Secondary school offers five years of general education, divided into two cycles. Cycle One, which lasts three years, enables students to consolidate the learning acquired in elementary school and to begin to think about their career options. At the end of the fifth year of secondary education, students are awarded a Secondary School Diploma (SSD) that provides access to college, but does not lead directly to university.
From the third year on (Cycle Two), students can carry on their general education or enroll in various vocational training programs leading to a trade. Some of these programs start in the third year of secondary school. Over 170 vocational training programs in 21 sectors allow young people and adults to earn a Diploma of Vocational Studies (DVS) and then, if they so choose, an Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS). After Secondary Three, students may also enroll in a program leading to an Attestation of Vocational Education (AVE) in order to prepare for a semiskilled occupation.