Secondary school education

Children between the ages of 13 and 17 prepare for university education and active integration into the workplace.


Secondary school education lasts four years and is divided into two areas: scientific-humanistic and technical-professional.

Scientific-humanistic education is divided into two cycles and includes general education subjects which aim to prepare students to enter university.

The first cycle is ninth and tenth grade, while the second cycle is eleventh and twelfth grade. Technical-professional education aims to prepare students for the workplace. The same is made up of different categories: commercial, industrial, agricultural and maritime: these are chosen starting in tenth grade.

After completing a high school education under any category, students receive a high school diploma and are ready to enter university. Likewise, those graduating from technical-professional institutions are awarded a technical degree in the specialty they have studied.

Up until 2003, only elementary education was obligatory. Starting in 2003, a constitutional reform established that high school was free and obligatory for all Chileans under the age of 18. The State thus became responsible for guaranteeing access to twelve years of elementary and high school education.

Students graduating from high school and planning to enter state-owned and private universities are required to take the university placement test (PSU). According to their scores on this test, these students will be allowed to enter different careers at the different universities throughout the country.

Additional information is available at the Educational Establishments Directorate.