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Secondary School Diploma Pays

Scott Mato | CIU 10


Does having a high school diploma or its equivalent (e.g., GED) make it easier to get a better paying job than not having a high school diploma or its equivalent?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2018 that the median income for someone without a high school diploma or its equivalent is $533/week. The median income for someone with a high school diploma or its equivalent is $730/week. That’s a difference of $197/week, or $788/month, or $9,456/year. That's almost $100,000 more income in ten years, $200,000 in twenty years, and $300,000 in thirty years!


The 2018 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the unemployment rate for someone without a high school diploma or its equivalent is 5.2% compared to an unemployment rate of 4.1% for someone with a high school diploma or its equivalent. Having a high school diploma or its equivalent definitely makes it easier to get a better paying job.



You must have a high school diploma or its equivalent if you are considering joining one of the United States military services. The United States Army, Navy, Airforce and Marine Corps all require a high school diploma or its equivalent. The Coast Guard accepts high school equivalent diplomas in special circumstances.


If you are interested in getting a high school equivalent diploma or its equivalent and don’t know where to start, the Central Intermediate Unit 10 is available to help you. IU 10 offers free classes at the PA CareerLink offices in Clearfield and DuBois (814-765-8118, x 317), Centre (814-954-4679), and Clinton (570-893-4038) Counties, and at our Decibel Park office in State College (814-954-4679).


We also assist individuals wanting to work in the medical profession. Participants may qualify for the federally funded WATCH Project. Qualified students get financial assistance and support to become a Direct Care Worker (DCW), a Certified Nursing Assistant CNA), a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or a Registered Nurse (RN).

Centre County Council for Human Services

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