School-based vocational training in Germany

If you want to do vocational training in healthcare, social services or technical professions, you can do school-based vocational training in Germany. We explain the most important facts about school-based vocational training in Germany.

School-based vocational training in Germany: What is it?

The most common form of vocational training in Germany is dual vocational training: Here you learn a profession in a company and in a vocational school at the same time. This form is also called in-company vocational training in Germany because it takes place in a company and you are employed by a company in this form of vocational training.

Another possible form of training is school-based vocational training in GermanyThis training does not take place partly in a company, but only at a vocational school or a vocational college. Here you are not an apprentice in a company, but you learn practically full-time at the school desk.

Which professions can be learned?

You will find a variety of professions that you can learn this way at a vocational school or a vocational college. School-based vocational training in Germany is particularly typical in the fields of health care, social services and some technical professions.

For example, you can find offers for the following professions:

  • nurse
  • Physiotherapist
  • kindergarten teacher
  • medical-technical assistant

There are many other professions that you can learn in a school-based vocational training in Germany and the offer is constantly growing. Many – but not all – of the more than 350 accredited vocational training programs in Germany are school-based.

Duration and costs

School-based vocational training in Germany is usually full-time. The duration and the curricula are fixed for the individual professions, but there are different vacation periods from school to school, which interrupt the training periods.

In a school-based vocational training in Germany, you learn exclusively in a vocational school or a vocational college.

In contrast to in-company training, you will not usually receive a monthly training allowance for school-based training in Germany; in many cases, you will even have to pay for this training. If you attend a state vocational school or a state vocational college, there are usually no fees. However, this may be the case with privately run vocational colleges or vocational schools.

When is school-based vocational training in Germany suitable for internationals?

Foreigners can also complete school-based vocational training in Germany. If you complete a dual vocational training program (in-company training) in Germany, you will receive a monthly training salary of between 800 and 1,200 euros. From this, you can usually cover your essential monthly costs in Germany.

You do not usually have this income with school-based vocational training in Germany. You will therefore have to pay for the following costs yourself each month:

  • Rent
  • Electricity and heat
  • Food
  • Travel costs
  • Insurances
  • Telephone and Internet
  • clothing
  • possibly costs for the training itself.

Since you are doing the vocational training in Germany full-time, you have very few opportunities to earn extra money. You will need savings, a loan or the support of your family.

School-based vocational training in Germany
School-based vocational training in Germany is particularly widespread in the fields of healthcare, nursing and some technical professions.

If you apply for a school-based vocational training in Germany as a foreigner from a non-EU country, you usually need a visa. Here the authorities almost always check whether you have these financial means – you often need a blocked account for this.

EU citizens do not need a visa and can start this kind of education without a visa. It is important for EU citizens as well as for internationals from third countries: You should have German language skills on level B1 or higher, since the lessons are exclusively in German and you should understand most of it from the beginning.

What should I look for when choosing school-based vocational training in Germany?

We strongly recommend that you clarify the following points, among others:

  • Is it an accredited vocational training in Germany?
  • Does the vocational school or college you have chosen have a good reputation?
  • How expensive is the vocational training?
  • Does the vocational school have ties to certain companies that can offer you a job later?

The Admission Process for School-Based Vocational Training

The admission process for school-based vocational training programs in Germany typically begins with researching various schools and programs that align with your career goals. Once you have identified suitable programs, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with their specific admission requirements. These may include a minimum age, language proficiency, and educational qualifications.

Germany’s vocational training system is known for its strong focus on practical skills and employability. According to a study by the German Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), around 78% of students who completed a vocational training program found employment within one year of graduation. This high employment rate demonstrates the effectiveness of Germany’s vocational training system in preparing students for the job market.

It’s also essential to gather all necessary documentation, such as transcripts, diplomas, and language certificates, and submit a complete application by the designated deadline. Some programs may require additional steps like interviews or entrance exams to assess applicants’ suitability and skills.

Obtaining a visa for Germany may require a blocked account. Blocked accounts are offered by specialized companies as Coracle*, expatrio*, and Fintiba* in Germany.

Internship Opportunities in School-Based Vocational Training

Internships play a vital role in school-based vocational training, as they provide students with practical, hands-on experience in their chosen fields. Many vocational schools in Germany have strong connections with local industries and companies, allowing them to arrange internships for their students. Internships are typically part-time and you can complete them during the school year or summer breaks, depending on the program’s structure.

The duration of internships may vary, but they generally last several weeks to a few months. These opportunities enable students to apply the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired in the classroom to real-world work environments, making them more attractive to future employers.

Exploring Specializations in School-Based Vocational Training

Germany’s school-based vocational training system offers a wide range of specializations, catering to diverse career interests and skills. Some of the most popular fields include healthcare, social work, engineering, and media. Within these broader categories, there are numerous niche areas and specific professions students can choose to pursue.

The number of foreign students participating in school-based vocational training in Germany has been steadily increasing. In 2020, approximately 12.3% of all new vocational training contracts were signed by foreign students, according to the German Federal Statistical Office (Destatis). This trend highlights the growing international appeal of Germany’s vocational training system.

For example, healthcare specializations may cover nursing, medical technology, or physiotherapy, while engineering programs can focus on mechanical, electrical, or civil engineering. It’s important to thoroughly research available specializations to select a program that matches your aptitude, interests, and future career aspirations.

Recognition of German Vocational Qualifications Abroad

German vocational qualifications are generally well-regarded internationally, thanks to the country’s reputation for high-quality education and training. However, the specific recognition of qualifications may vary depending on the destination country and the profession in question. To ensure that your German vocational qualification is recognized abroad, it’s essential to research the target country’s regulations, professional licensing requirements, and potential credential evaluation processes.

In some cases, you may need to provide additional documentation, complete further training or exams, or obtain a professional license to practice your profession in another country.

Online and Distance Learning Options in School-Based Vocational Training

As technology advances and education adapts to modern demands, more school-based vocational training programs in Germany are offering online or distance learning options. These flexible learning formats allow students to access course materials, complete assignments, and participate in virtual classes from anywhere with an internet connection.

While online and distance learning options may not be available for all specializations, particularly those requiring extensive hands-on practice, many programs are incorporating these formats to accommodate students with varying needs and schedules. It’s important to research the specific requirements of online and distance learning programs, as they may differ from traditional in-person courses in terms of technology, student support, and assessment methods.

Questions and answers

  1. What is school-based vocational training in Germany?

    School-based vocational training, known as “schulische Ausbildung,” combines classroom learning with practical experience to prepare students for specific careers. These programs are offered at vocational schools and do not include a mandatory company-based apprenticeship.

  2. Who can apply for school-based vocational training in Germany?

    Both German citizens and foreign students with a valid residence permit can apply for school-based vocational training. Admission requirements vary depending on the program and may include minimum age, language proficiency, and educational qualifications.

  3. How long does school-based vocational training typically last?

    The duration of school-based vocational training varies depending on the program, but it typically lasts between two and three years. Some programs may be shorter or longer, depending on the complexity of the profession and required qualifications.

  4. Is school-based vocational training free in Germany?

    Most public vocational schools in Germany offer tuition-free programs, but students may need to cover costs for materials, books, or other expenses. Private vocational schools may charge tuition fees, which can vary depending on the institution and program.

  5. Are there any financial support options available for students in vocational training?

    Students in school-based vocational training may be eligible for financial assistance through programs such as BAföG (Federal Training Assistance Act) or scholarships. Eligibility and the amount of support depend on various factors, including personal circumstances, financial need, and academic performance.

  6. What qualifications will I receive upon completing school-based vocational training?

    Upon successful completion of school-based vocational training, you will receive a recognized vocational qualification, called a “Berufsabschluss.” This qualification is an important credential for starting your career in your chosen profession.

  7. Can I combine school-based vocational training with higher education?

    Yes, some programs, known as “dual study” or “Duale Studiengänge,” combine vocational training with a bachelor’s degree program. These programs usually require collaboration between a vocational school, a company, and a university.

  8. Is it possible to switch from school-based vocational training to an apprenticeship?

    Yes, it’s possible to switch from school-based vocational training to a dual apprenticeship program, depending on the profession and availability of apprenticeship positions. You may need to apply directly to companies and demonstrate your qualifications and experience gained during your vocational training.

  9. Do I need to speak German to enroll in school-based vocational training?

    Proficiency in German is usually a requirement for school-based vocational training, as most programs are taught in German. Some programs may require a specific language proficiency level, such as B1 or B2, according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

  10. Can I work while enrolled in school-based vocational training?

    It’s possible to work part-time while attending school-based vocational training, but you should consider your workload and program requirements. Balancing work and studies can be challenging, so make sure you can manage both commitments effectively.

  11. How do I find a suitable school-based vocational training program in Germany?

    To find a suitable program, you can search for vocational schools and their offerings online or contact the local Chamber of Commerce (IHK) for advice. It’s important to research various schools and programs to find the best fit for your career goals.

  12. What are the prospects for employment after completing school-based vocational training in Germany?

    Employment prospects vary depending on your chosen profession and the job market in your region. However, Germany’s vocational training system is highly regarded and often leads to successful employment.

Enhancing Language Skills in School-Based Vocational Training

Language proficiency is a critical factor for success in school-based vocational training programs in Germany, as most courses are taught in German. To help non-German speakers meet language requirements, many vocational schools offer language courses tailored to their programs. These courses often focus on industry-specific vocabulary and communication skills necessary for the chosen profession.

In addition to language courses offered by vocational schools, students can also explore external language schools or online platforms to further develop their language skills. Developing a strong foundation in German not only improves academic performance but also increases employability and integration into the German job market and society.

Support for Students with Disabilities in School-Based Vocational Training

Germany is committed to providing equal educational opportunities for all students, including those with disabilities. Vocational schools strive to offer an inclusive learning environment by implementing reasonable accommodations and support services to meet the diverse needs of their students. Some common accommodations include accessible facilities, assistive technology, modified course materials, and additional examination time.

Pursuing a global career often entails relocating to a new country, which makes finding the right accommodation crucial. To streamline your search, consider exploring the options available on HousingAnywhere.

Support services may consist of specialized counseling, tutoring, and mentorship programs to help students with disabilities succeed in their vocational training. It’s essential for students with disabilities to research available support options and communicate their needs with their chosen vocational schools to ensure a successful and inclusive learning experience.

Career Counseling and Guidance in School-Based Vocational Training

To help students make informed decisions about their future careers, many vocational schools in Germany provide career counseling and guidance services. These services can include individual counseling sessions, group workshops, and career fairs, all aimed at supporting students in identifying their strengths, interests, and suitable career paths.

Vocational training programs in Germany have gained significant popularity over the years, with more than half a million students enrolling in such programs annually. Approximately 500,000 new vocational training contracts are signed each year. This high demand for vocational training reflects the importance of skilled labor and the recognition of its value within the German job market.

Career counselors can offer valuable advice on the job market, application processes, and networking opportunities. Additionally, vocational schools often collaborate with local industries and companies, providing students with valuable connections and resources for their future careers. Taking advantage of these career counseling and guidance services can play a vital role in students’ overall success and smooth transition from vocational training to the job market.


School-based vocational training in Germany can be a good choice for you if:

  • you are not dependent on a training salary
  • you want to reach your goal quickly and do not want any practical parts in the company
  • you are sure that you have a job in a company in prospect
  • there is a vocational college or vocational school in your area.

As everywhere else, think through your steps towards education, vocational training in Germany and choosing a job, and get advice from suitable people. Also check whether it is possible for you to start a dual study program in Germany.

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