, others ask if having a GED is better than having no degree at all. To shed light on this issue, researchers at NB-IRDT look at the evidence surrounding labour market outcomes. 

This report uses data from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT) from the 2016 General Social Survey to examine labour market outcomes – including employment and average income – for New Brunswickers possessing a high school equivalency diploma, a traditional high school diploma, or less than a high school education. New Brunswickers with levels of education beyond high school are not included in this comparison. 

Findings show that while employment rates and average incomes for individuals with an equivalency diploma are not as high as for those with a high school diploma, they are considerably higher than those of individuals who did not complete a high school education. 

At the time of the survey, 51% of individuals with an equivalency diploma were employed, versus 60% with a high school diploma and 31% without a high school education. Individuals with an equivalency diploma were earning approximately $31,742 a year, compared to $32,381 for those with a high school diploma and $19,893 for those without a high school education.

Previous studies have asked whether there is any advantage to getting a GED over not getting one at all. The results suggest the answer is “yes” – in the labour market, at least.