Secondary education is high school, so postsecondary education is any schooling that follows graduation from high school or completion of high school equivalency. Community colleges, four-year colleges and universities are postsecondary schools, but other types of programs are also available, such as technical and trade schools.

College Programs

The types of colleges include community or two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities. Undergraduate programs directly follow high school and include two-year associate degrees, four-year bachelor's degrees and certificates.

Community colleges typically offer associate degrees, while colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees. Postsecondary certificates are available in all three types of colleges. Certificates take less time than a degree and focus on job skills, such as bookkeeping.

Graduate programs follow the bachelor's degree in universities and colleges and include master's degrees and doctoral programs, such as the Ph.D.

Technical, Trade and Vocational Schools

Technical schools and trade or vocational schools focus on preparation for a career, such as cosmetology. Public technical schools are available, but many of these are for-profit institutions.

In general, technical schools teach both theory and practice, but trade or vocational schools teach only job skills. Technical and vocational schools typically offer a certificate or diploma and prepare students for a licensing exam or work in a skilled trade.