stage img
  • SwissCommunity

Educational opportunities in Switzerland


The Formation in Switzerland department at educationsuisse once again received more enquiries this year than in the previous one. The option of returning to their native country for vocational training is increasingly attractive for young Swiss Abroad, especially for those from countries with weak economies. 

The majority still set their sights on taking a university degree as this holds great prestige and presents good career opportunities in many countries of residence of the Swiss Abroad. However, there is also increasing interest in courses at universities of applied sciences and in the so-called dual system (apprenticeship in a company as well as educational courses). 

Switzerland’s educational landscape is very diverse and has changed over recent years. It is not always easy for parents who have lived abroad for many years and their children to find their way through this wide range of options.

Traditional universities, universities of applied sciences and apprenticeships?

We are often asked what the main differences are between traditional universities, universities of applied sciences and apprenticeships. Whereas courses at traditional universities are highly academic or theory-oriented, the universities of applied sciences are more focussed on application and qualifying for a profession. However, the universities of applied sciences are also structured according to the Bologna system with bachelor and master degrees. They offer a wide range of courses in the specialist disciplines of engineering, economics, design, healthcare, social work and art, and they train sought-after specialists, men and women, as engineers, architects, computer scientists, translators, designers and care service professionals. The doctorate level (dissertation) is nevertheless currently restricted to traditional universities. 

The dual vocational training system with an apprenticeship is often said to be one of the strengths of the Swiss economy. It does in fact play a significant role by integrating young people and making them marketable. The transition from an apprenticeship to working life is often easier than from education. Well-qualified professionals make a major contribution to boosting innovation, productivity and quality of work. After an apprenticeship, young people immediately find themselves thrown into the world of work. They nevertheless still have many opportunities to undertake further training and to advance their careers, whether with a vocational school-leaving qualification, at a higher technical college or at other institutions of further education.

The Swiss education system boasts outstanding flexibility and generally enables open access to the various educational offerings.

Further information can be found on our website at, which now covers the topic of education and training in Switzerland. 

educationsuisse – Formation in Switzerland
Alpenstrasse 26, 3006 Berne, SWITZERLAND
Tel. +41 (0)31 356 61 04, Fax +41 (0)31 356 61 01,