Vocational Training in Germany

A young man checks something on a machine © Bernhard Ludewig

The vocational training in Germany is highly regarded internationally. That is why many young South Africans are interested in it.

The vocational training in Germany is highly valued internationally. That is why many young South Africans are also interested in it. The inquiries regarding the vocational training has increased by a lot. The number of learners, who take our German courses to prepare for an apprenticeship has increased as well. Because of this, we have gathered some information about vocational programmes.

Please note that the legal requirements as well as the list of jobs in demand are subject to change. Because of this, all information on this page is without warranty.


What is vocational training?

Vocational Training is a way of obtaining a professional qualification in Germany. It combines theory and practical experience...

How long is the vocational training?

The duration for a vocational training is between two and three and a half years, depending on the kind of job. Most of the time it does take three years however and is concluded by a final exam. Under special circumstances the duration can be shortened or extended.

Which language level is required?

Decent knowledge of the German language and culture are very important. After all, South African trainees should feel feel comfortable and have an easy time navigating everyday life in Germany. The teaching and exam language at vocational schools is also German. Because of this, the required level is usually at least B1. If a trainee wants to enter Germany while still looking for a traineeship, a minimum level of B2 is required.

Duale Ausbildung in Deutschland - Zoleka © Bernhard Ludewig

Which visa is required?

  1. The visa to acquire vocational degree can be applied for, when you can provide proof an apprenticeship position, i.e. via a contract. For a qualified traineeship the permission of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Federal Agency of Employment) is typically acquired first as a part of the visa process.
  2. You would like to enter Germany to apply here? In that case you should apply for a visa for the purpose of searching for a traineeship. This is possible because of the enactment of the Fachkräfteeinwanderungsgesetzes (law for the immigration of skilled workers) as of 1 March 2020. Due to this law, prospective trainees can stay within the country for six months to look for a traineeship. You should meet the following requirements for this: 
  • a degree from a German school abroad or a school degree which qualifies for university
  • Knowledge of the German language at a B2 level at least
  • a maximum age of 25 years
  • a proof of cost of living coverage

Please note that the Goeth-Institut has no authority to make any statements about individual visa applications. All questions pertaining these should be directed towards the Germany Embassy South Africa.

How high the salary during training?

Trainees receive an in-training salary. The scale of this compensations depends on the sector and the region in which the business is located. For example, salaries in Eastern Germany tend to be a little less than in Western Germany, as is the cost of living. As of 2020, the legal minimum wage is 515 € monthly for the first year of training. This remuneration increases over the duration of the vocational training.

Duale Ausbildung in Deutschland - Mandi © Bernhard Ludewig

What kind of jobs are currently in demand?

Jobs, which are locally or nationally in demand are categorised as in demand. Currently this concerns mainly the health and care sector, but also the MINT-sector (Mathematics, Information Technology, Natural Science, Tech) has a great demand in personnel.

What is the proof of precedence?

During the visa process for a vocational training the approval of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit (BA, the Federal Agency of Employment) needs to be obtained.
The BA checks if there are endemic candidates to be prioritized for that particular training position (proof of precedence). It also checks if foreign applicants are being hired with the same conditions at German trainees. 


Frequently Asked Questions