Ausbildung, Duales Studium, and other studying programs that only Germans know about

We will look at alternative educational programs that are popular among Germans but often overlooked by foreigners

Thousands of international students apply for master’s and bachelor’s programs in German universities every year. However, many of them do not know that this country has much more to offer. In the article, we will look at alternative educational programs that are popular among Germans but often overlooked by foreigners.


Not all jobs require an academic experience in Germany. In fact, many professions like, for example, accountant or hairdresser imply a lot of practical knowledge and are not taught at universities. To get qualified to do this kind of jobs in Germany, you have to apply for Ausbilding, an educational program that combines work and training. Students (or Azubis in German) work as trainees in companies and, in parallel, attend classes at the professional school. On the one hand, it may seem like a pretty packed schedule. On the other hand, as Azubi you get a lot of professional experience which is often missing after getting an academic degree. Furthermore, you are paid for your work, and companies which hire trainees are usually very interested in letting you stay after you finish the program.

If you want to do an Ausbildung, find a trainee position first and then go through a typical hiring process consisting of an interview and sometimes a test. You will be asked to demonstrate your school marks, motivation, and good German skills which have to be at least at the B2 level. If everything goes well, you get a contract and the employer assigns you to the professional school. You can start the application process while staying in your home country, but most companies want to get to know candidates in person before hiring so it is recommended to be in Germany at that time.

Duales Studium

Duales Studium is a studying program that is just like Ausbildung combines work and studying. The difference is that students go to the university and obtain a complete bachelor’s degree. Unlike other classmates who do only their bachelor’s, they have a flexible schedule and do not have to attend every lecture and seminar. The workload is also much higher as you have to do both university and work assignments.
Duales Studium is a great idea for those who want to get professional experience while studying. It also gives you a chance to enter big German companies like Siemens or BMW which hire students to work in different fields every year. You also do need to worry about financing your education because you are paid until the program is finished.
Duales Studium is usually offered only for STEM subjects and the application process takes longer than for any other educational program. It starts one year in advance and consists of several interviews, tests of general and specialized knowledge, and a short trial. You will also need to demonstrate good school marks and great German skills (C1 level).


If you cannot focus only on your studies because of a job, family, or any other reason, you should consider Fernstudium, which allows getting a high-quality education online. Furthermore, it is possible to choose between full-time and part-time options.

The most well-known German university which offers Fernstudium is FernUniversität Hagen where you can find bachelor's and master's programs in different areas and even apply for a PhD position. You do not have to stay in Germany to study there, but it is still required to take exams in person with the possibility to choose one of the locations in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, or Hungary. The application process does not differ from other universities in Germany but German is often the only language of instruction.


Foreign students in Germany are often worried about their job opportunities in the future. One of the ways to increase your chances in the German job market is to complete a short educational program called Weiterbildung. These kinds of programs are always dedicated to one special topic (e.g. Content Management, Project Management, etc.) and are offered by certified German training companies. The advantage of Weiterbildung is that you learn things needed in your professional life which is a great addition to your academic degree. It also does not require much time as the length of the programs usually varies from one up to 8-9 months. Weiterbildung is not free, but students are usually offered big discounts.
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