Vocational education is a type of education which prepares people to do work such as a technician or a trade or a craft. A vocational school is the place where training takes place and vocational certificates are awarded. A person who wishes to take part in vocational education can do it at any time in their life but it is typically pursued after completing secondary education.

Types of Vocational Certificates

Sometimes the courses are undertaken at a highly specialized trade technical school while others take place at colleges of further education or community colleges. In earlier days a lot of vocational education used to take place while on the job but more recently there has been a trend for some of the theory at least to be learned through online courses.

In Germany, for example, in 1969 a law the Berufsausbildungsgesetz was passed which both unified and regulated vocational training making it the shared responsibility of the unions, state, associations and Industrie und Handelskammer (chambers of trade and industry). In 2001, 66 percent of those who were under 22 years of age started an apprenticeship, while 78% of this group completed it.

Most people choose dual vocational training because you end up with both theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge which is highly valued by lots of companies. In Germany, there are around 350 officially recognised occupations which require vocational training before a position can be sought.

The positive list called positivliste provides vocational training programmes for occupations recognized as facing a shortage or “Mangelberufe” in Germany. If you are considering taking up a vocational course in Germany you should choose one of these skill areas as you will have a higher chance of gaining full-time permanent employment once you have completed the vocational training and gained your certificate.

Some of the Leading Vocational Courses which offer Certificates are in the Following Career Areas:

  • Wireless Communications Technician
  • Welding and Fabrication
  • Web Developer
  • Veterinary Technician
  • Truck driving
  • Travel Agent
  • Telecommunications Technician
  • Tax Preparation
  • Surgical Technologist
  • Small Engine Repair
  • Small Business Management
  • Sheet Metal Worker Foundation
  • Security Systems Technician
  • Security Systems Technician
  • Roadworks Maintenance
  • Refrigeration Systems
  • Refrigeration Mechanic Foundation
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Radiation Therapist
  • Pump Maintenance
  • Psychology and Counselling
  • Property Management
  • Private investigator
  • Precision Manufacturing and Machining
  • Practical Nursing
  • Power and Process Engineering
  • Police Officer
  • Plumber
  • Piping foundation
  • Photography
  • Pharmacy Technician
  • Personal Trainer
  • Paramedic-EMT
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Organizational/Leadership Skills
  • Nuclear Technician
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist
  • Millwright
  • Metal Fabricator
  • Medical Transcription
  • Medical Laboratory Technician
  • Medical Billing
  • Massage Therapy
  • Machinist
  • Locomotive Engineer
  • Ironworker – Reinforcing
  • Interior Design
  • Industrial Maintenance
  • Industrial Electrician
  • Hydronic Technician
  • HVAC Technician
  • Home inspector
  • Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Technician
  • Heat and Frost Insulator
  • Health care and social assistant
  • Hairstyling, Cosmetics and Beautification
  • Gasfitting
  • Food and Beverage Management
  • Firefighter
  • Fire Protection Inspection and Testing
  • Fashion Designer
  • Executive Housekeeper
  • Engineering-Mechanical, Civil, Electric and Electronic, Chemical among others.
  • Electrician
  • Electrical and Electronics Repairman
  • Early Child Care Education
  • Diesel Mechanics
  • Derrickman
  • Dental Hygienist
  • Daycare management
  • Culling arts
  • Construction Supervision
  • Construction Operations
  • Construction Management
  • Construction Estimating
  • Computer Specialist
  • Computer networking management
  • Commercial Pilot
  • Collision Repair
  • CNC Machinist Technician
  • Chemical Plant Operator
  • Catering and hotel management
  • Carpentry
  • Cardiovascular Technologist
  • Business and Office management
  • Business and marketing management
  • Bricklayer
  • Bookkeeping, Accounting and Auditing
  • Boilermaker
  • Blacksmithing
  • Aviation
  • Automation control
  • AutoCAD
  • Auto Repair Training
  • Art/Design
  • Architectural and Structural CADD and Graphics Technician
  • Airport Operations
  • Airline and Flight Operations – Commercial Pilot
  • Aircraft Gas Turbine Technician

If you want to complete vocational training in Germany and get a certificate you must know what qualifications you must have to qualify for this type of training. If you wish to engage in a vocational training program at a vocational college you must have a qualification from what is called an academic secondary school, e.g. a Realschule or Gymnasium.

Sometimes, an internship or a minimum age, are also additional requirements. A dual study programme includes attendance at a university along with a practical traineeship with a company. You will need a training contract with a company as well as a university entrance qualification.

Generally, firms in Germany require a written application which includes a CV, cover letter and certificates. If you are lucky to be shortlisted, you should be invited to attend an interview, which may begin with telephone contact. The company could ask you to take on some work for a trial period or undertake an internship.