Junior high school graduates may continue their education to high school or college of technology (kosen), which, however, is not compulsory and therefore requires the passing of an admission exam to enter. High schools generally offer a three-year program, while evening high schools and correspondence courses offer programs that are of a longer duration. There are several types of high schools.
- General academic high school
- Specialized high school that targets future employment in a specific job area (such as agricultural high school, industrial high school, commercial high school, etc.)
- Colleges of technology (kosen)
Combined with college-level education, colleges of technology in Japan offer a five-year program to students who wish to gain greater technology-related skills. The specialized areas of colleges of technology include industry, merchant marine-related studies, radio communication engineering and aviation (At present, there are no colleges of technology in Tokyo for merchant marine-related studies or radio communication engineering). Graduates of colleges of technology go directly into employment or continue their education at university.
- Evening high schools/correspondence courses
Some high schools offer evening classes or home correspondence courses for those who work during the daytime and vice versa, and wish to receive a high school diploma. The classes and courses allow once-truant students and dropouts to learn at his/her own pace.
High school graduates are entitled to take admission exams to junior colleges and universities. Also those who do not hold a high school diploma need to take and pass the Certificate for Students Achieving the Proficiency Level of Upper Secondary School Graduates to be eligible for universities’ admission exams.
- Junior colleges offer a two-year program, while universities offer a four-year program.
- Junior college/colleges of technology graduates may transfer to a four-year university course as a junior student.
University graduates who wish to further study in their specialized area may choose to continue their education to graduate school. Master’s programs offered at graduate schools are usually a two-year course.