Writing an education section for your resume is straightforward, but depending on your situation, it may be longer or shorter or sit on different parts of the page. This guide will show you how to write a resume education section for various scenarios, including for: high school students, those with incomplete degrees and college graduates. Plus, we’ll show you where to list it on your resume!
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How to list education on a resume
The education section of your resume is a dedicated space to list all of your formal schooling. If you’ve completed a college degree, it’s unnecessary to list your high school education.
Its goal is to show employers that you have the schooling to do the job.
Overall, the process of listing your education is always the same. You’ll list each school you attended in reverse-chronological (most recent first) order.
You need these details in each entry:
- The degree or certificate earned
- Name of the school that you attended
- The city/state location of the school
- The major(s) or focus of your study
Including the year you graduated and earned your degree is optional.
Adding the year hints at how old you are, which can lead to hiring bias issues. You should skip the graduation year if you’re over 40+ years old.
You should include the expected graduation year if you’re working on a degree but have yet to graduate.
Here are some education section examples based on degree level:
1High school only:
- High School Diploma | George F. Baker High School | Tuxedo Park, NY
2If you graduated high school and have an associate degree, list only the associate unless you are currently attending college:
- Associate of Science: Nursing Administration – Expected in May 2025 | Fox University | Newberg, OR High School Diploma | Habersham Central High School | Mount Airy, GA
3Associate and bachelor’s:
- Bachelor of Arts: English – May 2020 | University of California – Los Angeles | Los Angeles, CA
- Associate of Arts: Communication Studies – May 2017 | Foothill College | Los Altos, CA
- Bachelor of Arts: American and English Literature | Boston College | Chestnut Hill, MA
5Bachelor’s and master’s:
- Master of Science: Library And Information Science | Texas A&M University | College Station, TX
- Bachelor of Science: Library Sciences | University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX
6Bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D.:
- Ph.D.: Literature | Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Cambridge, MA
- Master of Arts: English Language and Literature | University of California – Santa Cruz | Santa Cruz, CA
- Bachelor of Arts: English | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Chapel Hill, NC
Where to list education on a
Where you include your education section on a resume depends on which resume format you choose. That all depends on your level of work experience.
Here is where to best showcase your educational experience in each of the three resume formats.
- Who should use this resume format: Mid-career, executive level (seasoned professionals with 10+ years experience)
- How education should appear: Your education section should be toward the end of your chronological resume because this format focuses on work accomplishments and a history of industry experience.
It’s also important to remember to omit your graduation date only if high school is your most recent experience or if you received your degree more than 10 years ago.
- Who should use this resume format: Entry-level, mid-career, executive level (seasoned professional with between 3-9 years experience).
- How education should appear: This section can be more toward the middle of your document. Your educational background and certifications can work in tandem with the skills you’ve chosen to highlight and the job history present in your work experience.
- Who should use this format: Little experience (less than two years), recent college grads and career changers.
- How education should appear: This is the format for you if you are a recent graduate, new to an industry or have a gap in your experience.
Education can be at the forefront of a functional resume. Include any extracurricular programs, all degree types, and certifications or training you might have received in lieu of work experience. This is a skills-based resume, so showcasing a range of knowledge is important.
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- Proper degree formatting
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How to prepare to write an
Preparing before you write your education section is crucial because you want to meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the job posting without including irrelevant information.
Here are some essential things to do before you write:
- Carefully read the job description.
- List accredited education (high school or advanced degrees).
- List certifications and training.
- List awards and honors.
With this information, writing your education section will be much easier.
Awards & honors section
If you lack much work experience, your education may be your best case for why you deserve a job.
So, it can be a good idea to bulk up your education history by including a special section titled “Awards & Honors.” Here you can list your academic achievements to show employers you’re smart, talented and hard-working.
Some examples include:
- AP Scholar with Honors
- DoDEA AP Scholar
- International Scholarship Award
- National AP Scholar
- National Student Volunteer Award
- President’s Award for Educational Achievement
- President’s Award for Educational Excellence
- President’s National Service Award
Certifications & training section
In some cases, you may wish to include educational experience that wasn’t at a formal school or university to beef up your education section.
This may include:
- Specialized programs
- Company courses
- Relevant workshops
- Certified online or offline experience
If you earned a certificate or did training, you should include it in its own section called “Certificates and Training.” Keep it separate from the more formal experience in your education section.
Here are examples of different certifications or training candidates might choose to highlight based on their education level:
1High school diploma & an internship or apprenticeship:
- Welding Technology certification
- EMT Paramedic certification
- Business Administration and Management training program
- FAA Certificate
2High school diploma and associate degree:
- Registered Nursing Certification
- Single Subject Credential
- Marketing Management certificate
- Human Resources training
- HRIS technologies certification
- UX customer certification
4Bachelor’s and Masters:
- CCSP Network Security
- Novell Certified Linux Professional 10 (NCLP10)
- Certified Information System Security Professional
5Bachelor’s, Master’s and Ph.D.:
- EKG-ECG certificate
- HIPAA Compliance
- Secondary Education credential
Resume Education FAQ
Should education be at the top or bottom of a resume?
Your education section’s location depends on your experience level. Someone using the standard chronological format would have their education section near the bottom of the document. In contrast, a recent graduate or someone in the academic field would have their education section more toward the center of their resume.
Should I put unfinished education on my resume?
Having some educational experience is always better than not including any. If you are currently in an education program, note your expected graduation date. If you started a program but did not complete it and it is relevant to your industry — format the section as usual but include the phrase “some college” or “to be completed in (year).”
Do you put current education on your resume?
Yes. Including current education is encouraged on a resume. You can format your section with your institution’s location, name and expected graduation date. Remember, current education and dates can be shown, but anything irrelevant or 10 years or more out of date should not be included.
Should I put my GPA on my resume?
Including your GPA can help you if you’re a recent graduate. However, for most people, it’s advised to leave your GPA off your resume.
Add your GPA to your education listing only if you meet these two points:
- It’s been under two years since you graduated. Otherwise, including your GPA may seem like bragging or hanging onto your student days.
- Your GPA is higher than 3.0. Anything less will not make a good impression, don’t include it.