Step 3

What is the right path for me?

You have dealt with your strengths and interests. You can judge what you are good at and what you would like to do professionally. Now the question arises as to which path to choose. On the one hand, you should inform yourself about degree programmes and vocational training occupations that suit you. On the other hand, you should consider whether you could achieve your professional goal through (dual) study programmes or vocational training.

Signs show different study courses.

Which study courses and vocational trainings do exist? Answers to such questions you can find on the internet or on spot.

A good website to inform you about degree programmes is studienwahl.de. There you will find detailed information about all fields of study and individual degree programmes - also in English . With the search “finder” you can determine at which universities in Germany you can study a certain subject. This also applies to dual study programmes. For example, enter “Civil Engineering” as the search criteria. The search results are displayed on the one hand as a list and on the other as locations on a map of Germany. The Hochschulkompass also offers the option to search for degree courses throughout Germany.

If you are looking for information in the form of videos, you can watch films about degree courses on BERUFE.TV. The website AusbildungPlus provides specific information about dual study programmes. And if you would like to know what you can do after your studies, you can find reports on professions on the website berufsfeld-info.de for some inspiration.

Comprehensive descriptions of dual and school-based vocational training can be found in BERUFENET. You can enter a specific occupation in the search field, but you may also use the “Search from A to Z” function. It is also possible to enter a search based upon occupational fields. For example, if you open the description of the occupation “chemical laboratory technician”, you will find information about training, access to, and activities related to the occupation. You can also watch films about training occupations on BERUFE.TV. Many of the films are offered with English subtitles. Reports from young people describing their education can be found on the website planet-beruf.de under “My Career”.

If you only know in which area you would like to work, but have no idea what professions are available, then have a look at berufsfeld-info. Here you can also find out what vocational training companies expect from their trainees. And with the activity check you can test which occupation you might like.

One goal, many paths

For some professions the question of whether to study or to enter into vocational training does not arise. If you want to become a doctor, you have to study medicine; if you want to work as an engineer, you choose an engineering degree programme. In the same way if you wish to become a baker the only possibility is a dual study programme.

However, there are also professions or fields of activity that do not prescribe a fixed path. If you would like to work in a bank, for example, you can study business administration (also as a dual study programme), or do a dual vocational training course as a bank clerk. The following point also applies to interpreters and translators: Studying, vocational training courses and academic training lead to a career.

If there is more than one way to get there, it is up to you to decide. The following table gives you an overview of how the four paths of study, dual study, dual vocational training and schooling differ:

Studying and Dual studies



Dual study


Bachelor, Master, state examination, rarely diploma and master's degree

  • Degree (mainly bachelor)
  • Additional vocational training qualification for some dual degree programmes

Places of learning

  • Universities
  • Associated facilities, e.g. library, language centre, university hospital
  • Universities or vocational academies
  • Companies

Duration (regular)

Bachelor: 6-8 semesters
Master: 2-4 semesters
State examination: 7-12 semesters

3 to 4.5 years


  • Semester fee: depending on the university (approx. 50-300 euros)
  • Additional tuition fees at private universities
  • No remuneration
  • Financing e.g. via BAföG, part-time job, scholarship, student loan
  • Semester fee depending on the university/vocational academy
  • Mostly monthly remuneration depending on sector and company

Composition/ Structure

  • Winter semester (October to March) and summer semester (April to September)
  • Lecture-free time between semesters for examinations and internships
  • Change between university/
    vocational academy and companies, e.g. every three months
  • Training usually begins 1.8. or 1.9.

Where and when to apply?

  • Application to the university and/or via www.hochschulstart.de
  • Free enrolment approx. one month before the beginning of the semester
  • Local admittance restrictions: Applications generally up to 15 January for the summer semester, to 15 July for the winter semester
  • Nationwide admittance restriction (medicine, veterinary medicine, dentistry, pharmacy): Applications generally up to 15 January for the summer semester, to 15 July for the winter semester; Veterinary medicine only in the winter semester
  • Application to a company and a university
  • Start of application phase usually one year before start of vocational training, application to the university usually only with signed employment contract

Type of activity during training


  • Academic education
  • Depending on the degree course, compulsory internships, voluntary internships and/or internship semesters are possible
  • Academic education at university
  • Learning practical skills in a company

Where can I find places / stdy places?


<< to the top

dual training and training in schools


dual training

training in schools


Vocational qualification

Vocational qualification

Places of learning

  • Companies
  • Vocational schools
  • Vocational schools or professional academies
  • Companies (during internships)

Duration (regular)

2 to 3.5 years

1 to 3 year(s)


Monthly training allowance depending on sector and company

  • Tuition fees only incurred at private vocational schools
  • Rarely training remuneration (depending on profession)

Composition /

  • Change between company and vocational school, e.g. three days per week in the company, two days at vocational school
  • Training usually begins 1.8. or 1.9.
  • Five days per week Vocational schools
  • Block internships on certain days

Where and when to apply?

  • Application to a company, registration at a vocational school by the company
  • Start of application phase usually one year before start of vocational training
  • Application to the respective vocational school or technical academy
  • Half to one year before start of vocational training

Type of activity during training


  • Learning practical skills in company Technical instruction at vocational school
  • Technical instruction at vocational school Learning practical skills through exercises and internships

 << to the top

More information

Contact points and important links

abi» Portal
Section „Study“: studium.abi.de
Section „Vocational Training“: ausbildung.abi.de


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abi» 05.04.2019

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