What Is Post-Secondary Education?

Post-secondary education occurs after high school, or educational equivalent, and takes place at colleges and universities, and educational facilities such as academies, seminaries and institutes of technology that offer a degree. It is also called higher and tertiary education. Post-secondary educational is optional, but many people use post-secondary education as a way to break into the working world with specialized career training that can better their chances of advancement and work in a field that actually matters.

Pursuing post-secondary education is an option for students who complete secondary education and receive a high school diploma or equivalent.  Even though some people do not care for the educational process and will do just the required work to complete what is mandated by law, most people realize such education is necessary to improve their career prospects. A great many of the higher paid careers and jobs require advanced degrees or specialty certifications as a requirement for employment. Post-secondary education includes enrolling in programs of a preferred specialty such as Law, Engineering or Teaching while other possibilities include enrolling in classes of a more general nature to make the graduate more market-demanded with skills that can adapt to several different fields.

Post-secondary programs can be taken either part- or full-time in person, at the university or college campus, or via the Internet. Students may also elect to attend a small private school rather than a large public school. It does not matter which type of school a student attends, as long as it meets the necessary accreditation and fits in with the educational needs of the student.

There are costs involved with post-secondary education. Smaller private schools tend to be more expensive than larger public schools. There is also a big difference between the two in terms of quality of campus life and the culture within the campus. The basic undergraduate program takes four or five years to complete and concludes with a Bachelor of Arts or Science degree.

Students who are unsure where a post-secondary education career will take them may want to consider a community college, which is a two year college and concludes with an Associate’s degree or certificate of completion, or diploma. Classes taken in an Associate’s degree program can often be applied towards a Bachelor’s degree. Completing an Associate’s degree program gives the student some basic skills that translate well to the entry level employment. Entry level jobs often require an Associate’s degree to prove basic knowledge and a particular level of knowledge.

Post-secondary education also includes vocational and trade schools that offer students the opportunity to seek employment in specific areas such as Auto mechanics, Plumbing or Computer drafting. Colleges and universities tend to focus on broad topics and help train students to create big ideas about their prospects, while a vocational or trade school environment will focus on a specialized area.  Vocational and trade schools conclude with certificates or licensing to work in specialized areas.

Sometimes, the prestigious career path may require an advanced post-secondary education degree in the fields of Medicine or Law, for example. Some careers require students to pursue a Master’s or Doctorate degree in their chosen field and usually add at least a year, and sometimes more, beyond an undergraduate or Bachelor’s degree.

Cost is sometimes a prohibiting factor that determines whether someone pursues post-secondary education or not. Tuition fees are typically higher at private than public schools. Tuition should be considered a part of the overall marketing plan and the investment in a career. Upfront school costs can be covered by loans, grants, scholarships and savings plans. Some countries will underwrite a student’s post-secondary educational career, while other countries leave the cost entirely up to the student.