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,

Comments (0)

Write new comment

Comments are approved within one to three days. The editorial team reserves the right not to publish discriminatory, racist, defamatory or inflammatory comments. Our detailed comment rules are available here.

Snow, sun and stars

The first winter sports tourists arrived in Switzerland 150 years ago. They came from Great Britain and spent their holidays in St. Moritz. To mark...

Read more

Switzerland is currently engaged in a row over the delicate issue of languages. Several German-speaking cantons no longer wish to teach French in...

Read more

Switzerland’s now awkward relationship with the European Union and immigration will be the major issues over the coming months. They will also shape...

Read more

Switzerland already has a very liberal policy towards assisted suicide. A debate is now being conducted about facilitated suicide for the elderly....

Read more

Less expensive than skiing, great fun and easy to do, tobogganing is an activity that is enjoying great success at Swiss resorts.


Read more

On 22 October 2014, Swiss Abroad also took part for the first time in the young citizens’ festivities in Berne at the invitation of Swiss President...

Read more

Auslandschweizer Organisation
Alpenstrasse 26
3006 Bern, Schweiz

tel +41 31 356 61 10
fax +41 31 356 61 01