Education and training
You can find the answers to questions such as how you can learn a trade, where to find out what trades you can learn leading to a Federal VET Certificate or Diploma and why continuing education and training after your apprenticeship are important here.
How do I learn a trade?
After compulsory schooling, two out of three young people in Switzerland complete an apprenticeship. Adults can complete an apprenticeship too. Depending on the trade the apprenticeship lasts three or four years. After they have successfully completed their training and passed their exams, apprentices are awarded a Federal Vocational Education and Training Diploma. Less academic students can complete a two-year apprenticeship, which leads to a Federal Vocational Education and Training Certificate.
Vocational education in Switzerland is special because of the combination of school and practical work. This is known as the “dual system”. Generally speaking, apprentices work for four days per week – it may be fewer in some trades – in a company where they learn practical skills. On the remaining days of the week, they attend a vocational training school where they learn the theory.
Apprentices who are academically gifted can also attend a course at the vocational baccalaureate school, which leads to a vocational baccalaureate. The course can be completed at the same time as the apprenticeship, or afterwards.
There are various routes by which adults who do not have upper secondary vocational education and training can attain a vocational qualification. Ask your job coach or visit the berufsberatung.ch portal.
What Federal VET (EBA) Certificate courses are available?
There are more than 60 Federal VET Certificate trades in numerous fields. The berufsberatung.ch portal contains a summary.
When you have successfully completed an apprenticeship, you can look for a job and work in the trade you have learned. If you do well, there may be an option for you to study further and obtain a Federal VET Diploma (EFZ).
What Federal VET (EFZ) Diploma courses are available?
There are more than 180 Federal VET Diploma trades in various fields. The berufsberatung.ch portal contains a summary.
When you have successfully completed an apprenticeship, you can look for a job and work in the trade you have learned. There is also the possibility of completing tertiary professional education and training. If you have a vocational baccalaureate, you can attend a course at a University of Applied Sciences. A supplementary exam or university aptitude test will give you access to all the courses at Universities of Applied Sciences and Universities of Teacher Education in Switzerland.
What are my options if I have completed a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate?
The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate forms a suitable basis for admission to tertiary-level education and numerous further education courses.
Holders of a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate are eligible to enrol on a trade-related course of study at a University of Applied Sciences without having to pass an exam. Additional admission criteria, such as practical work experience, suitability tests, etc. may apply in addition to the formal admission criteria.
What is the university aptitude test or supplementary exam? What is it for?
If you have passed the university aptitude test or supplementary exam in addition to the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate, you can enrol at a Swiss University of Applied Sciences or a University of Teacher Education. You can prepare for the university aptitude test either by studying on your own, or by taking a university aptitude exam course.
What is the point of continuing education and training after a vocational diploma?
Continuing education and training (CET) helps to improve and update your existing skills, abilities and knowledge and to extend them to new areas and tasks. CET studies are usually completed in addition to your daytime job.
What CET courses are available after an apprenticeship? Who finances them?
There are very many opportunities to obtain continuing education and training, in the form of courses, seminars, shorter or longer training courses. Some lead to state-recognised professions or qualifications/titles. You have to pay for a lot of CET yourself, or the company for which you work may pay for part of the cost. The Swiss government provides financial assistance for many courses.