Professional education institutions (PEIs)

Professional education institutions (PEIs) offer practical study programmes that build from the professional competences acquired during upper-secondary level VET. These study programmes last between two and three years (full-time or part-time). In most cases, they are attended by persons who have successfully completed their VET programme.

Professional education is based on a core syllabus that is prepared by the professional education provider in collaboration with the corresponding professional organisations. This core syllabus is then approved by SERI. Core syllabuses must comply with the provisions of the EAER Ordinance of 11 September 2017 on the Minimum Requirements for the Recognition of Study Programmes and Continuing Education and Training at Professional Education Institutions (MiR-PEI) (SR 412.101.61). The qualification procedure takes place at the PEI directly.

In addition to formal tertiary-level study programmes, PEIs may also offer non-formal continuing education and training (CET). The latter enable people to specialise in a particular field and broaden their managerial competences. Admission to CET courses is open to those who already have a tertiary-level qualification. CET courses are also recognised by SERI but, with the exception of health care, are not based on a core syllabus.

People who have successfully completed a study programme or CET course at a professional education institution receive a federally recognised qualification that indicates the completed study programme or continuing education and training (CET) course.

Since 2006, the transition from professional education to a Bachelor's degree programme at Swiss universities of applied sciences (UAS) is governed by a recommendation from the Rector’s Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (KFH). The knowledge and skills acquired within the framework of professional education may be taken into account on a case-per-case basis. The decision is taken by the UAS to which the student has applied.

Professional qualifications are accompanied by a diploma supplement, which indicates the level that the qualification holds within the Swiss National Qualifications Framework for Vocational and Professional Qualifications (NQF VPQ) and the corresponding level in the European Qualifications Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF).