How does the US education system work? 

Updated on: Jul 30, 2023

The education system in the United States consists of both public and private institutions.

Public education is funded by the government and is available to all students. It is typically free for students up to the age of 18. Public schools are overseen by local school boards, which are responsible for setting policies and managing budgets. The curriculum is generally standardized across the country, but individual states and school districts have some flexibility in deciding how to implement it.

Private education is not funded by the government and can be quite expensive. Private schools are not required to follow the same curriculum as public schools, and may have different standards for graduation and admission. Private schools are overseen by their own boards of directors, which can be made up of parents, educators, or other community members.

The US education system is divided into several levels:

  1. Early Childhood Education: This includes pre-kindergarten programs for children as young as three years old.
  2. Elementary School: This is typically from kindergarten to fifth or sixth grade, depending on the school district.
  3. Middle School or Junior High School: This is usually from sixth or seventh grade to eighth grade.
  4. High School: This is typically from ninth grade to twelfth grade. Students usually receive a diploma upon graduation.

After high school, students have the option to pursue higher education at colleges, universities, or trade schools. Higher education institutions in the US are typically divided into two- or four-year programs, with students earning either an Associate's or Bachelor's degree. Graduate programs are also available for students who have already earned a Bachelor's degree and want to pursue further education.