Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Italy

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About Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Italy

The system of training for various careers and vocations in Italy is unique and multi-faceted.  Unlike many other countries, vocational training in Italy is not strictly a post-secondary pursuit.  In fact, many students will begin this training as early as age 15 and continue until age 18 or more, depending on the type of career they choose.  Below we will take a closer look at the Italian system of vocational training, including some of the opportunities and requirements at both the secondary and university level.

Career and Vocational Training:  Secondary School

Italy has a very diverse system of secondary education, one that gives all students an opportunity to succeed based on their various aptitudes.  Upon leaving Scuola Media Inferiore, the U.S. equivalent of junior high school or middle school, Italian students, who at this time are approximately 15 years of age, have a couple of options they can pursue.  Those with above-average academic marks, whose desire is to pursue a university education upon graduation, will normally attend the upper secondary school—the Liceo Classico.  The remainder of students, which account for the majority in the Italian secondary educational system, will follow the vocational stream.

Less than 15 years ago, Italian students could elect to conclude their education altogether after the first year of high school.  This is no longer the case.  Today, students not wishing to attend the university are now compelled to receive some type of vocational training.  In January of 1999 the Italian government decided to make vocational education compulsory until age 18 for those students not attending upper secondary school.  This requirement can be fulfilled by attending one of the country’s technical institutes (institutos tecnico), specialized secondary institutes (institutos magistrale) or through an approved apprenticeship program.  Each of these programs are funded by the state and governed by the various regions and provinces in which the schools are located.  Students who successfully complete one of these programs are awarded a state diploma (maturita) and are thereby qualified to pursue employment in the career field they’ve chosen.

Career and Vocational Training:  Universities

Vocational training is also a significant component in a student’s university education.  This type of training is for careers that require a more advanced education and very specialized training.  Once students complete the first cycle of their education, or bachelor program, they are eligible to apply for admittance into the 1st level vocational master (Master Universitario di Prima Livello).  Here, in addition to courses in theory, students will receive hands-on training in a number of different career fields, including business, engineering, and education.

For careers that require additional vocational training beyond the Masters or 2nd level, students can move to the third cycle and apply to one of Italy’s Specialisation Schools (Scuolas di Specializzazione).  These schools provide students with advanced knowledge and skills in specific professional fields.  The total duration of these courses vary depending on the career field and the academic structure, and they are open only to those students who have obtained their second level degree.  Students with a second level degree can also at any time elect to attend the “Advanced Course” (Corso di Perfezionamento), a type of refresher course where they can brush up on their past education and advance their skills and expertise.  No degree, however, is awarded for completion of this program.

List of Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Italy

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