Get to know the different types of schools

The schools available to you are varied. If you're trying to decide what type of school fits you best, read through the following, and then take a look at some other characteristics you may want to consider in selecting a school.

Public schools


  • Schools which use public funds as a major source of support
  • 4-year public schools
    • Offer bachelor’s degree programs
    • May offer master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees
  • 2-year public schools
    • Offer associate’s degree programs
    • May offer certificate programs or contract training
    • Most are community colleges

Independent/private schools


  • Mainly supported by private funds
  • 4-year private schools
    • Offer bachelor’s degree programs
    • May offer master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees
  • 2-year private schools
    • Offer associate’s degree programs
    • May offer certificate programs or contract training
    • Most are junior colleges

Professional and technical schools

Degree and non-degree-granting institutions that prepare students for direct entry into the workforce in a specific occupational field

Theological schools

Private schools that incorporate religion or focus on religious occupations and are supported by a church body or congregation

Proprietary/private career schools


  • Privately owned and controlled schools or out-of-state institutions offering courses and programs in your state
  • Many offer degrees or less than degree level programs, and prepare students for direct entry into an occupation or profession