What is Post-Secondary Education

What is Post-Secondary Education – It is very common to hear the word post-secondary education used here and there but many are confused and do not understand what it is and what role it plays in education. That is why in this article we will discuss post-secondary education. At the end of this article, you will be able to answer the question “what is post-secondary education?”

What Is Post-Secondary Education?

Post-secondary education also known as “tertiary education,” or  “higher education” refers to the educational programs you can participate in after your secondary school education. Post-secondary education is not compulsory, unlike primary and secondary education.  It is known as the last stage of formal education and it leads to an academic degree.  Post-secondary education includes both undergraduate and post-graduate studies.

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Post-secondary education comprises universities, colleges, trade, technical and professional schools. Students normally receive a certificate, university degree, or a diploma at the end of their post-secondary education.  This education equips you with the skills needed to work on a career and be an accomplished member of society.

What is Considered a Post-secondary Education?

Post-secondary education is education that comes after secondary school.  It is offered by post-secondary schools and institutions.  These schools award certificates, diplomas, and degrees to students. This education can be doctorates, master’s degrees, and or professional degrees.

Post-secondary education is considered any education after secondary school that is focused on advancing the knowledge of students or helping students focus on an area of interest and make a career out of it. This type of education takes place in universities, colleges, and technical or vocational schools.

Example of Post-Secondary Education:

They are different types of post-secondary schools, and we will cover them all in this article.  Good examples of post-secondary education are enrolling in an aviation school, If you want to become a pilot, attending medical college if you want to pursue a career as a medical practitioner, or attending a teachers college if you want to become an educator.

Difference between Secondary Education and Post-secondary:

  • Secondary education plays an important role in getting students ready for post-secondary education. Many post-secondary schools demand that students complete their secondary education before seeking higher education.  Although post-secondary and secondary education work hand in hand they have some key differences. Below are some of the differences between post-secondary and secondary education.
  • In secondary schools, subjects are compulsory while in post-secondary schools students can choose what they want to study that aligns with their dream career. For example, a student who wants to become a lawyer will not be forced to study physics and vice versa.
  • The course work in Post-secondary schools is more meticulous and intense than in secondary schools. In post-secondary schools, you will have to work harder than you did in secondary school.
  • In post-secondary school, your professors treat you like an adult while you are treated, or the teachers relate to you as a  minor in secondary school.
  • In secondary school, students must attend all classes every time or the teacher will notice while in post-secondary school no one cares if you attend lectures or fail or pass. It all depends on you.
  • Postsecondary school education is more flexible than secondary school, your choice matters over there. You can make your own decisions.
  • The timetable for subjects at most secondary schools is fixed while post-secondary institutions have a more flexible timetable.
  • Most secondary education systems have the same curriculum, and sometimes the students take a national examination at the end of the term while the post-secondary schools are independent and organize their examination.
  • The courses taught in post-secondary schools teach students to be professionals, inventors, thinkers. researchers and prepares them for their careers and real-life responsibilities. While secondary school subjects teach students the fundamental things in life and prepare them for higher learning.

Benefits of Post-secondary Education:

  • Although post-secondary education doesn’t guarantee immediate employment but graduates from post-secondary schools have a higher chance of getting employed in well-paying firms.
  • Post-secondary education helps students grow mentally and experience life.
  • It also helps students acquire skills that can help them in the job market.
  • It also helps improve the critical thinking of students because of the intense studying it involves.
  • It helps confused students identify their area of interest with its wide variety of courses at the undergraduate level.

Do You Need Post-Secondary Education for Work?

Yes and no. you can get a job without a post-secondary education but if you want to get a well-paying job with insurance, then you need post-secondary education.

Types of Post-secondary Institutions

Opposed to popular opinion, post-secondary education isn’t limited to a bachelor’s degree or attending a university or college.  Attending a university or college is not cheap and can be a heavy burden as you will spend years paying off your student loan payments.  So, if you want to try something different other than the obvious, keep reading.

Below are the different types of post-secondary institutions;

  • Colleges,
  • Universities,
  • Community Colleges,
  • Junior Colleges,
  • Vocational and Technical Education.


College is a four-year post-secondary program that awards a bachelor’s degree that is  BS(Bachelor of Science), BA (Bachelor of Arts), BAS(Bachelor of applied studies) among others. Some colleges also award master’s degrees while others provide two-year associate of arts and science degree programs.

Some colleges can be specialized. For instance, some specialize in medicine, engineering, etc. The classes in colleges are fewer compared to university classes.


The university offers students both undergraduate and graduate programs and sometimes a college of humanity like medical school and school of law. Universities are more research-oriented and have fewer students compared to colleges.  They offer graduate degrees, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees.

Community Colleges

Community college is a public post-secondary institution that offers students two years associate degree program. They also offer vocational and technical programs to students. Community college is more preferred because it is accessible and affordable.

Students can always move to a college or university to pursue their bachelor’s degree after graduating from a community college. This type of post-secondary institution is also referred to as “two-year colleges” or “junior colleges.  Some community colleges offer non-degree programs to students.

Junior Colleges

Junior college provides the same courses to students as a community college. The only difference is that it is a private educational institution.

  • Vocational and Technical Education
  • Vocational and technical education is a post-secondary institution that offers students professional training without a diploma or bachelor’s degree. This type of education prepares students for professions by training them in the technical aspect of it.
  • Some examples of vocational and technical education are Electricians, Cosmetologists, Chefs, Fitness trainers, Dental assistants, Nursing assistants, among others.

Types of programs offered in post-secondary institutions

Undergraduate Post-secondary Education

This program is the first post-secondary that a student attends after secondary school. It is offered in colleges and universities. It can either be a four-year or two-year degree program. Students are awarded a bachelor’s degree at the end of their academic journey.

Graduate Post-secondary Education

This gotten after acquiring an undergraduate degree. It is the final stage of education. It is career-oriented. It comprises master’s and doctoral programs. Depending on the course of study the duration can last for 1 to 8 years.


Post-secondary education is a higher education a student receives after secondary school. It is not compulsory but, it is important if you want a better chance in the job market. Colleges, universities, junior colleges, community colleges, vocational and technical schools are types of post-secondary institutions. We hope you found this article helpful.

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