How To List Education on a Resume (With Examples)

Updated July 14, 2023

Education is one of a few key sections employers look for on resumes. This information will inform interviewers of your background, which can be a helpful way to understand more about your fit for the role. If your education is particularly relevant to the position or includes any credentials that are required for the job, this section may quickly set you apart from other candidates.

Resume Format
Image description

"Resume Format" is the title of this infographic that shows an image of an example resume.

On the left side of the infographic, a numbered list points to each section of the resume.

  1. Name and contact information

  2. Summary or objective

  3. Professional history
    a. Company name
    b. Dates of tenure
    c. Description of role and achievement

  4. Education

  5. Skills

  6. Optional (Awards & Achievements, Hobbies & Interests)

On the right side of the image is a sample resume with the name Janet Chobot and lines representing text underneath. Then the headlines Summary, Professional History, Educational History, Skills, and Awards & Achievements. Under each section are lines representing text.

You have several options when it comes to choosing where and how you list education on your resume. You can identify the best place to put your education on your resume by carefully reading job descriptions. This will often help you understand whether certain levels of education are essential, nice-to-have or unnecessary for each role.

Read more: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing

Information to include in your resume education section

Hiring managers are looking for a few basic pieces of information when they scan your education section, including:

  • The name of your school

  • Location of your school

  • The degree you obtained (if applicable)

  • Your field of study

  • Graduation year (if applicable)

  • Your GPA (Note: You may not want to include this if it’s not above 3.4)

  • Any relevant honors or academic recognition, coursework, activities or other achievements obtained during your education

Though varying levels of detail are required for different jobs, the education section is often the shortest portion of the resume—try keeping it around 15–30 words.

It’s important to format your educational experience to match the requirements of the job you’re applying for. For example, a recent graduate will want to include more detail and place the education section in a prominent position on their resume because this is the bulk of their experience.

Alternatively, a person who has been in the workforce for several years will move their education section below their professional experience and keep this section short because their interviewers will be more interested in the work they’ve done at previous employers.

When it comes to listing education on a resume, HR personnel advise candidates to balance showcasing their educational background and emphasizing their professional experience. Remember, the goal is to present a compelling snapshot of your qualifications, enabling employers to understand your expertise and how it aligns with their needs.
Lewis Kiptanui, SHRP

Related: How To Include Your High School Education on a Resume

What employers look for in the education section of your resume

Each employer searches for different things in your education and what they look for depends on the requirements for the job. If you’re applying for an entry-level job, the hiring manager might want to see that you have a high school diploma or college degree. A recruiter seeking a director of a department might be looking for business or managerial training, like an MBA.

The educational requirements of a job are often listed under a “requirements” or “education” section on the job description, so read carefully to see if your background is a good match.

There are some professions such as finance or healthcare where specific certifications or degrees are essential to getting the job. If you know a potential employer will need to see that you have the right credentials before considering your other experience, place your education at the top of the page just below your contact information and professional summary.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you document your education is honesty. Potential employers may conduct a background check before offering you a job. If they come across information that’s different from what’s on your resume, this could hurt your chances of getting the job.

Listing your education on a resume should be strategic and concise. It's essential to highlight the most relevant and recent educational experiences that align with the job requirements. Focus on providing key details such as the degree earned, institution name and graduation year. Emphasize any honors, scholarships or academic achievements that demonstrate your exceptional abilities.

Lewis Kiptanui, SHRP

Related: How to Write a Resume Education Summary (With Examples and Tips)

How to list completed education (with examples)

Recent Graduate (1-5 years)
If you’ve recently graduated, place your education section before or in line with your work experience. Your schooling is likely the most prominent piece of your resume, so it is acceptable to make this one of the first sections for employers to see. You can also include your attendance dates, any honors received (cum laude, etc.) and GPA if above 3.4. If you attended multiple schools, include the most prominent one where you were most involved. Here’s an example:

University of Hawaii, 2011–2016
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Business Essentials Certificate
Terry Scholar

Experienced Professional (5 or more years)
If you’ve been in the workforce for several years, move your education section below your professional experience. Your interviewers will be more interested in what you’ve achieved in recent years rather than in your academic career. You can also remove more specific details of your education section like attendance dates and GPA if you’d like. The more you can create interest around your work experience, the better. If you have advanced degrees like your master's or Ph.D., include those in rank order of level (ex. Ph.D., master’s, bachelor’s, etc.). In this example, the candidate included two diplomas:

Atlanta Graduate School of Management | Atlanta, GA
Master’s of Business Administration (MBA)
Master’s of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)

University of Georgia | Athens, GA
Bachelor’s of Accountancy

Read more: 27 Proofreading Tips That Will Improve Your Resume

How to list incomplete or in-progress education (with examples)

In-progress education
If you’re not finished with your degree, you can still include work you’ve done and when you plan to graduate. Employers are interested in what you’re studying and any specific coursework or special recognitions relevant to the job. If you’re still a student, place the education section just below your contact information and summary statement.

Be sure to include the following information:

  • Name of institution

  • Degree type

  • Year of intended graduation

If appropriate, consider adding these pieces of optional information:

  • Honors or other academic achievements

  • Your GPA, if its a 3.4 or above

  • Relevant coursework

  • Extracurricular activities or organizations

Here are a couple of examples of high school and college student education sections for reference if this is applicable for your situation:

Waters High School | Waters, VA
Expected Diploma, 2019 (GPA: 3.6)
National Honor Society, Vice President
Marching Band, Section Leader

University of Kentucky | Lexington, KY
B.A. in Accounting candidate | Diploma expected 2019
Prominent Coursework: Intro to Risk Management, Actuary Sciences
Honors: Member, Phi Mu Epsilon
Johnson Academic Achievement Scholarship

Incomplete education
If you have incomplete education, you can list any completed coursework in your education section. You can take steps to boost the section with certifications or other professional development achievements. You can even consider having a separate professional development section, showcasing how you’ve continued education relevant to the job. This is often just as valuable to employers if directly related to experiences you’ll have on the job. Here are a few examples:

University of Alabama | Birmingham, Alabama
Completed Coursework: Calculus, Accounting for Nonprofits, Finance 101 & 102

General Education Development Certificate
Certification in Grant Writing, Notre Dame Online (2015)

Valley High School | Valley, Maine
Professional Development: Online Coursework on Photography Basics, Advanced Photography, Photography in History

Buckington College, 2011–2013 | Toros, Georgia
Completed 32 credits, including 16 credits in administration.

You have a few choices on what to include in the education section of your resume, where to place it and how to make it appealing to potential employers. For placement on your resume, think about where you are in your career and what you want to emphasize. If education is the most prominent part of your experience, place it towards the top. If you have several years of experience, you may want to place education below that.

When deciding on content, be honest and strategic. Include important pieces of your ongoing education that are relevant to the position. That can include coursework, certifications, honors, affiliations and more.

When you get an interview, plan to discuss your background. Your interviewer may ask you to explain or give more detail on the educational experiences you’ve listed, so be prepared to answer this and any other follow-up questions they may have on your qualifications.

Read more: How to Write a Resume Education Summary (With Examples and Tips)

Explore more articles

  • 11 Careers in Chemistry (And the Qualifications You'll Need)
  • 10 Careers in Human Resources Management
  • How Long Does It Take to Become a Doctor?
  • EMT vs. EMS: What's the Difference? (Plus Definition)
  • 7 Nursing Certificate Programs and Their Requirements
  • Loan Originator vs. Loan Officer: What’s the Difference?
  • What Does a Theatre Director Do? (With Responsibilities and Skills)
  • What Is Level 3 Support? Definition and Examples
  • How To Find Mystery Shopper Jobs (Plus Important Qualities)
  • What Does HR Status Progress Mean? (With Types)
  • Requirements for Becoming a Day Care Worker
  • What Is the Difference Between a Database Engineer and a Database Administrator?