A school is an educational establishment designed to offer learning spaces and specific learning environments for the learning of young children under the guidance of qualified teachers. Most developed countries have centralized systems of public schooling, which can be either mandatory or optional. In such systems, children progress through a fairly limited number of schools before reaching a level of graduation that will permit them to enter higher education. In the United States, a common system of education has been in place since the mid-nineteenth century, when Thomas Edison became the first person to apply the concept of magnetism to electrical engineering.
In the United States, the major pre-secondary educational institutions are community colleges, junior and community colleges, four-year universities, and the private secondary schools. An example of a non-formal educational institution designed for students to gain a non-technical understanding of working with materials is the welding and foundry school. An example of a formal educational institution designed for students to gain an advanced technical understanding of material processes and manufacturing techniques is a metal working school. Students who are preparing to enter careers in the armed services, commercial services, and emergency services are required by law to complete a period of specialized training. Usually this specialized training includes a period of study at a military or industry college.
In general, the most traditional types of schools are the traditional private schools that began as boarding and lodging schools and which, because of their uniform appearance and curriculum, are often associated with a social or cultural milieu. Examples of such schools include the Williams School and the private boarding school Montessori Institute. The other type of school is the university school, a college that offers degrees and certificate programs leading directly to professional careers. Examples of these schools include the Harvard University, the London School of Economics, and the Yale University. Professional schools that award doctorate degrees include the School of Pharmacy, the George Warren School, and the Medical Institute of Minnesota.
There are also independent, self-regulating organizations, including the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Academy of Pediatricians, the Academy of National Security Medicine, and the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. These organizations are not affiliated with any government or governing body and do not have centralized enrollment policies like the schools mentioned above. Free schools, public colleges, and universities can be found all over the United States and world.
For individuals interested in a career in healthcare and who are not affiliated with any institution of higher learning, there are various vocational schools, community colleges, and vocational/trade schools that offer certifications relevant to the healthcare field. Certifications offered by these institutions are often used as entrance criteria for entry into specialty colleges and universities. An example of a vocational school includes the Vocational Technical and Community College, which provide two concentrations: medical assisting and industrial health care. Community colleges include the vocational schools mentioned above, along with technical colleges and technical/trade schools.
For those parents seeking an alternative to sending their child to traditional institutions, there are numerous non-traditional programs available. Non-traditional schools include the following: adoption houses, orphanages, summer camps, day care centers, and homes for troubled teens. Most of these programs require a financial sponsorship from a parent or family member, and most of them require parental permission. Most adoptions are sponsored by religious organizations, and some are funded in part by the state. Since most of these programs are private, funding is limited, and applications are expected to be submitted in accordance with state guidelines.