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University or apprenticeship?

22.11.2018 – Ruth von Gunten

Advice from educationsuisse on education in Switzerland

University or apprenticeship? These are two different education pathways, which are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, the Swiss education system is characterised by a high degree of flexibility. Consequently, there are many ways to begin or to change to a different education programme. The educational opportunities are highly diverse. An overview of the Swiss education system can be found on our website

Anyone who wishes to study in Switzerland with a foreign high school diploma, should inquire about the admission requirements of the universities well in advance; sometimes admission fails because a basic subject is missing. The next step is to find the right field of study. The swissuniversities website, can be of some benefit here. Many universities, universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education organise information days, which usually take place in autumn or winter. Several universities also have their own study counselling offices.

Those who would like to complete an apprenticeship after compulsory schooling or high school, can choose from around 250 occupations. The official website of the Swiss Career and Academic Studies Consulting,, offers a wealth of information such as job descriptions, education descriptions, tips and much more. Once the area of interest has been defined, trial apprenticeships (1-5 days) in an enterprise are a suitable way of receiving an insight into the profession. One normally starts finding an apprenticeship at least a year before commencement of the apprenticeship. Sometimes companies require aptitude tests (such as Multicheck), which must be attached to the application.

A so-called bridge year can be a good interim solution for those who are still uncertain about their career choice. Such additional school years of pre-vocational training years are organised in all cantons.

In order to successfully complete an education in Switzerland, sufficient knowledge of a national language is important. A good command of English is an advantage, but by no means enough. Only a few university-level degree programmes (Master’s) are offered entirely in English.

Information sheets on individual topics, general information and personal advice, also on career and academic choices, can be obtained from educationsuisse:, Tel. +41 (0) 31 356 61 04. Our employees speak German, French, Italian, English and Spanish.