Deciding on the right training or the right third-level studies is one of the most important decisions in a young person's life. With its numerous organisations in the trades, retail and industry sectors that provide traineeships and its 25 institutes of higher education, the Stuttgart Region provides excellent opportunities for starting and developing a career.

Vocational Training

Many professions in Germany are learned through the dual training system rather than at a third-level institution. The dual training system with its mix of vocational practice and teaching of specialist theoretical knowledge at the vocational school is well respected in Germany and is a model that is being exported to more and more other countries.

There are also professions that are learned during training at school. Such training includes in particular vocational training in the fields of health and education. Practical experience can be obtained through several internships in organisations.

The duration of the training is not the same for all of the roughly 350 training occupations. Depending on the profession and the amount of previous knowledge, training can take between two and three and a half years. Before the traineeship begins, a traineeship agreement is concluded between the trainee and the company. In addition to the duration of the training, it also regulates the content and objectives of the traineeship and the amount of pay.

Dual Vocational Training

The dual training system comprises a lot of practical work in the respective organisation that is supplemented with theory phases at a vocational school which take place in weekly or longer continuous blocks. On the other days, you will be in an organisation and will apply this knowledge by, for example, working on a machine.

The combination of theory and practice prepares trainees particularly well for what will be expected of them in companies: not only specialist knowledge but also practical experience in applying that knowledge.

You can find further information on different vocational training on the BerufeNet page and the BerufeTV film portal on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.

If you are a citizen of a third country, i.e. not a citizen of the EU or of Lichtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you need a visa in order to commence your training. In order to obtain a visa, you need to have already found a traineeship that is approved by the ZAV or Zentrale Auslands- und Fachvermittlung (Federal Employment Agency's International Placement Services). You can find further information on the legal regulations regarding the work permit here.

You can find out from the German embassy in your home country whether you need to meet further prerequisites for the visa and what documents you need. You can find the addresses of the German representative bodies in your country under In Germany in Make it in Germany.

Finding a traineeship

Traineeships for dual vocational training are granted by the companies directly. If you are interested in training in the Stuttgart Region, you have to apply directly to the company as if you were applying for a normal job. Traineeships generally start in August or September. Many companies look for trainees at a very early stage, and often traineeships are advertised and even filled a year beforehand.

For example, you can find traineeships using the following traineeship marketplaces:

IHK Lehrstellenbörse: Traineeship marketplace of the Stuttgart Region Chamber of Industry and Commerce

HWK Lehrstellenbörse: Traineeship marketplace of the Stuttgart Region Chamber of Craft Trades

Jobs marketplace of the Federal Employment Agency for finding jobs across Germany


Helpful hint: If you wish to start a traineeship in Germany, it is essential to have a good knowledge of German. You can find further information on the prerequisites on the Make it in Germany internet portal.


Unlike many other countries, studying in Germany is free, as most state institutes of higher education do not charge course fees for the first course of studies.

Depending on the type of third-level institution, applicants will need to have a Hochschulreife or Fachhochschulreife (higher education entrance qualifications). In the case of foreign qualifications, the office for student affairs or the international office of the target university will examine the equivalence of the foreign higher education entrance qualification with a German Abitur (school-leaving certificate that is a general qualification for university entrance).

If it is not equivalent, you will have to complete a preparatory course before you can commence your studies. This generally takes one year and will prepare you for studying in Germany. You can find more detailed information on the regulations on the homepage of the Kultusministerkonferenz - Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs - Central Office for Educational Affairs Abroad).

You can find more on the topic of studying in Germany under Student visa and Recognition of international qualifications as well as on the website of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

Institutes of higher education in the region

The Stuttgart Region is one of Europe's strongest economic and technological locations. People in Germany and abroad associate the Stuttgart Region with innovative power, a spirit of invention, creativity, commitment and reliable work achievements. The institutes of higher education and research institutes in the region perform particularly well and are characterised by excellent teaching and research, particularly in the technical subjects and the natural sciences.

Under Downloads in the right-hand column, you can find a list of the institutes of higher education in the region as well as their areas of special focus. You can find more information on the region as a location for third-level education here.

Working while studying

Students in Germany need around EUR 800 per month on average to cover their living costs. You can earn some of this with a student job. One of the nice things about a casual job is that you will get to know Germany and the Germans better, make contacts as well as improve your German skills. How much you are allowed to work during your studies depends on where you come from:

Like German students, students from the EU, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland can work up to 20 hours per week outside of lecture times. They can earn as much as they wish in the semester holidays.

Students from a country outside of the EU or from Croatia can work for 120 full days or 240 half days a year without the approval of the pertinent authorities (Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen - Central Office for Educational Affairs Abroad).

DAAD scholarships and other sponsors provide another potential source of funding. You can find out more about the DAAD funding possibilities as well as other selected organisations that provide funding for international students in the DAAD's scholarship database.

Of course, students are also allowed to do internships. This is important in order to familiarise yourself with the world of work in Germany and to acquire knowledge and establish networks that will help you later when looking for a job. Further information is available from the DAAD. You can get support for finding an internship here.

Working after your studies

Working after your studies

Ideally you will start looking for a suitable job around six months before completing your studies. As an EU citizen you can start working straight away after finishing your studies.

For graduates from Croatia, an application does not have to be made to the ZAV for an EU work permit if you are an academic specialist who wishes to take up employment that corresponds your third-level education.

Non-EU citizens can apply to the immigration authorities either for a residence permit or the EU Blue Card. These two residence titles are linked to different prerequisites.

If you do not find employment that corresponds to your qualifications directly after graduating, you can apply to the immigration authorities responsible for you for a 'Jobseeker's residence permit'. This is valid for a period of 18 months to search for a job that corresponds to your qualifications. During those 18 months, you can take up any kind of employment in order to pay your living costs and finance your job search. The prerequisites for obtaining the residence permit are the graduation certificate from the institute of higher education as well as proof of health insurance.
You can get more information under Work permit and from the immigration authorities responsible for you.


Helpful hint: You can find descriptions of more than 3,000 professions in the BERUFENET internet portal of the Federal Employment Agency. Under BerufeTV, you can watch more than 350 films to find out about training and studying professions.

The Welcome Service Region Stuttgart (WSRS) is an offering by the Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH). The project is funded by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Tourism Baden-Württemberg.