Completing College Is Quicker Than You Think

How Many Years Does It Take To Complete Graduation?

The American educational system can be quite confusing to other people, but it is actually pretty straightforward. You can find a wide array of schools, programs, and locations in the United States.

It can be overwhelming for students and parents to choose from. If you are looking for the best school for your children, it is important to study and get familiar with the educational system.

How many years does it take to complete graduation? In the US, for primary education, you need a total of 5 years to graduate. Then you need another 3 years for middle school and 4 years to graduate from high school. To earn your bachelor’s degree, you need to spend at least 4 years in a college or university.

This article will provide information about how many years it takes to finish primary school, secondary school, vocational training, and tertiary school. Also, I will describe the path to earning a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate.

The Educational Structure

In the United States of America, normally, a child starts school when they reach 5 or 6 years old. While it depends on the state you are currently living in, going to school is compulsory until you reach 16 to 18. For children who are younger than 5, parents can enroll them in a nursery school or preschool.

Primary Education

As mentioned before, in the US, education for children is compulsory, and it is widely available to everyone. This does not apply to preschools, and the details can vary from one state to another.

Elementary school normally begins with kindergarten, and it extends through primary school, which lasts for 7 years. The curriculum can also change depending on the school district levels. However, the basic curriculum will involve reading, writing, and mathematics.

Middle Education

Middle school fills the years between primary school and secondary school. Typically, middle school is between the ages of 11 to 14, and it takes about 3 years to graduate at this level.

The duration will vary from one state to another, and some subjects become electives around a base curriculum. This kind of curriculum will remain academically focused.

Secondary Education

Secondary education, most commonly known as high school, runs through the 12th grade. You need 4 years to graduate from high school. At this level, the subjects remain wide, with a general emphasis on different topics.

Some schools provide education in sciences like biology, chemistry, and physics.

They also cover different branches of mathematics, like algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and statistics. You can expect to study the English language, social sciences, and physical education.

Tertiary Education

When a student is attending college or a university and has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree, they are considered to be at the undergraduate level. Undergraduate programs run for 4 years before you can get your bachelor’s degree.

You can begin your pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a community college or a 4-year course in a university.

Path to Earning a Bachelor’s Degree

For the first 2 years of your tertiary education, you will be required to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects. These are mostly known as prerequisite courses.

They can vary and include literature, science, social studies, arts, history, and many other things. This way, you will acquire general knowledge and a foundation in various subjects before focusing on your chosen field of study.

Many students will start their 2 years of prerequisite courses at a community college. Once they finish, they will earn an associate of arts transfer degree. Then they will transfer to a university to finish the 4-year course.

The Pursuit of a Master’s Degree

If you have a bachelor’s degree but wish to study more about your field of expertise, you can opt to get a master’s degree. This will help you enter certain professions or advance in your current career.

This degree is mandatory for higher-level positions like library science, engineering, behavioral health, and education.

Normally, it will take at least 1 to 2 years to complete your master’s degree. For instance, the Master of Business Administration is an extremely popular degree, and it takes about 2 years. Other master’s programs, like journalism, can take only a year to finish.

The Pursuit of a Doctorate Degree

Many graduate schools consider acquiring a master’s degree as the first step to earning your doctorate degree, commonly known as a Ph.D.

However, there are other schools where you can apply for a doctorate degree without getting a master’s degree. In this case, it may take up to 3 years or more to be able to earn a Ph.D.

During the first 2 years, students are enrolled in classes and seminars. Add another year to conduct a lot of research and write a thesis or dissertation.

These papers consist of views, designs, or personal research that have not been published. Normally, a doctoral dissertation is a discussion and summary of current scholarship on a given topic.

Most U.S. universities award doctorates to their candidates who possess at least a reading knowledge of 2 foreign languages.

They also require their candidates to spend a required amount of time in residence to pass a qualifying exam for the Ph.D. program, together with an oral examination on the same topic of the dissertation.


Listed above are the required years per level of education in the United States. This article will help you out if you are an immigrant and want to know more about the American education system.

From primary to high school, it is pretty straightforward, and it resembles the same educational system in schools all over the world. The tertiary level might be a little difficult and complex, so you need to look for a school that will give you more in-depth information.

Recent Posts