The education system in the USA is generally divided into three levels: elementary/primary education, secondary education, and post-secondary/higher education.
- Elementary/Primary Education: This level of education typically covers grades kindergarten through 5th or 6th grade, depending on the state. Students in elementary school focus on basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, as well as other subjects such as social studies, science, and physical education. Some schools may also offer art, music, and foreign language classes at the elementary level.
- Secondary Education: This level of education typically covers grades 6th or 7th through 12th grade, depending on the state. Secondary education is usually divided into middle school or junior high school (grades 6-8 or 7-8) and high school (grades 9-12). Students in secondary school continue to build on their foundational skills and may also take more advanced courses in subjects such as history, literature, science, and math. Students in high school may also have the opportunity to take advanced placement (AP) courses, which can earn them college credit.
- Post-Secondary/Higher Education: This level of education includes any education beyond high school, including community colleges, trade schools, and four-year colleges and universities. Students may earn associate’s degrees or vocational certificates at community colleges or trade schools, or pursue bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degrees at colleges and universities. Post-secondary education in the US is generally divided into two semesters per academic year, with each semester lasting 15-16 weeks.
In addition to these levels of education, some states also offer pre-kindergarten (pre-K) programs for children as young as three or four years old, as well as adult education programs for individuals who did not complete their high school education or who want to pursue further education or training.