What Are the Different Levels of Education?

In the United States, education begins with kindergarten and continues with elementary school, middle school, high school and postsecondary education, which includes studies at colleges and universities. American students follow a fairly straightforward path from early childhood through high school. The structure of the educational system in the U.S. does not vary, but students meet educational requirements through either public schools, private schools or home schooling.

In the U.S., education falls under the control of individual states. States follow the national system of education but vary in structure of educational systems. In many states, children attend elementary school, middle school and high school in separate facilities. Students graduate from elementary school in third grade, then attend middle school from grades 4 through 8. Children enter high school at age 13 or 14, which equates to grade 9. They graduate four years later, at age 18, with a high school diploma. Throughout the course of education, students receive instruction in different academic subjects, including math, science and languages. After graduating high school, many students continue academic studies at postsecondary schools. Postsecondary education provides different levels of degrees and training. Many postsecondary facilities offer 4-year degree programs, while others provide 2-year programs. Upon meeting requirements, students graduate with diplomas.