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Lifelong learning for adults

Lifelong learning is all about keeping abreast of the latest developments in one’s field. New skills, certificates and qualifications improve one’s employment prospects on the labour market.

Continuing education and training

Switzerland has a comprehensive system of continuing education and training (CET) with a large number of providers and a wide range of education and training options. Some CET courses lead to work-related certifications and others to more advanced training.

Career counselling for adults

Vocational, occupational and career counsellors can advise you on the range of CET courses available and explain the various conditions and requirements. They also have documentation on occupations and professions and can provide details concerning financial aid opportunities.

Vocational qualifications for adults

Adults may prepare for one of two Swiss upper-secondary level vocational qualifications: the Federal Certificate of Vocational Education and Training (normally issued upon completion of two years of training in a given occupation) and the Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (normally issued upon completion of three or four years of training in a given occupation). It is up to each cantonal VET office to decide whether a person may be authorised to take this examination. Contact the VET office in your canton for more information.

University entrance qualifications for adults

Adults may prepare for one of two different university entrance qualifications: the general baccalaureate (for admission to a cantonal university or federal institute of technology) or the federal vocational baccalaureate (for admission to a university of applied sciences).

Adult acquisition and maintenance of basic skills

Basic skills – such as reading, writing and arithmetic or the use of information and communication technologies – are an important prerequisite for lifelong learning and participation in social activities. More information on available courses for adults can be found on the ‘Einfach besser!’ website

Swiss professional education sector

Holders of the Swiss Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training or equivalent have direct access to the Swiss professional education sector, which prepares experienced professionals for challenging technical and managerial responsibilities. There are two options:

  • Guided or self-preparation for initial and advanced federal professional examinations
  • Enrolment in a study programme at a professional education institution (PEI)

Advanced studies programmes within the Swiss higher education sector

Swiss higher education institutions also offer advanced studies programmes, which are a form of modular continuing education and training available only to holders of higher education qualifications. These advanced studies programmes enable one to acquire new skills, specialise or re-orient one’s career. There are three interconnecting levels: the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS), the Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS) and the Master of Advanced Studies (MAS).