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Switzerland’s educational landscape

What is my next career move? The Swiss educational system impresses with its multitude of training and continuous (further) education programs. From practice-oriented courses to academic careers, there is a vast number of options.

Tertiary level B: Higher vocational training
Tertiary level A: University level


Upper secondary level: Basic vocational education and training
General education schools
Gymnasium baccalaureates

Lower secondary level: compulsory basic education

At the end of compulsory education, young people in Switzerland decide whether they want to do dual vocational education & training (apprenticeship with school running parallel to practical work) or continue with general education to secondary technical or academic baccalaureate level.

Approximately two thirds of young people start their careers with a vocational apprenticeship (tertiary level B). The dual vocational education & training system in Switzerland is unique. After a three-year vocational apprenticeship, having received a federal VET diploma (EFZ) or transferring after a two-year apprenticeship with a Swiss federal VET certificate (EBA), you can continue your career by obtaining a federal professional education & training (PET) diploma, an advanced PET diploma or a university of applied sciences diploma.

After that, the post-graduate diploma (NDS HF) affords the highest possible recognition at a vocational higher education level.

Alternatively, the vocational baccalaureate opens the way for entry to universities of applied sciences, making it possible to transfer to continuous education at tertiary level A. After finishing general schooling, your baccalaureate and appropriate practical experience also qualify you to go to a PET college or a university of applied sciences.

One of the characteristics of the Swiss education system is that you can move from one level to another if you have the relevant diplomas. There are no dead-end qualifications – it is always possible to progress further.