Vocational education and training in Germany

VET institutions

You can find the contact details of your nearest employment agency here: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/ueber-uns/ansprechpartner

Do you already know which area you would like to work in? Then you can also contact the special chambers. You can find the contact details of consultants in your area here:
● Chamber of Industry & Commerce: https://www.ihk.de/themen/ausbildung
● Central Association of German Crafts: https://www.zdh.de/organisationen-des-handwerks/handwerkskammern/deutschlandkarte.html
● Association of Chambers of Agriculture (this includes professions in agriculture, forestry and horticulture): http://www.landwirtschaftskammern.de/
Employment Agency: https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/bildung
● "BIZ" (vocational information centre) https://www.arbeitsagentur.de/bildung/berufsinformationszentrum-biz
● Profile passport (information online or from local consultants): https://www.profilpass-fuer-junge-menschen.de/fuer-eltern/beratungsangebote/

Advice and support is primarily the task of the chambers (see above or below for links).

Chamber of Industry & Commerce: https://www.ihk.de/themen/ausbildung?fdialog=ihk-finder%2Fausbildung

Chambers of Crafts (for Saxony-Anhalt):
● Halle: https://hwkhalle.de/
● Magdeburg: https://www.hwk-magdeburg.de/Ausbildungsberatung

Contact persons and counselling centres in your region can be found under the links above
In Germany, there is compulsory schooling for 12 years. This is divided into two parts. The first part is the general compulsory schooling, which lasts 9 years and must be completed full-time. After successful completion of the 9 school years, pupils reach the Hauptschulabschluss, which is usually the minimum requirement for vocational training. Of course, it is also possible to obtain a higher school-leaving certificate. You can find more detailed information about these certificates here: http://www.wir-sind-bund.de/WSB/DE/Eltern/Bildungssystem/Schulabschluesse/schulabschluesse-node.html. If pupils do not wish to obtain a higher school-leaving certificate in the remaining 3 years, they can follow 3 years of vocational school, either full-time at a vocational school or part-time in a company alongside their training. These are two models of how vocational training is implemented in Germany.

Company vocational training School-based vocational training
e.g. in professions in the social (e.g. educator) or medical field (e.g. medical-technical assistant, physiotherapist)
2-3.5 years 1-3 years
Company + attendance of vocational school
→ Vocational school: on fixed days in the week or in blocks
Full-time at a vocational school
+ Internship(s) in companies
Apply what you have learned directly in practice (in the company) Apply what you have learned in practical exercises and practical training
Salary No salary


Eucational options

Catch up on school-leaving qualifications, e.g. through BVJ

BGJ and BVJ: (mainly aimed at U18)
● In some states compulsory for under 17-year-olds who do not start an apprenticeship after school

➢ Basic Vocational School Year (BGJ): 🡪 state training year
○ Not offered in all federal states
○ provides basic vocational training in a specific field, e.g. business and administration or electrical engineering
○ successfully completed: Reduction of the vocational training period possible
○ Realschule level
○ Preparation for the vocational training
○ Full time
○ Career guidance

➢ Vocational preparation year (BVJ): 🡪 vocational preparation year at a vocational school
○ Preparatory year
○ Cannot be counted towards the vocational training period
○ Targeted at early school leavers and others who have not completed lower secondary school
○ Possibility to obtain a school leaving certificate
○ Hauptschulniveau
○ Basic vocational knowledge and general educational content as well as key qualifications
○ Some federal states (e.g. Saxony) offer training place promotion 🡪 some companies take over BVJ graduates


➢ Vocational preparation measures by the Federal Employment Agency
○ Free of charge, (in particular) for people between 18 and 25 years of age seeking vocational training
○ Basic qualification of a specific occupational field can be acquired
○ Secondary school leaving certificate can be made up

Source: https://www.ausbildung.de/ratgeber/ausbildungsarten/#ausbildungsarten-abschluss

Youth Voluntary Service
● can help with the choice of career
● Job offers e.g. at https://www.ein-jahr-freiwillig.de/de/suche/ort

➢ Federal Voluntary Service (BFD)
○ for all age groups
○ Duration: usually 12 months (min. 8 months, max. 24 months)
○ Working time depends on the place of assignment
○ activities in the social, environmental and cultural fields, integration, civil protection and disaster relief
○ Apply directly to the desired place of employment. You can find open positions and facilities here: https://www.bundesfreiwilligendienst.de/

➢ Voluntary Social Year (FSJ):
○ for young people from 15 to 26 years
○ Duration: usually 12 months (min. 6 months, max. 24 months)
○ Full time
○ Activities in the social field
○ Application directly to the company (offers can be found here https://www.bundes-freiwilligendienst.de/stellen/)

➢ Voluntary Ecological Year (FÖJ):
○ for young people from 16 to 27 years
○ Duration: Usually 12 months (1 September to 31 August) (min. 6 months)
○ Full time
○ Offer for personal commitment and acquisition of important skills in the sense of "Education for Sustainable Development" (ESD).
○ Organised through various sponsors (find yours at: https://foej.de/traeger/)
Vocational education and training is education and training after general schooling (usually 9 years) in the form of apprenticeships in companies and/or vocational schools

→ Secondary school leaving certificate usually required

→ Hauptschulabschluss in Bremen & Brandenburg is called "vocational training maturity" , in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania & Rhineland-Palatinate "Berufsreife"

→ Apprenticeships with a secondary school leaving certificate: https://www.azubi.de/beruf/tipps/ausbildung-mit-hauptschulabschluss


Possible VET careers and how to get there

● Construction, architecture, surveying
● Services
● Electronics
● Health
● IT, computers
● Art, culture and design
● Agriculture, Nature, Environment
● Media
● Metal, mechanical engineering
● Natural Sciences
● Production, manufacturing
● Social affairs, pedagogy
● Technology, technology fields
● Transport, Logistics
● Economy, administration

→ each occupational field is divided into further categories

Source: https://planet-beruf.de/schuelerinnen/mein-beruf/berufsfelder/
Open vocational training places at the beginning of the 2020 training year: 59,948
Source: https://statistik.arbeitsagentur.de/DE/Navigation/Statistiken/Fachstatistiken/Ausbildungsmarkt/Aktuelle-Eckwerte-Nav.html;jsessionid=F4788047B539A545DC5BB0AC50F0D757

Many trainees start their vocational training in these sectors:
● Commercial sector
● Medicine and care
● Technology / Craft

The 10 most popular training occupations in 2020:
10. medical assistant
09. electronics technician
08. IT specialist
07. dental assistant
06. industrial clerk
05. salesperson
04. geriatric nurse
03. retail salesman/-woman
02. car mechanic
01. office management clerk

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXdusETgeIo&ab_channel=Ausbildung.de
Apprenticeship exchange of the IHK: https://www.ihk-lehrstellenboerse.de/

Job offers of the employment agency: https://jobboerse.arbeitsagentur.de/prod/vamJB/startseite.html?aa=1&m=1&kgr=as&vorschlagsfunktionaktiv=true

Other marketplaces for vocational training centres:
https://www.ausbildung.de/ (Check of profession → which job fits you, guidance material + Videos)
https://www.azubi.de/ (not possible to filter for level of completed education, testing interests (asks for the kind of school that was completed → assums that a school was completed)

Professions sorted by school-leaving certificate: https://www.azubi.de/beruf/tipps/berufe-nach-abschluss