Upper secondary specialised school

Key terms: Mobility and exchange / Occupational, educational and career guidance

Upper secondary specialised schools are schools which provide general education at upper secondary level. They offer preparation for tertiary level professional education in specific occupational fields at colleges of higher education (upper secondary specialised school programme) and universities of applied sciences (specialised Baccalaureate programme). They represent an alternative to a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate or Baccalaureate by providing school-based preparation for tertiary level professional education , oriented towards a particular occupational field.

Upper secondary specialised schools must be recognised by the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK). The recognition is based on the Regulations on the Recognition of Certificates from Upper Secondary Specialised Schools and on various guidelines issued by the EDK. There are upper secondary specialised schools in 22 cantons. They are mostly operated by the cantons; in addition, there are also private providers of upper secondary specialised schools.

Organisation of the specialised school programme

Enrolment at an upper secondary specialised school occurs after compulsory education (at the age of 15). The admission requirements are regulated by each canton. Entrance examination and/or admission interviews can be conducted. Admission can also be granted without examination. The programme leads to a Swiss-wide recognised upper secondary specialised school certificate. This qualification enables admission to colleges of higher education in the studied occupational field.

Organisation of the specialised Baccalaureate programme

The specialised Baccalaureate programme is a one-year additional course after a 3-year upper secondary specialised school programme, and leads to a Swiss-wide recognised Specialised Baccalaureate. The Specialised Baccalaureate enables direct admission to specific studies at universities of applied sciences in the studied occupational field. According to the choice of studies, the enrolment to a university of applied sciences may require an aptitude assessment. The Specialised Baccalaureate in the occupational field ”educational science” entitles to direct admission to studies for pre-school and primary school-level teachers at a university of teacher education. Holders of a specialised Baccalaureate who have passed a supplementary examination are also admitted to universities.

Catch up on qualification as an adult

Adults can complete a upper secondary specialised school programme or a specialised Baccalaureate programme at a recognised full-time or part-time school for adults.

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Last update of this page: 28.10.2021