Education in the U.S.

 There is a school for children from 3-5 years old. This school is called Preschool.

Preschool is very common, even typical. But it is not mandatory. Preschools have half-day or full-day programs. Many parents have to pay for preschool. There are preschools for low-income families, where they might not have to pay any money.

After preschool, children go to elementary school to start kindergarten.


K-12 Grade

In the U.S., children officially start school at 5 years old. Children go to kindergarten. After kindergarten, the children go to grade 1st grade (grade 1) and continue until 12th grade. Then, they go to college.

All public elementary, middle, and high schools are free. Parents pay nothing for their children to attend public schools. There are no fees for the education, books, or supplies.

Public schools usually offer free lunch and sometimes free breakfast for students from low-income families.

Elementary School Middle School High School

1st grade

2nd grade

3rd grade

4th grade

5th grade

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade

9th grade (freshman)

10th grade (sophomore)

11th grade (junior)

12th grade (senior)



After students complete the 12th grade, they graduate high school and receive a high school diploma.

For students or older adults that cannot go to high school. There is another option, they can get a GED (General Education Development) certificate. A GED is not equivalent to a high school diploma, but many colleges will accept it when applying.


College Level Education

You must first earn an undergraduate degree before you can earn a graduate degree.

Undergraduate Level

Associates Degree: A.A., A.S., etc. two years full time 60 credits/22 classes
Bachelor’s Degree: B.A. B.S, etc. four years full time 120 credits/40 classes


Graduate Level

Master’s Degree: M.A., M.S. or MBA two years full time 36-54 credits/12-18 classes
Doctorate Degree Ed.D. or Ph.D. 50-90 credits