Post-secondary non-tertiary education provides learning experiences building on secondary education, preparing for labour market entry as well as tertiary education. It typically targets students who have completed upper secondary education (ISCED level 3), but who want to increase their opportunities either to enter the labour market or progress to tertiary education. Programmes are often not significantly more advanced than those at upper secondary education as they typically serve to broaden – rather than deepen – knowledge, skills and competencies. It therefore aims at learning below the high level of complexity characteristic of tertiary education (ISCED level 4).
In all OECD countries, adults with tertiary education earn considerably more than adults with below upper secondary education. Indeed, between 2000 and 2011, only in a few countries for which information is available for both years – Germany, Hungary and Switzerland – the earnings of adults with below upper secondary education have undergone some increase when compared with earnings of adults with upper secondary or post-secondary non-tertiary education (OECD, 2013: 101).