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Programmes, courses and qualifications

CET takes place in different contexts. The range of CET programmes and courses is very broad, with different objectives, content and durations according to target group. There are a wide variety of private, state, in-company, non-profit-oriented and profit-oriented CET providers. These include, for instance:

  • public providers (e.g. universities, universities of applied sciences, universities of teacher education, PET colleges, and VET schools)

  • private, profit-oriented providers

  • companies

  • private, non-profit-oriented providers (e.g. non-profit organisations, adult education centres, parent education organisations etc.)

  • social-partnership-based, political or denominational or non-denominational providers (professional organisations, trade unions, national churches etc.)

  • associations and umbrella organisations

  • CET in self-organised groups

The vast majority of CET providers are privately operated and are financed by the demand side. Depending on the context in which CET takes place, state support can be realised. In the field of job-related CET, companies play a key role, either by offering in-company CET courses, or by participating in the CET of their staff (time off from work or funding CET courses).

Admission requirements

The admission requirements depend on the type of CET. For the majority of CET courses, there are no special admission requirements. Special admission requirements can apply to certain CET programmes offered by tertiary level A institutions (Master of Advanced Studies [MAS], Diploma of Advanced Studies [DAS], Certificate of Advanced Studies [CAS]) or colleges of higher education (CET programmes). In these programmes, usually a qualification from a tertiary level A institution or equivalent qualifications are required.

Organisation of CET

The structures of CET courses and programmes, the time required, forms of certification etc. vary greatly and depend on the selected CET course and programme. Since the mid-1990s, modular education has taken hold in many areas of the CET sector in Switzerland. Modules are self-contained units which can be attended individually, or combined with other modules to form a particular training programme. The modular system is an open and permeable system.


The type of qualification varies according to the CET programme and course. The providers can award their own non-state-recognised certificates or confirmations of course attendance. At tertiary level A institutions, in addition to confirmations of course attendance, the following qualifications can also be obtained:

  • Master of Advanced Studies (MAS): at least 60 ECTS credits
  • Diploma of Advanced Studies (DAS): at least 30 ECTS credits
  • Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS): at least 10 ECTS credits.

CET at colleges of higher education lead to a federally recognised diploma. The suffix "NDS HF" is added to the name of the course (e.g. "dipl. Controller NDS HF").

Through special training courses teachers can catch up later in life on a variety of diplomas. This is done by different procedures. Recognised diploma like the Baccalaureate, the Federal VET Certificate, the Federal VET Diploma or the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate are being considered as formal education and not continuing education.