What is Post-Secondary School?

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Are you a high school student thinking about life after college? Has someone mentioned post-secondary school, and now you’re wondering what it is? You have come to the right place.

When you think about post-secondary options, the first thing that generally comes to mind is college. However, that is not the only option. There are so many more programs and opportunities that you may explore. We will aid you in understanding what those are.

We will also help you understand why post-secondary education is essential. Keep reading to understand what post-secondary programs are available to you and how to prepare for this new chapter of life.

What Does Post-Secondary School Means?What Does Post-Secondary School Means?

Post-secondary school is the period of education after a student has completed high school or its equivalent. The post-secondary school refers to not only college but a variety of other school types and programs. These types can include trade schools. Post-secondary education can also be referred to as tertiary education. Another name this can be referred to is the third level of education.

Upon completion, these programs may culminate in a ceremony, graduation, and receipt of a diploma or  post-secondary certificate. Unlike federally regulated public schools, all post-secondary schools are not federally regulated.

What are Examples of Post-Secondary Education?

What are Examples of Post-Secondary Education?

Colleges and Universities

College and universities are one option when thinking about your post-secondary options. Four-year colleges and universities provide students with the opportunity to receive bachelor’s degrees and beyond. They are paid options which can be public or private institutions. The institutions often have entry requirements that a student must meet before they can be admitted.

Traditional 4-year colleges possess buildings and services which allow students to live happily at school.

Aside from the option to obtain a traditional 4-year degree, these institutions also offer the opportunity to receive higher-level degrees like a master’s or a doctorate. These colleges can also vary by size, location, and program type.

A 2-year college is also an option for post-secondary education. This is often a community college or junior college. This can be a precursor to a four-year college where students can work on freshman-level courses and prerequisites.  2-year colleges are also options for students looking to receive an associate degree.

Technical or Trade School Programs

These programs are known to be shorter options for students who want to gain a trade skill.

Vocational or trade schools are excellent options for students looking for a more hands-on approach to schooling or not looking to attend a traditional college. These schools provide students with several different options surrounding career paths.

On the other hand, technical schools offer students more classroom time than a traditional trade and often end with a certificate. Technical school students may sometimes even need additional training once their program is over, like apprenticeships. These options are not only shorter but also half the price of traditional schooling.

Different career options can include nursing, plumbing, veterinary options, and several others. These programs can also be kick-starters to your career, giving you a way into the door of a job that you may not usually have been in.

What are the Benefits of Post-Secondary Education?

What are the Benefits of Post-Secondary Education?

There are several benefits to getting a post-secondary education. They can dramatically change the course of a person’s life, not just on their completion but throughout the process as well. These programs have the power to make you competitive in the job market and teach you skills to take you to the next level educationally. Check out these five reasons to continue your education after high school.

Reduction of Familial Poverty

Though it may sound cliché, continuing your education opens you up to abundant opportunities and options. These options can keep you from falling into jobs that cannot afford you the benefits needed to take care of your family. Continuing and completing your education is only step one. It’s up to you to take the necessary steps to apply what you have learned to acquire a job. Continuing your education can not only be a starting point for you but the people around you. Chances are also higher for a child to receive a post-secondary education if parents and other family members are leading by example.  Education and access to it is simply one avenue to aid in slowing poverty.

Following Your Heart

One significant benefit of post-secondary education is that you get to follow your heart. The career path that you choose is up to you and only you. Unlike traditional education, there is no set path for you to take; you are in control of your course. The best thing that you can do for yourself is to choose something you are passionate about. Your post-secondary choice should not feel like a chore; it should feel like something you are happy to do. Choosing a path you are passionate about makes working, in the long run, easier and education easier to finish. This can ultimately lead to a happier and more fulfilled life.

Networking with Individuals of Various Backgrounds

Continuing your education allows you to meet with people you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. This provides you with a network of individuals who can not only help you in the present but be an asset in the long run. These individuals become friends, study group participants, and so much more. These individuals also help you grow mentally and see things from various points of view.

Skills development

One significant benefit of post-secondary education is skills development. You come into a program as a novice but leave being able to teach about your craft potentially. By the end of your tenure in your program, you have the skills needed to start a career in your industry. The more you progress through your program, the more knowledgeable you become. Post-secondary programs encompass a variety of career options that we need in various aspects of our lives. This includes plumbers, doctors, mechanics, and several others. These are all skills that are important to advancing all of our lives. The programs are just as crucial for advancing yours and the people around you.

Career Advancement

One primary reason why many older individuals take advantage of post-secondary education is the career advancement options. Many jobs offer promotions, company advancements, monetary raises, and more for individuals who obtain these degrees and certifications. This is often a significant incentive to continue going to school as you continue in your secondary education program, your knowledge increases, and from there, as will your salary.

How is Post-Secondary Different from High School?

How is Post-Secondary Different from High School?

Post-secondary education is vastly different from high school. There are different rules and regulations placed on its completion; outside of the most significant difference is that students are not required to complete it. There are several other ways in which post-secondary education differs; take a look at the list below:

More Freedom

Post-secondary education is a lot more flexible than high school. Students are not mandated to be in the classroom for long periods. Generally, it is your choice to be there; it is not something you are forced to go to every day. If you do not want to attend a post-secondary option, you do not have to. Students are also not micromanaged within these programs; your progression and forward movement often depend on your drive and workmanship.

More Career Focused

Post-secondary education is often more focused on career development. These are specialized programs that allow students to choose programs that pique their career interests. Whereas traditional public education is more general and needed as a baseline for education, these programs are more specialized depending on the chosen major.


Though a significant advantage, post-Secondary education has the power to put students into a considerable amount of debt. One major difference is that post-secondary education is an option that many students pay for. Though there are scholarships and grants available, the bulk of the financial responsibility falls on the student or the student’s family. If you are looking to go into a post-secondary program or need financial aid, it’s never too late to start looking.

There are several scholarships available to college students for a variety of things outside of academics. This can include race, family history, and so much more. Do not let the financial burdens of a post-secondary education hold you back.  Some companies even offer tuition assistance. This is a job-centric program that allows you to go back to school but for a fraction of the cost. Your company will often pay for a portion of your schooling as long as you agree to stay an employee for the length of time you were in school.

Career Advancement

Post-secondary education also differs because these degrees and post-secondary certificates can also be looked at as a means for career progression. If you decide to forgo the option of post-secondary programs, you may have learned that these degrees and certifications often come with bigger pay and better benefits in the workforce. Therefore, they can be a great way to guarantee career advancement, no matter what age you attempt to start.

How Important is Post-Secondary Education?

How Important is Post-Secondary Education?

Based on the reasons provided, it should be easier for you to see why post-secondary education is essential. However, you may be wondering just how important it is. Think about the difference between being a college graduate and a high school graduate. These two individuals live in two very different realities.

For a high school graduate, though they may be able to find a job, how much do you think they would make? What options do you think they would have? A few options can include mail carriers, warehouse operators, and other laborious jobs. There is nothing wrong with these jobs; however, climbing the ladder can be more challenging when you are starting at the very bottom.

Post-secondary education is vital because it helps you climb the ladder before you get into the workforce. It not only gives you a leg up on the competition but provides you with far more advanced skills. Your post-secondary education is important for more reasons than just getting the certificate, license, or degree. It is important because it completely changes the quality of your life.

Students who complete a form of post-secondary education are often more engaged in their lives and are productive and healthier than the average individual. They can lead complete, fulfilling lives because they are not bound to living paycheck to paycheck. However, completing this phase of life means more than economic growth.

Your mental and emotional health are also two things that can drastically change with the completion of post-secondary education. Often, college is a time where individuals learn more about themselves, their feelings, and how they handle situations. This period of self-discovery and is unmatched. This period also allows individuals to choose and define what works for them.

How to Prepare for Post-Secondary School?

How to Prepare for Post-Secondary School?

Set achievable goals

One important thing to do when you’re thinking about the options available to you is to set realistic goals. If you know that you want to be a doctor, make sure that you create the steps you need to get there. One excellent way to prepare is to do the research necessary for the type of career you are interested in. This will help you not to waste time on a program that doesn’t fit your need.

Make yourself happy first

This tip is vital. You should ensure that you are choosing an accredited post-secondary school or program that fits what you want and not the wants of others. This is something that will affect you for the rest of your life. You should not become a doctor just because your family wants you to become one.

Do your research

Make sure that you are doing the needed research to know what program is right for you. If you want to become a nurse, you should know that several nursing options are available to you, and all of them do not require a four-year degree. There are several ways that you can reach your end goal; it’s up to you to do the research to get there.

Be realistic

On top of everything else, it’s essential to be realistic with your goals. Though you can indeed be anything you want to be, you should keep things realistic in your situation.

Wrapping Things Up: What is Post-Secondary School?

Post-secondary is the optional period of education after high school. There are several options that students can take when looking for post-secondary options. These options include two- and four-year colleges, vocational options, and technical programs.

There are several benefits to post-secondary education. These can include career advancement and even the possibility of networking with individuals of varying backgrounds. These events help to make post-secondary certificates and diplomas that much more worthwhile.

Outside of the benefits of post-secondary education, there are several differences between it and high school. Post-secondary school is an enormous undertaking that can be truly rewarding if it is adequately prepared for. This can include more freedom and even more career advancements.  However, these are just two things. Rather you are on the fence or looking for information on post-secondary education; we hope you were able to find what you needed.

For more high school study tips and resources, read our posts here.

> What is a STEM High School?

> What is Course of Study in High School?

> What Degree Do You Get from High School?

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Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

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