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.
Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF)
Summary of German school qualifications (English, German, etc.)