Further Education vs. Higher Education-The Difference

People sometimes see Higher Education as synonymous with Further Education; you may also think the same until now. However, in this article, you will find out that they do not mean the same thing. Nonetheless, both Higher Education and Further Education are post-high school realities. Let’s dig into further education vs. higher education

Towards the end of senior year in high school, students often decide about the future and pursue a career. Some who consider high school education as insufficient for a firm stance in the workforce see a need to study more. Most people in this category actually can afford university tuition.

However, for others, the end of high school is the end of their formal education. It happens for different reasons like finance and lack of interest. To this extent, not all high school graduates consider studying further before starting their careers. On the contrary, entrepreneurship-minded graduates are going after their careers or enterprises right after high school.

Whichever category you belong to, studying more or starting immediately after high school does not guarantee success or failure in your career/enterprise. It is all a matter of choice, but if you are in the “study more” category, you are either thinking of Further Education or Higher Education. If finance is what is holding you back, you should read about Further Education in this article. 

This article focuses on everything you should know about Further Education vs. Higher Education. First, however, we must acquaint ourselves with both Further Education and Higher Education separately to do justice to the subject. 

Here is a peek into what we will cover in this article:

  • Further Education
  • Higher Education
  • Further Education vs. Higher Education

So, let’s dive right in.

Further Education

After high school education, usually from the age of 16, you can take on Further Education. Any form of post-high school education does not take place in the university nor award students with undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. 

There are various courses under this category that are structured to equip you with vocational and workplace skills. Further Education issues diplomas, awards, and certificates at the end of the course.

Further Education courses usually take a short time to complete and are mostly part-time. However, with Further Education, you can become great at vocational skills like catering, hairstyling, childcare, web design, and fashion designing, among others. 

Also, to specialize in a specific technical job, you can take level 2 and 3 courses in the area/field of your choice. Students can obtain further education at Technical Colleges, Adult and Community Colleges, and Colleges of Further Education.

Higher Education

Higher Education refers to an education that takes place in the university. It implies both undergraduate and postgraduate studies. Higher Education is usually open to individuals from age 18 upwards. However, it is also post-high school education. It means you are only qualified for Higher Education when you have completed your high school education.

Usually, people can complete university courses or courses in Higher Education are over a more extended period, especially at the undergraduate level. With Higher Education, you get to gain a broader and higher knowledge in the academic field of your choice. You can also study to be a professional in specific careers like; Medicine, architecture, law, and agriculture, to name a few. For a guide on choosing a university course, click here.

Higher Education is often full-time over 2 to 8 years. At the end of your studies, at the undergraduate level, you are awarded with degrees including but not limited to; BSc (Bachelor of Science) and BA (Bachelor of Arts). At the postgraduate level, available degrees include but are not limited to; MSc (Master of Science), PGDip (Post Graduate Diploma), and Ph.D./Doctorate. Thus, higher education is an academic study path with a Doctorate at its highest level.

Further Education vs. Higher Education

Placing Further Education and Higher Education side by side, let us compare and contrast the two for the sake of better understanding.

Although they both are different, Further Education and Higher Education have certain similarities. They are both post-high school education, which means they both exist at the tertiary level of education. They are also both formal education, although Further Education could have some elements of semi-formality. In the end, they both serve the purpose of preparing you for your career in the labor world.

Despite the above mentioned, Further Education is not the same, neither does it serve the same purposes as Higher Education.

Comparing And Contrasting The Two


Further Education is generally more affordable than Higher Education in terms of tuition. Depending on the course and the school, the tuition for Further Education can be as low as $3. Averagely, the tuition for a course in Further Education is about 10% of that of Higher Education and sometimes less. So if you are thinking of affordability, pursuing a Higher Education degree may not be the best choice.


Completion of Higher Education courses has varying periods. But it often ranges from 2 years to 8 years. In contrast with Further Education, it takes more time to complete a course in Further Education in a couple of months. Many courses in Further Education are usually completed in less than a year.


The common reason for further education and Higher Education is to acquire the needed knowledge or skill to fit into the highly competitive labor market. Most of the graduates of Further Education are equipped with a vocational skill to turn to an enterprise. Entrepreneurship makes job search less of a problem as you can become self-employed and even employ others. Higher Education mostly makes job seekers and not job creators. The employment rate among university graduates is usually lower than among people who acquired vocational skills.


It is Crystal that the qualifications obtainable from either Further Education or Higher Education differ. Unlike Further Education, Higher Education gives honors that are often more highly esteemed in most societies like Doctor, Professor, engineer, barrister, etc. They often qualify you for high positions in the workforce. Society often regards someone with a qualification from Higher Education as more knowledgeable than someone with a certification from Further Education.

Generally speaking, if you choose Further Education over Higher Education, you should plan to start your enterprise. However, you may be asking at this point which one is better, seeing that they both have their unique strengths and weaknesses?

Further Education vs. Higher Education, Which is better? 

A direct response to this is, none is generally better than the other. Nevertheless, relatively, based on individual unique interest and pursuit, there is undoubtedly a better choice. 

In the view of employment opportunities, in the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century, people with Higher Education have more employment opportunities. In the present day, entrepreneurship is the trend. Most people want to be employers of labor, and the competition for employment is very high. As a result, people with Further Education thrive more, and the unemployment rate among people with Higher Education is high. Therefore, it means you stand a better chance in today’s society with Further Education than getting a job or building up your career is concerned.

Based on different personalities, the type of person you are can determine which one is better for you. For instance, Higher Education is more suited for people who like writing and researching. If you love academics, then it is better for you. Further education, on the other hand, works better for people who are more interested in practical classes. If you prefer being in the field, learning by doing, Further Education is the better choice for you.

Apart from your consideration of the cost in money and time, your goal matters a lot too. Some careers demand Higher Education while others vocational skill acquisition. For instance, if your goal is to start a career in Law, Higher Education is a better choice. Moreover, if you are looking at building a career in Interior or Fashion designing, Further Education will equip you perfectly.


Education is a never-ending engagement of every human—formal education for those interested in it and pursuing it. After high school, formal education becomes more of choice than ever before. Those who choose to continue then have a choice to make. If you are making a choice, I bet you want to choose right. There may be no general ‘right’ but knowing all you need to know about Further Education vs. Higher Education will help you determine what works best. 

You should note that the Education system today does not limit you to either of the two. You can have both Further Education and Higher Education. It puts you at a higher advantage as you can easily use either or both to start and build your career. 

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