Tertiary education, also referred to as third stage, third level, and post-secondary education, is the educational level following the completion of a school providing a secondary education. The World Bank, for example, defines tertiary education as including universities as well as institutions that teach specific capacities of higher learning such as colleges, technical training institutes, community colleges, nursing schools, research laboratories, centers of excellence, and distance learning centers. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education and training beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.
In the United Kingdom
"Tertiary education" includes further education (FE), as well as higher education (HE). Since the 1970s specialized FE colleges called “tertiary colleges” have been set up to offer courses such as A Levels, that allow progression to HE, alongside vocational courses. An early example of this which expanded in September 1982 as part of a reorganization of education in the Halesowen area which also saw three-tier education axed after just 10 years in force.
In some areas where schools do not universally offer sixth forms, tertiary colleges function as a sixth form college as well as a general FE college.
Unlike sixth form colleges, the staff join lecturers' rather than teachers' unions.
- List of countries by tertiary education attainment
- Education by country
- List of universities and colleges by country
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