Types of Schools in PA Today

There are different types of schools in Pennsylvania. Each type of school offers different styles of curricula aiming to provide the best education for a particular student. Additionally, each type of school has different requirements for things such as enrollment, tuition, and funding. Check out the information below to learn more about some of the different types of schools offered in our state.

Career and Technical Education


Brochure from Eastern Montgomery County Area Vocational Technical School, HSMC Collection

Career and technical eduction (CTE) use a combination of classes and hands-on learning to prepare students for a particular career. These programs are approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and students decided if they want to attend a particular technical school. Students can sometimes even participate in Advanced Placement or Honors courses in their local public school district. Montgomery County has four technical schools: Central MontCo. Technical High School, Eastern Center for Arts & Tech, Western Center for Technical and North MontCo. Tech Career Center.


Home School/Private Tutors 

Students in grades K-12 have the option to be Home Schooled, provided Pennsylvania State regulations and guidelines are followed. This includes evaluations to ensure the student is being taugh what is expected of their age group. In some cases, these students may be allowed to particiate in extracurricular activities such as School Athletics, Publications, and Organizations.


Postsecondary and Higher Educaiton

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Bryn Mawr College, HSMC Collection

After high school, students have the option to pursue further education. Some of these options include, but ar not limited to: Community College, a four-year College/University, and certification programs. Depending on the student's desired career pather and financial status, attending one of these additional education programs will help prepare them for their career.

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Ursinus College Commencement 1889, HSMC Collection


Nonpublic and Private Schools

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Oakland Female Institute, HSMC Collection

Some students attend private or other nonpublic schools. These schools often have a unique educational or religious philosophy. Some are even designed for special education and tutoring. These schools can be licensed, nonpublic unlicensed, or accredited schools. The State Board of Private Academic Schools set standards for licensed schools and the State Board of Education oversees the accreditation process. Some religious schools may choose to be unlicensed by the state, but they are still required to register with the Pennsylvania Department of Education.


Treemont Seminary, HSMC Collection

From the 1600s to present day, Montgomery County is home to a wide variety of unique private schools. Some of the earliest schools were run by local Quaker meetinghouses, some of which still operate to this day. Boarding schools like Treemont Seminary and schools for orphans like the Carson Valley School were also a common type of school in the county. Today, there are even more private schools with unique education philiosophies such as: Miquon, AIM, and The Hill School, to name a few.


Public Schools


Whitpain Public School, HSMC Collection

Every student has the option to go to a local public K-12 school. Depending on population, towns are lumped together into school districts. Each school district receives funding from local taxes, state government, and federal government. Montgomery County has 23 public school districts:

  1. Abington
  2. Bryn Athyn
  3. Boyertown
  4. Cheltenham
  5. Colonial
  6. Hatboro-Horsham
  7. Jenkintown
  8. Lower Merion
  9. Lower Moreland
  10. Methacton
  11. Norristown Area School District
  12. North Penn
  13. Perkiomen
  14. Pottsgrove
  15. Pottstown
  16. Souderton
  17. Sprinfield
  18. Spring-Ford
  19. Upper Dublin
  20. Upper Merion 
  21. Upper Moreland
  22. Upper Perkiomen
  23. Wissahickon


Public School District Map, Photo Credit: MontCo. Chamber of Commerce 


Charter Schools

Charter Schools are independently operated public schools. Some of them are traditional brick-and-mortar schools and others are virtual only. They do not charge students tuition and receive most of their funding from the students' resident public school districts. Charter Schools can be established by any individual or group, provided state requirements are met. Local school boards or the Pennsylvania Department of Education conducts a review every five years to determine if the school will remain open.

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