School-based vocational training
School-based vocational training differs from dual vocational training in that you will spend less time training at a company. You will learn the 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 takes one to three years to complete. It is offered by state and private schools. Private schools often charge fees. In contrast to dual vocational 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 vocational training programme. For example: as a trainee nurse you will receive a gross salary of €1,191 per month in your first year, €1,252 in your second year, and €1,353 in your third year.
Further information on the requirements for starting school-based vocational training in Germany is available in the “Do I qualify for vocational training in Germany?” section.
Dual vocational degrees
A dual vocational degree (ausbildungsintegriertes duales Studium) is a special form of degree programme. It combines studies at a higher education institution such as a university or a university of cooperative education with 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 university of cooperative education, 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 take three to five years to complete. 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. After that, you enrol in 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. Please make sure to apply in good time, as the offered degree courses tend to be very popular.