Tertiary education, also referred to as third-level, third-stage or postsecondary 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 trade schools and colleges. Higher education is taken to include undergraduate and postgraduate education, while vocational education beyond secondary education is known as further education in the United Kingdom, or continuing education in the United States.
The UNESCO stated that tertiary education focuses on learning endeavors in specialized fields. It includes academic and higher vocational education.
The World Bank's 2019 World Development Report on the future of work  argues that given the future of work and the increasing role of technology in value chains, tertiary education becomes even more relevant for workers to compete in the labor market.
"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 was the reorganization of education in Halesowen in 1982, 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.
Under devolution in the United Kingdom, education is administered separately in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. In 2018 the Welsh Government adopted the term "tertiary education" to refer to post-16 education and training in Wales.
Within Australia "tertiary education" refers to continuing studies after a students Higher School Certificate. It also refers to any education a student receives after final compulsory schooling, which occurs at the age of 17 within Australia. Tertiary-education options include university, technical and further education or private colleges.
The higher education system in the United States is decentralized and essentially independent from regulation by the federal government. It is diverse because there are private and public institutions. Some are small and affiliated with religious organizations. Others could be secular, rural, urban, or suburban. In short, there are a wide variety of options which are often locally determined. The United States Department of Education presents a broad-spectrum view of tertiary education and detailed information on the nation's educational structure, accreditation procedures, and connections to state as well as federal agencies and entities.
The Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education provides an explanation so people will understand how American institutions of higher learning compare to each other. The Carnegie platform separates all accredited schools that give out degrees into categories that describe highest degree granted or special areas of study. US tertiary education includes various non-profit organizations promoting professional development of individuals in the field of higher education and helping expand awareness of related issues like international student services and complete campus internationalization.
Although tertiary education in the EU includes university, it can differ from country to country.
After going to nursery school (French: école maternelle), elementary school (French: école élémentaire), middle school (French: collège), and high school (French: lycée), a student may go to university, but may also stop at that point.
4th and 5th grades of colleges of technology and special training colleges fall into the category.
Colleges of technology are provided by the 1st article of the educational law in Japan as well as universities and junior colleges which are very often called as high education for two years but special training colleges are provided by the 124th article of the law as a category of special training schools. Both are regular educational organisations but special training colleges are not “schools” under the law. They are additionally not in high education.
Pupil who finish a junior high school can enter a college of technology but 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades are in secondary education and out of this article. College of technology is special educational system which secondary and tertiary educations intermingle. Graduates from the school are equivalent to graduates from a junior college.
Whilst special training colleges are not “schools” by the law, they are schools in public view. Their most courses are for two years but some have one, three or four-year courses. Graduates from courses for more than two years are equivalent to graduates from junior colleges and graduates from a course for four years can enter a graduate course of a university in recent years.
Special training schools were included in miscellaneous schools by the current educational law when it was enforced in 1947. The 83th article of the law provided for them and they were certainly miscellaneous.
Because miscellaneous schools included educational organisations with lessons for a few times in a week then, some educational organisations including later special training schools were dissatisfied about the system. In addition, there were many problems because of being miscellaneous.
Some educational organisations authorised by some definite condition became miscellaneous schools with reform of the law in 1 January 1957 but were still in the miscellaneous system. The law has not applied to many other educational organisations since the reform.
There were various styles whilst the law authorised: for example, schools to provide about educational backgrounds and those without any provisions about them. There are still many problems and special training schools were created on January 1976. They include three courses: post-secondary, upper-secondary and general courses. Schools with the post-secondary course for graduates who finish senior high schools and people with equivalent educational backgrounds are called as special training colleges. The upper-secondary course is that for graduates from junior high schools and everyone can enter the general course. The latter is near current miscellaneous schools.
Graduates from special training colleges since 1994 can get diploma. The law does not provide about diploma unlike foundation degree that graduates from colleges of technology can get but is public degree as well.