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Need a high school diploma? Ed Center has the answer

The easiest way to have an official looking high school diploma is to visit any of several websites specializing in this trade. You just download a template, add your name and print.

However, if you plan to use your diploma to have a better job, to apply to a trade school or college, or to enter the military, you will need more. Enrollment in a traditional public school or an alternate high school may solve your problem. Or you can pursue a GED (General Education Diploma).

The American Council on Education developed the GED program in 1942 to serve World War II veterans. More than 15 million people have received the GED since the program began. Today, over 500,000 GEDs are awarded annually.

The popularity of the GED as an alternative to a high school diploma may be due to the different requirements of the two programs. Traditional high school programs require a fixed number of hours spent in class studying a variety of areas, and passing the associated exams. The GED requires only that one pass five exams. The exams cover reading, writing, social studies, science and math.

Although a GED does not guarantee a better job, studies show that a GED most often increases the annual salary of high school dropouts by 5-10 percent. Over a lifetime of work, this is a considerable amount of money. Furthermore, the GED is recognized by most trade schools and community colleges as equivalent to a high school diploma. All branches of the military normally reserve a few slots for recruits holding the GED.

How you prepare for the exams is up to you. Many people choose self-study programs, while others enroll in GED preparation programs. The Archuleta County Education Center receives a federal grant through the Adult and Family Literacy Unit of the Colorado Department of Education to support preparation for the GED exams. The Ed Center is the only site in Archuleta County authorized to give the GED exams.

The Ed Center’s GED program includes two additional programs, the Colorado CareeReadiness Certification (CCRC) and the National CareeReadiness Certification (NCRC). Employers nationwide use results of these exams to match applicants’ skills with specific job requirements.

Adequate preparation before taking the GED exams is important because each exam costs $35. Any individual 17 or older can enroll for instruction, which is free. There is no upper age limit. Instruction for the GED, the CCRC and the NCRC exams is offered 2-7 p.m. Monday — Thursday. Veteran instructor Mark Wardell is joined this year by Joe Granias. Both instructors have considerable experience preparing students for the exams.

Got little ones to care for? No problem. Free childcare is available Tuesday and Thursday.

Need more than a template downloaded from the internet? Visit the Ed Center at 4th and Lewis streets, or call 264-2843 for enrollment forms.

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