Education

Schools

Most schools in Germany are state-run and therefore free. Many schools offer additional after-school care, and the number of after-school care options is constantly increasing. Due to popular demand for after-school care, you should register your child as soon as possible.

Information: There are various types of schools in Germany. First, all children must attend a local primary school for four years. Students then go on to attend one of the 5 different kinds of secondary schools available: “Hauptschule”, “Realschule”, “Werkrealschule”, “Gesamtschule”, and “Gymnasium”. We recommend seeking out detailed information and advice regarding each kind of school in order to choose the appropriate educational track for your child. You can find detailed information about the German school system here: Courses of Education in Baden-Württemberg (only available in German)/ Welcome to Germany

Tip! Children and young people who move to Germany during the course of their education require special support. Luckily, there are various preparatory, special, and German language classes available where they can benefit from the help of specially trained teachers before attending regular school.
Find out more about what options are available for your child at the Freiburg Education Office (or “Schulamt”, responsible for the Freiburg, Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald, and Emmendingen districts), the Offenburg Education Office (responsible for the Ortenau district) or your local Youth Migration Service (JMD, or “Jugendmigrationsdienst”). The Welcome Center is also here to help! 

 

Vocational Training / Higher Education

A good education is the most important prerequisite for a successful career start. To find a job in Germany, it’s paramount to complete some sort of vocational training or earn a university degree.

Vocational training programs in Germany usually take 2 – 3 ½ years and often operate on the so-called dual system. This dual training system is a special feature of the German education system and combines practical training at a company with periods of theoretical learning inside the classroom. This combination of theory and practice prepares students extraordinarily well for what companies will expect of them as future employees. In addition to expertise knowledge, students gain practical work experience that allows them to apply what they’ve learned. Some vocational training programs, e.g. in the nursing sector, are taught exclusively at schools.

A secondary school degree is usually required for admission to a vocational training program. There are around 400 vocational training professions in Germany. The Federal Employment Agency (“Bundesagentur für Arbeit”) can provide you with more information about the various vocational training professions, either online or at your local Job Information Center (“Berufsinformationszentrum”, or BIZ).

Students must first apply for a trainee position at a company of their choice before starting a vocational training program. Trainees must sign a written employment contract with the training company, which will set out the components and objectives of the training. The training company then registers the trainee with the vocational school and social security office.

Visa for Vocational Training?

  • Citizens of the EU, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland do not require a visa to enter Germany and begin a vocational training program.

  • Citizens of other countries, however, will require a visa. You can apply for the visa at the responsible German foreign office in your country. To ensure your request is successful, please be sure the following conditions have been met:

    • You’ve already found a trainee position at a company in Germany.

    • The Federal Employment Agency has approved you for the vocational training program because no other German or privileged foreign applicant (e.g. students from other EU countries) was available for that specific job.

    • Regardless of whether you wish to complete a dual vocational training program or earn a university degree, you must demonstrate that you have adequate resources to support yourself financially.  

Tip: If you wish to start a vocational training program in Germany, a good command of the German language is vital! 

Make It in Germany provides more information on the topic of education and a list of what jobs are currently in demand : Make it in Germany - Training  

 

Higher Education

There are various kinds of higher education institutions in Germany and the Southern Upper Rhine region:

  • Universities

  • Technical Universities

  • Music and Art Universities

  • Universities of Education

  • Universities of Applied Sciences

  • Universities of Administrative Sciences

Depending on the type of university, a secondary school diploma or certificate from an advanced technical college will be required before you can begin your studies. In the case of foreign school diplomas and/or degrees, the International Office or Admissions Office at the respective university will decide if it satisfies all admission requirements. The university alone will determine if and to what extent academic credits completed in another country can apply to the chosen program of study in Germany.

Application for Admission
If you’d like to begin your studies in the winter semester, you usually have to apply by July 15th at the latest. To begin in the summer
semester, you generally have to submit your application by no later than January 15th of the same year. Additional conditions or varying deadlines may apply to individual courses of study, and some subjects will require you to have a certain grade average or pass an entrance exam. Please check with the university about which specific rules and conditions apply.

Tuition Fees
Undergraduate studies are tuition-free at state universities in Baden-Württemberg. Students will only be required to pay a semester fee to cover administrative costs (varies from university to university). Private universities usually charge tuition.

Universities in the Region
Science and research play a key role in the Southern Upper Rhine region; myriad outstanding universities and educational and research institutions make the region one of Germany’s leading locations for science and research.

 

State and State-Recognized Higher Education Institutions

 

Private Higher Education Institutions

Working while Studying
Students in Germany need an average of around € 800 per month to cover the cost of living. A portion of this can be easily earned with a part-time job. The number of hours you’re allowed to work while studying depends on your native country:

  • Just as with German students, students from the EU, Lichtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week in addition to their scheduled classes. During semester breaks, students are free to work as many hours as they wish.

  • Students from non-EU countries or Croatia may work 120 full or 240 half-days a year without needing consent from the competent government authority (International Placement Services). 

Internship while Studying
Students are naturally allowed to complete internships during their course of study as well. Internships are important for getting to know the working world, acquiring knowledge, and building new, professional relationships that could in turn help make the post-graduation job search a bit easier. 

Scholarships
Scholarships and other funding options are also great ways to help finance your education. You can find more information on this topic at DAAD

For more information about education in Germany and the opportunities open to you after completing your studies, please visit Make It in Germany - Study  and  Higher Eduacation Compass

 

Further Education

Germany has many options for continuing your education even after receiving a vocational or university degree. Adult education options allow you to obtain general qualifications or degrees. There are day or evening classes, as well as correspondence courses that allow you to learn from home. You can find many institutions for higher or further education online or in the yellow pages. There are also a number of private service providers in addition to public institutions like the Adult Education Center (“Volkshochschule”). The Federal Employment Agency is another important resource when it comes to further education. 

 

You can find more detailed information at: