Skip to main content
European Commission logo
EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Organisation of post-secondary non-tertiary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.10Organisation of post-secondary non-tertiary education

Last update: 3 February 2024


Types of institutions

Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes require completion of compulsory schooling and a general or vocational school certificate. They include the following:

  • Schools and other education and training programmes in the advanced-level healthcare professions; there are three different specialisation options. All three provide the basic education for advanced-level healthcare services:
    • Schools for general healthcare and nursing (Schulen für allgemeine Gesundheits- und Krankenpflege)
    • Schools for psychiatric care (Schulen für psychiatrische Gesundheits- und Krankenpflege)
    • Schools for the care of children and young people (Schulen für Kinder- und Jugendpflege)
  • A higher education entrance examination.

One option for a higher education entrance examination is to take a limited higher education entrance examination. This exam provides access that is restricted to one specific field of study. At an university of applied sciences, graduates can only enrol for a subject-related programme and, if necessary, another programme following additional exams. Preparation courses for graduates of the dual system are offered by adult education institutions (bfi, WIFI, adult education centres or Volkshochschulen) and some VET schools.

Another  Higher education entrance examination, the Berufsreifeprüfung, was introduced. This examination provides general higher education entrance qualifications for graduates of at least 3-year schools of intermediate vocational education and training (=schools of intermediate VET), healthcare and nursing schools, schools for paramedical training and people with the apprenticeship diploma, skilled workers and entrance certificate.

Prior school attendance is not compulsory for admission to the Berufsreifeprüfung because it is designed as an external exam with preparation courses. It consists of 4 partial exams (German, mathematics, a modern foreign language, occupation-related specialisation). The minimum age for the first partial exam is 17, for completing this exam 19 years.

Please also see chapter 8.4

Geographical accessibility

Schools for advanced-level healthcare professions are offered in the whole of Austria. They are connected with hospitals which can offer the resources required to achieve the training objective. 

Admission requirements and choice of school

The most important admission criteria for healthcare professions include:

  • successful completion of compulsory schooling (at least age 17),
  • good health status,
  • trustworthiness,
  • an entrance interview and/or entrance test.

Graduates of the dual system can acquire the higher education entrance qualification.

From 2024, training in advanced-level healthcare and nursing will only take place within the framework of bachelor’s degree courses at universities of applied sciences, and here the special basic training courses in the care of children and young people and psychiatric care will be phased out at the same time in favour of even more generalist-oriented training in general healthcare and nursing. 

Age levels and grouping of pupils/students

People aged 17 and over can enter schools for healthcare and nursing. 

Organisation of the school year

A training year comprises 12 months. The beginning of the first training year is set by the director of the school. In each training year, a total of eight weeks must be school-free, of which at least four weeks must be granted without interruption. 

Organisation of the school day and week

The duration of the theoretical and practical training shall not exceed 40 hours per week in any of the three years of training. A lesson as part of theoretical training lasts a minimum of 45 minutes and a maximum of 50 minutes; the units may be extended or shortened for pedagogical or organisational reasons. An internship lesson as part of practical training lasts 60 minutes.