An institution that offers educational instruction beyond the high school level in a two year or four-year program. For Example: North Shore Community College, Salem State College, Boston College, Merrimack College, Marian Court College.


An academic institution that grants undergraduate and graduate degrees in a variety of fields. It is composed of a number of “schools” or “colleges” that each encompasses a general field of study. For Example: Harvard University, Boston University, Tufts University, University of Massachusetts, University of New Hampshire.

Liberal Arts College

A four-year institution that emphasizes a broad educational foundation. For Example: Williams College, Amherst College, Swarthmore College, Middlebury College, Wellesley College, Bowdoin College.

Junior College

A two-year institution that provides career and vocational training programs, as well as academic programs of study. Academic programs at junior colleges prepare students to continue their studies at the college or university level. For Example: Becker College, Dean College, Fisher College, Hesser College, New England Institute of Technology

Engineering or Technical College

Independent professional schools that provide four-year training programs in the fields of engineering and the physical sciences (i.e., Institutes of Technology or Polytechnic Institute). For Example: Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Rensselaer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, Virginia Tech.

Technical School

A two-year institution that offers programs of study intended to prepare students for immediate employment in fields related to engineering and the physical sciences. These schools may also offer one-year certificate programs in certain craft and clerical skills. For Example: Universal Technical Institute, New England Institute of Technology, Lincoln Technical Institute, ITT Technical Institute, Johnson & Wales University. Search for schools by visiting the Technical School Guide at

Nursing School

There are three kinds of nursing schools. At schools affiliated with hospitals, students receive a Registered Nurse (RN) diploma upon successful completion of training and a state examination. At schools affiliated with four-year colleges, students receive both a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree and an RN diploma. Junior colleges and community colleges may offer a two-year nursing program that awards an Associates (AS) degree in nursing. For Example: Northeastern, Simmons, Boston College, University of Massachusetts, Salem State College

Military School

Federal military academies prepare officers for the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Merchant Marines. These institutions require recommendation and nomination by United States senators or congressmen. Private and state-supported military institutions, however, operate on a college application basis. They all offer degree programs in engineering and technology with concentration in various aspects of military science. For Example: United State Military Academy at West Point, United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, United States Coast Guard Academy at New London, United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point.

Business School

Business schools fall into two categories. At some colleges it is possible to specialize in business administration or in a two-year secretarial course in conjunction with supplementary liberal arts courses. Other institutions offer business or secretarial courses primarily and may or may not be regionally accredited. For Example: Babson College, Bentley College, Bryant College, William & Mary, Saint Michael’s College.

Trade School

Trade schools offer specialized training in specific fields such as cosmetology, computer technology, medical or dental technology, culinary arts, etc. For Example: Johnson & Wales, Empire Beauty Schools (Formerly Blaine), Wentworth Institute of Technology, New England Institute of Technology, Everest College.

Professional School

Professional schools offer specialized study in areas such as art, music, drama, dance, photography, etc. For Example: The Julliard School, Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory, Barnard College, Carnegie Mellon University.