School-based vocational training differs from dual training in that you will spend less time training at a company. You will learn theory and practice of your future occupation at a vocational school, called either Berufsfachschule or Berufskolleg. This will be complemented by extended periods of on-the-job training at a company or social institution where you can apply the knowledge you acquired at school. This form of vocational training is very common in nursing, in the design/creative industry, and in the fields of business and engineering.
School-based vocational training usually lasts between one and three years. It is offered by state and private schools. Private schools often charge fees. In contrast to dual training programmes, you will not receive a salary during school-based vocational training. The only exception is healthcare/nursing where trainees will work in hospitals or nursing homes for extended periods of on-the-job training. These trainees will receive a salary for the entire course of their training programme. For example: as a trainee nurse you will earn 956 Euros/month gross in your first year, 1017 Euros in your second, and 1118 Euros in your third year.
Further information on the requirements for starting school-based vocational training in Germany is available under „Do I qualify for a vocational training in Germany?“.
Dual vocational degrees
A dual vocational degree (ausbildungsintegriertes duales Studium) is a special form of degree programme. It integrates studies at a higher education institution such as a university or berufsakademie and on-the-job training at a company. This means that you will obtain both a degree and a recognised professional qualification. This kind of integrated dual degree course is particularly common in the areas of business and engineering (e.g. business studies, mechanical engineering or IT).
In contrast to regular university degree programmes, dual vocational degrees do not primarily focus on academic studies. In addition to the theory that is taught at a higher education institution or Berufsakademie, students also undergo on-the-job training at a company. This provides them with the necessary work experience that opens up excellent career opportunities. Moreover, students receive a salary like any other trainee during the time they work for their company.
Dual vocational degree programmes usually last between three and five years. In most cases, the vocational part is limited to two years to make sure that there is enough time for the academic part. You can only participate in this kind of degree course if you have the required entrance qualification for German universities. The first step is to apply at a company that will be responsible for your practical training. Then you enrol for a degree course at the university your company cooperates with.
A list of dual vocational degree courses including companies that offer traineeships is available on the “Ausbildung Plus” portal. Simply enter “ausbildungsintegriertes duales Studium” in the search field. Please make sure to apply early, as these degree courses are very popular.
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)
The dual vocational training system in Germany (PDF) (German, English)
Federal Employment Agency (BA)
Career counselling, trainee placement services and financial support for trainees (English, German, Arabic)
Berufliche Bildung – Praktisch unschlagbar!
Useful links on vocational training (German)
Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
Profiles of several occupations requiring vocational training (English, German)
Chamber of commerce Hamburg
Information on dual vocational training (German, English)
German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH)
Vocational training in crafts (English, German, French)