Junior high school graduates may continue their education to high school or Technological colleges (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.)
- Technological colleges (kosen)
Combined with college-level education, technological colleges in Japan offer a five-year program to students who wish to gain greater technology-related skills. The specialized areas of technological colleges include industry, merchant marine-related studies, electronic/information engineering and aviation (At present, there are no technological colleges in Tokyo for merchant marine-related studies or electronic/information engineering). Graduates of technological colleges go directly into employment or continue their education at university.
- Evening classes/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.
- Those who do not hold a high school diploma need to take and pass a qualification test (commonly known as daiken) to be eligible for universities' admission exams.
- Junior colleges offer a two-year program, while universities offer a four-year program. Junior college/technology college 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.