Do I qualify for a vocational training course in Germany?

If you want to learn a trade in Germany, there are certain requirements you have to meet. For example, you may need a long-term visa in order to stay in Germany for the entire duration of your vocational training. Which specific requirements apply to you depends on the country you come from. In addition, you should have adequate German language skills.

Do I qualify for a vocational training course in Germany?


Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland

Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland

You are welcome to start vocational training in Germany any time. You do not require a visa for entering Germany or starting a vocational training programme. If you would like to live in Germany, all you need to do is register as a resident at a local registry office (called Einwohnermeldeamt or Bürgeramt). Further information on this subject can be found in our guide to "Living in Germany".

Citizens from other countries

You are welcome to start vocational training in Germany any time. In order to do so you will need a visa. You can apply for a visa at the German mission in your country. To be granted a visa, you have to meet the following criteria:

  • You have found a vocational training place with a German company.
  • The German Federal Employment Agency has approved your vocational training because there are no German candidates or candidates from a privileged country (such as an EU country) for the respective position. Candidates holding a school-leaving certificate from a German school abroad are exempt from this provision. Furthermore, your employment conditions must not be different from those of German employees.

When applying for a visa you have to prove that you are capable of paying for your living, no matter if you are pursuing a dual or school-based vocational training course. This is particularly important when you start a school-based training programme, because on most of the programmes you won’t be earning money.

For further information on visa requirements and the documents you need for visa applications like German language skills, please contact the German mission in your country of residence. The addresses of the German missions abroad can be found on our interactive “local contacts” world map.

You would like to work in another job while pursuing vocational training? You are allowed to work up to ten hours per week in a job that is not related to your vocational training. For example, you may work at a restaurant while training as a mechatronics engineer.

School-leaving certificates

School-leaving certificates

What kind of school-leaving certificate you need for taking up vocational training in Germany depends on the occupation and programme you’re interested in:

  • Dual vocational training: You do not need a school-leaving certificate in order to start training at a company in Germany. Each company decides at its own discretion which qualifications their candidates need. However, if a company has several candidates to choose from, a school-leaving certificate, good results and adequate German language skills may be the key to getting the place. At BERUFENET (German) you can check your chances of getting a place as a trainee in your preferred occupation. First of all, search for the occupation you want to train for. Then click on “Ausbildung” to find out more about the admission requirements for your chosen training programme.

  • School-based vocational training: In order to be admitted to a course at a Berufsfachschule or Berufskolleg you will need to have completed general education and provide a school-leaving certificate from a school equivalent to either a Gymnasium or Realschule. For some vocational training programmes you also need to prove that you already have some work experience in that area (e.g. through an internship). Furthermore, some training programmes may have minimum age requirements. More detailed information on admission requirements for various vocational training programmes is available at BERUFENET (German).

  • Dual vocational degrees: In order to be admitted to a dual vocational degree combining academic studies and training in a company, you need a university entrance qualification. In addition, you have to sign a training contract with a company.

Recognition of school-leaving certificates

In order to find out whether you meet the requirements for a specific vocational training course, you should have your school-leaving certificate recognised. The recognition process establishes which German qualification your school-leaving certificate corresponds to, e.g. whether it is equivalent to a certificate from a Realschule or a German university entrance qualification. This will also make it easier for German companies to assess your qualifications. Click here (German) to find out who is responsible for recognising your school certificates in Germany. If you merely want to translate proof of your school education or work experience and present it in a clear and understandable form, you may want to try the europass.

Language skills

Language skills

If you like to apply for vocational trainig in Germany, the German language skills are very important. Therefore, you should be aware that communication at your vocational school and the company where training takes place will be in German.

Use our interactive world map “local contacts” to locate a German language course in your country of origin. Further information on language courses in Germany can be found in our guide to "Living in Germany".

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Information on this portal

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Short introduction to dual vocational training in Germany

Finding a vocational training programme you will enjoy

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