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Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Germany

AIB - Akademie für Internationale Bildung

Bonn, Germany
The Akademie für Internationale Bildung (Academy for International Education), or AIB, understands that regardless of the subject of study, all students need a greater understanding of the world to help them formulate the role they will play in it. They also need to discover the various ways they can impact the world around them. At AIB the faculty and administration make it their mission to educate students and advance their skills to become independent, self-confident professionals, ready to deal with real-world challenges. The school assists in developing individual talent and... See full description.

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About Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Germany

Germany is a country that has taken immense interest in providing vocational training to its students. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is the agency with the responsibility to review, upgrade and maintain the vocational setup in the country. It also establishes regional competence centers across the country to ensure nation-wide vocational training in Germany.  The system is held together by various laws like the Vocational Training Act (BBiG), the Act on Regulation of Handicrafts and the Vocational Training Promotion Act. The Vocational Training Act lays down the national regulations for vocational training in Germany apart from that provided by the vocational schools.

The Vocational School Setup and Berufsfachschulen

In the German education system, children enter full time compulsory schooling at the age of six. This period lasts for 9 to 10 years. After this period, students that don’t wish to continue in a full time school, can start vocational schooling in Germany for three years. These schools follow the dual system which is a major component of the German vocational training structure. The dual system combines schools and companies in such a way that is immensely beneficial for the students. Under the dual system, all graduates from all the secondary modern schools, special schools, vocational schools and grammar schools are accepted. These graduates then learn skills specific to their line of interest or take up further vocational training. Graduates can also apply for a university entrance certificate in special circumstances by attending a full year of full time schooling.

The Berufsfachschulen that are full time vocational schools in Germany admit the maximum number of students. These schools follow the dual system and hence attendance by students here can be treated as the first year of training in the dual system. These programs can be one to three years long, and recent federal ordinances allow final school examinations to be combined as relevant examinations in the dual system.

Senior Technical Schools and Senior Vocational Schools

Then there are Fachoberschulen, which are senior technical schools along with the Berufsoberschulen, which are the senior vocational schools.  The latter only focus on vocational training within the dual system. However, these schools can also award university entrance certifications. Hence the German system offers ample opportunities for students to change between school based to the dual system vocational training, and then to higher education. Almost 20 percent students enter the first year of higher education after completing training in the dual system.  Although the dual system doesn’t declare any formal admission prerequisites, but an applicant’s previous experience or qualification in a particular field does influence the admission prospects. Under this system, vocational schools in Germany and companies have a joint responsibility with no rigid roles. Students usually spend one or two days of the week in school, and the rest in the company. Students are required to take a final examination, where their knowledge in the field, both theoretical and practical is tested. The state has also made provisions to incorporate academic qualifications, which promote further training. About two-thirds of the total students enter the dual system with a school leaving certificate from a secondary school, some from the Berufsgrundbildungsjahr – BGJ and the Berufsvorbereitungsjahr – BVJ, which one year courses covering basic vocational training in school. The curriculum in the dual system is set according to students who have passed out of school, but under the Vocational Training Act, the training periods can be extended or shortened depending on the preparatory education. The average duration of the training period is 37.7. Vocational training in Germany is supposed to be completed in a period of 2 to 3 and half years. The curriculum of the students is a mix of the vocational (two-thirds) and general (one-third) course material, which enhances their suitability for the job market. The general course consists of social studies, economics, foreign languages and sports.