Training as an alternative

Dual training combines practice and theory and offers positive career opportunities. There are also many options in the public sector to obtain a state-approved qualification and to pursue a career. If you wish to progress further, numerous advanced training courses are also available.

The dual training system as an initially classic path for vocational training has a successful history in Germany and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. It offers you a modern and solid career start in currently 327 trades with very good career prospects. It is therefore often a suitable alternative to studying.

In view of the current shortage of skilled workers, small and medium-sized enterprises in particular are interested in recruiting suitable applicants for training and employment and are willing to invest in the further qualification of their trainees and employees. For this reason, students who have dropped out of university are an attractive target group for these companies. In some cases, recognition of your previous academic achievements or even admission to the final examination without training is possible.
The central feature of dual training is employment and practical training within a company, combined with attendance at a vocational college or college. Training is completed when you have passed a final examination before the competent chamber after which you will receive a state-recognised vocational qualification.
Over the duration of your course of training the company pays you a salary as well as your social security contributions.
You can get competent general advice in our Counselling Network, depending on individual requirements from the Federal Employment Agency, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Trade (trades sector).

You can find concrete training positions here:

You can find further information on dual vocational training at




With more than 130 state-recognised training occupations, the Federal Government, Germany’s largest employer, also offers a broad spectrum of training and career opportunities for former students after they have left university. In a similar structure to dual education, you receive practical training in public institutions (authorities, offices, etc.) and receive theoretical training.
With your university entrance qualification you also have the opportunity of pursuing one of the currently 30 special training courses for civil servants, e.g. in administration, the police force, customs or the weather service.
The training course is completed with a final examination. During training you are paid in compliance with tariff agreements and social security contributions are also paid for you.

An overview of all training occupations can be found here:

For some occupations, the majority of the required training course takes place educational institutions (vocational colleges or vocational schools). These are, for example, in the health, education and social services the educators, geriatric nurses and nurses or a number of assistant professions (e.g. biological technical assistant). In addition, there are other academic training courses in the fields of business, technology and IT. In total, there are currently around 130 academic training courses. You will also gain additional practical experience in mandatory internships.

As this is not in-company training, there is generally no remuneration. Some training courses are even subject to a fee.  For this reason you should find out in good time whether you are eligible for a state education grant (BAfÖG).

Further information can be obtained from the Federal Employment Agency or at the relevant vocational colleges or vocational schools.

If you have already completed vocational training, then it is possible to obtain additional, advanced qualifications in this field. Qualifications in advanced further training, such as master craftspersons or technicians, are nationally regulated in the Vocational Training Act and prepare you for specialist and management positions. They have a high practical relevance. If necessary, direct admission to a further training examination is even possible.
For this reason you should find out in good time whether you are eligible for a state education grant (BAfÖG). There are also grant options available for the trade master school through the HWK. However, you must be below 25 years of age at the end of your training course and must have an average grade of at least 1.9. Under these conditions, it is possible to apply for a scholarship for gifted students (up to €7,000).

It is advisable to obtain information about financial assistance during training (BAfÖG) in good time.

As an alternative to full-time studies, it is possible to enrol in a dual study programme. This is a combination of practical vocational training in a company and university studies. This very challenging and tightly organised form of acquiring a degree is definitely worthwhile, as there are usually good opportunities for you to be taken on by your company when you have completed your programme.

As a rule, after three to three and a half years you will complete your dual studies with a Bachelor’s degree and a vocational qualification from the relevant chamber. Funding is usually given in the form of training allowances paid by the company, possibly in combination with state subsidies (BAfÖG). The time models for studying and working in the company are quite different.

The Rhine-Waal and Niederrhein Universities offer dual degree programmes. For further information contact the Central Student Advisory Service.

You can find cross-regional dual courses of study here.
You can find dual courses of study offered by the federal government here.

For international students, access to academic or dual courses is subject to various requirements. It is particularly important for students to have a good command of the German language. Please note that counselling is therefore usually offered in German.