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Intermediate level specialisation courses


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.10Intermediate level specialisation courses

Last update: 20 February 2024

Organisation of specialisation courses 

Specialisation courses in Vocational Training are a type of education that complements the competences of students with Intermediate Vocational Training qualifications and facilitates lifelong learning. They allow students to deepen and broaden the knowledge and skills acquired during their Vocational Training studies.

The specialisation courses integrate theoretical-practical contents adapted to the different professional fields and are organised in modules, with a duration varying between 300 and 900 hours.

These courses complement or deepen the competences of those who already have a vocational training qualification or fulfil the access conditions established in each case.

Those who pass an intermediate level Vocational Training specialisation course will be awarded the title of Specialist in the corresponding professional profile.

Institutions offering specialisation courses

According to article 78 of Organic Law 3/2022 on the organisation and integration of vocational training, the institutions and bodies that may provide vocational training must necessarily be included as a general rule in the regional administrative registry. Subject to administrative authorisation and registration, they may provide vocational training:

  • Public and private institutions authorised and accredited for this purpose by the competent administration. Public centres are designated as follows:
    • secondary education institutions (IES), when they provide compulsory secondary education (ESO), bachillerato and vocational training;
    • vocational training institutions, when they only provide vocational training programmes.
  • Integrated vocational training centres.
  • The  national reference centres, with the requirements and under the conditions established for this purpose.
  • Public or private bodies with which the competent administrations sign agreements or establish any other form of collaboration, including, in particular and for these purposes, institutions considered as second chance centres.
  • Public or private companies which, with their own or outsourced resources, carry out training actions included in the National Catalogue of Vocational Training Provision  for their own workers, under the conditions established in the corresponding regulations.

Geographical accessibility

It is the responsibility of the State to promote actions that allow for the choice of any educational option desired, regardless of the place of residence, as long as the established academic requirements are met.

Along that same line, the educational authorities, based on the principle of collaboration, must facilitate access both to education with a limited offer and to institutions in neighbouring areas for students who have no such educational offer in institutions close to or in their own autonomous community. This circumstance shall be taken into account in the student admission processes.

Furthermore and once again based on the principle of collaboration, the educational authorities must facilitate access to their facilities with educational value and the use of their resources by students and teachers from other autonomous communities.

Admission requirements and choice of school

To access the Intermediate level specialisation courses, students must hold a Technician's Certificate in the specialisation specified in the royal decrees governing each of the courses:

Specialisation course in 5G network implementation 

Specialisation course in Installation and maintenance of systems connected to the Internet

Specialisation course in Artisan Bakery and Pastry making

Specialisation Course in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Maintenance

Age levels and grouping of pupils

Intermediate vocational training can be taken as long as students meet some of the admission requirements mentioned. Consequently, the age of access will be sixteen or seventeen, depending on the established requirement.

The duration of these courses varies between one and two years. It is quite common to have different aged-students in the same group.

A form teacher is assigned to each group, but specialist teachers are responsible for teaching the different subjects.

The education authorities are responsible for establishing the number of students per group in each training cycle, depending on its characteristics, the location of the educational institution and the organisation of specific groups. The teacher/student ratio per unit is regulated by theMEFD in article 46.6 of Royal Decree 1147/2011, establishing a maximum of 30 students per unit. However, the educational authorities may authorise an increase of up to ten per cent in the maximum number of students per classroom in public and publicly-funded private schools in the same schooling area for various reasons:

  • address immediate schooling needs of late starters;
  • needs arising from the transfer of the family unit during an extraordinary schooling period, either due to forced mobility of either parent or legal guardian, or as a result of the initiation of a family placement measure for the person attending school.

Organisation of the school year

The educational authorities within their jurisdiction, are responsible for annually establishing the school year calendar. In basic vocational education, the minimum of 175 teaching days applies for basic courses. In intermediate vocational training, the timetable is adjusted to the number of hours in the training cycles.

Activity in schools starts on September 1st and ends at least on June 30th. For students the teaching activity begins during the month of September and ends in June in the first year in Bachillerato, and is established depending on the dates of the exam for access to university in the second year of bachillerato. The exact dates are set by the educational authorities in each autonomous community. The teaching activity is organised taking into account the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, giving rise to terms of varying length. However, some autonomous communities have also tried to divide the year in two month periods. 

School holidays for students are spread out over the whole year in the following manner:

  • approximately eleven weeks of summer holidays;
  • about fifteen days at Christmas;
  • between eight and eleven days in late March or early April, corresponding to Easter;
  • between two and three days for Carnival, depending on each autonomous community;
  • around twelve days declared as public holidays or non-school days by the MEFD or the regional or local authorities.

This distribution of holidays, public holidays and non-school days can vary significantly from one autonomous community to another.

During the summer holidays, educational institutions may remain open until the end of July for administrative purposes. Depending on the organisation of each educational centre, the same may occur on non-holiday days during the Christmas and Easter breaks.

Organisation of the school day and week

Schools establish the weekly and daily timetable, respecting the minimum number of teaching days established by law and in the guidelines on school day set by each autonomous community.

The schoolgeneral timetable, in the School Development Plan, must specify the following aspects:

  • school opening time and conditions;
  • teaching hours;
  • availability of school services and facilities out of school hours.

The weekly timetable tin both basic and intermediate vocational training is organised from Monday to Friday, except holidays, according to the school calendar. In general, it comprises 30 to 32 lessons lasting 55 minutes each, i.e., 6 or 7 lessons daily lessons.

During the school day, there is a 30-40 minute break divided into two periods, usually either after every two or three lessons or as a single period by mid-morning. It is quite common to have vocational training cycles scheduled in the afternoon.

The weekly and daily timetable, as proposed by the management team, must be approved by the School Council and ratified by the Education Administration. If it does not include the scheduled teaching activities, the relevant education authority returns it to the school so that it can be revised and corrected.

Teaching and learning in specialisation courses

Curricula of Intermediate Level Specialisation Courses

The curriculum is understood as the set of objectives, competences (key and specific), contents (stated in the form of basic knowledge), pedagogical methods (through learning situations), assessment criteria and learning outcomes.

The Administration, through the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sport (MEFD), after consulting the autonomous communities, establishes the basic curriculum (basic contents of the modules, general objectives, professional, personal and social competences, learning outcomes and assessment criteria) in order to ensure common education for all pupils. 

The educational authorities of the autonomous communities establish the curriculum in their respective administration spheres, in compliance with the rules that regulate the different vocational training programmes. 

The curriculum of intermediate level specialisation courses is organised into successive levels of concretion, which progressively adapt to the specificities of the school environment and the students who attend it. For this reason, educational institutions also play an active role in implementing the curriculum in accordance with the characteristics and expectations of the students, with special attention to the needs of those with disabilities. They also take into account the training possibilities offered by their surrounding area, especially when it comes to the work placement vocational module. Along these lines, they prepare a series of tools for formulating their pedagogic and curricular organisation:

  • the school development plan, which includes the application of the established curricula by the Education Administration;
  • the didactic programmes;
  • the written report at the end of the school year, which reflects and evaluates the school activities and the running of the school.

The educational community takes part in the elaboration of these documents through the respective government and coordination teaching bodies of the school. The curricula established by the Education Administration are set and approved by the school staff, as well as the educational aspects of the yearly general programme.

Within the framework of the basic elements of the curriculum of each qualification and the modular organisation of vocational training cycles and specialisation courses, the educational administrations shall promote flexibility and specialisation in their training provision with the aim of promoting innovation and employability.


The specialisation courses integrate theoretical-practical contents adapted to the different professional fields and are organised in modules, with a duration varying between 300 and 600 hours). 

The curricula include:

  • general competency description;
  • professional, personal and social competences;
  • prospective of the specialisation course in the sector(s);
  • general objectives;
  • basic contents in the vocational modules.


Intermediate level specialisation courses have a duration of one academic year, between 300 and 900 hours and a number of ECTS credits which varies according to the degree and its modules.

The number of specialisation courses offered is limited to 5:

Specialisation course in 5G network implementation 

Specialisation course in Installation and maintenance of systems connected to the Internet

Specialisation course in Artisan Bakery and Pastry making

Specialisation Course in Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Maintenance

In addition, in some cases they may be developed on a dual basis, between the training centre and the company, including an in-company training phase.

DUAL nature of Vocational Training

According to Organic Law 3/2022 on the Organisation and Integration of Vocational Training (LOOIFP), all vocational training provision aimed at obtaining a professional certificate (Grade C), a Training Cycle (Grade D) or a specialisation course (Grade E) is dual in nature, incorporating a training phase in a company or similar organisation. The dual nature of Vocational Training will be developed by means of an appropriate distribution of the training processes between the vocational training institutions and the companies or equivalent bodies, both contributing to the achievement of the competences established in each training offer

The in-company training phase will last at least 25 % of the total planned duration of the training and must take place in one or more public or private companies or similar bodies belonging to the production or service sector relevant to the training.

Teaching methods, curricular materials and teaching resources

Teaching Methods

The teaching methodology is the set of strategies, procedures and actions consciously and thoughtfully organised and planned by teachers with the aim of guaranteeing student learning and the attainment of the stated objectives.

The general strategy for the methodology of vocational training is the design and development of innovative methodologies that have an impact on the quality and impact of these programmes. These methodologies promote the skills associated with innovation by applying, through projects, inclusive and innovative methodologies close to the work reality which encourage training linked to initiative and creativity in new situations.

The MEFD establishes the methodological principles that must guide the teaching practice in vocational training. They feature the following characteristics:

  • Educational activities in vocational training must be adapted to the specific characteristics of the students, adopting an organisation of the curriculum from an applied perspective.
  • Special attention must be paid to students with specific educational support needs, maintaining educational inclusion as one of the principles of these programmes. To this end, the organisational and methodological alternatives and measures to cater for diversity must be established, using the principles of Universal Design for Learning, in order to facilitate these students' access to the curriculum.
  • It must be guaranteed that students acquire skills related to digitalisation, career management, innovation, entrepreneurship, technological versatility, knowledge and professional project management, commitment to sustainable development and the prevention of occupational and environmental risks, and professional responsibility.

Within their pedagogic autonomy, schools are in charge of defining the teaching methods in the classroom, according to the said pedagogic principles. They also decide on curricular materials and didactic resources. In this regard, they must develop their pedagogical proposals for all students, taking into account their diversity. Likewise, they must adopt methods that take into account the different learning paces of students, favour their ability to learn on their own and promote teamwork.

Each teacher can make their own methodological decisions, which must respect both the agreements made at school level and what the relevant education authorities establish.

Curricular materials and teaching resources

Textbooks and teaching materials do not require the previous authorisation of the education authorities for their adoption and publication. In any case, they must:

  • be adapted to the scientific rigour adequate for the pupils’ age group and to the approved curriculum set by each Education Authority;
  • reflect and promote respect for the principles, values, freedom, rights and constitutional duties, as well as the principles and values set out in current educational laws and in Organic Law 1/2004 on Comprehensive Protection Measures against Gender Violence, with which all educational activity must comply.

In the exercise of pedagogical autonomy, it is up to the educational coordination bodies of each public educational institution to decide on the textbooks and other materials to be used in the development of the different areas.

The supervision of textbooks and other curricular materials is the responsibility of the educational authorities and constitutes part of the ordinary process of inspection carried out by each of them on all the elements composing the teaching and learning process. In any case, it is necessary to ensure respect for the principles and values contained in the Constitution and the provisions of all regulations in force.

Students and their families bear the costs of textbooks and school materials.  The educational authorities offer grants and financial support for post-compulsory education students, including students enrolled in vocational training studies, in order to contribute to this expenditure. To this end, the MEFD promotes, within the Sectoral Committee for Education, programmes that facilitate the availability of textbooks at no cost and other curricular materials through a system of loans or grants. This Sectoral Committee, through the General Education Commission (support body), agrees on the objective criteria for distribution, as well as the amounts to be transferred in favour of each autonomous community in each budget year. The agreement and the distribution for the year 2022 can be accessed at the following link.

At the same time, there are a number of regional and local aids for the purchase of textbooks and school materials for students attending publicly-funded schools.

Finally, although various initiatives have been carried out by different Education Administrations to regulate the homework that students must do outside school hours, in Spain there is no specific legislation regulating this aspect at a national level. It therefore remains at the discretion of each teacher or whatever arrangements are made at the school.

Facilities and equipment

The Royal Decree for each of the intermediate level specialisation courses offered defines in its annexes the necessary spaces and equipment for the teaching to be carried out. These facilities must be adapted to the activities of each of the professional modules taught and must comply with the following conditions: 

  • The surface area shall be established according to the number of people occupying the training space and shall allow for the development of the teaching-learning activities while ensuring the required ergonomics and mobility within the space.
  • They shall cover the need for furniture, equipment and auxiliary work tools.
  • They shall respect the safety areas or surfaces required by the machines and equipment in use.
  • They shall comply with the regulations on occupational risk prevention, health and safety regulations in the workplace and any other applicable regulations.

In addition, the equipment included in each setting must be necessary and sufficient to guarantee the students' acquisition of the learning outcomes and the quality of teaching.

Assessment, promotion and certification in specialisation courses

The Government, through the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sport (MEFD), in consultation with the autonomous communities, is responsible for designing the basic aspects of the curriculum in relation to, among others, the assessment criteria for each stage, in order to ensure a common education throughout the national territory.

They are completed and specified by the educational authorities in their respective administrative scopes. The educational institutions also do so in their programmes, while the Teachers’ Assemblies are responsible for setting the criteria for pupil’s assessment.

Each teacher can adopt the evaluation techniques and instruments that he/she deems most appropriate in each context.

According to article 123 of Royal Decree 659/2023, the evaluation of intermediate level specialisation courses has the following characteristics:

  • Assessment is continuous, adapted to the different learning methodologies, and must be based on the verification of learning outcomes under the quality conditions established in the curriculum.
  • It is carried out by vocational modules, taking as a reference the objectives, expressed in learning outcomes, and the assessment criteria of each of the modules, as well as the general objectives of the training cycle. 
  • The widespread use of varied and flexible assessment instruments adapted to the different learning situations is promoted, allowing for the objective assessment of all students, and which also ensure that the conditions for the processes associated with assessment are adapted to the needs of students with specific educational support needs, guaranteeing the accessibility of assessment.
  • The teaching staff or experts responsible for each professional module assess by reference to the objectives, expressed in learning outcomes, and the assessment criteria. The final assessment decisions are taken collectively on the basis of the degree of acquisition of the competences corresponding to the specialisation course.
  • In the event that the specialisation course includes training in a company or similar body, the dual company tutor shall collaborate, under the terms set out in this provision, in the assessment of the learning outcomes jointly undertaken by the training centre and the company.
  • Completion of an intermediate level specialisation course requires a Pass grade in all the vocational modules comprised in the training cycle.
  • The education authorities may exceptionally establish extraordinary calls for those people who have exhausted the four allowed due to illness, disability or other reasons that condition or prevent the ordinary development of their studies.

Marks are expressed in numbers from 1 to 10, whole numbers only. The specialisation course will be passed when the professional modules comprising it, with their respective learning outcomes, are positively assessed, or when the teaching team, collectively, considers that the professional competences covered by the course have been acquired.

Students who pass an intermediate level Vocational Training specialisation course will be awarded the title of Specialist in the corresponding professional profile.