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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Teachers and education staff


9.Teachers and education staff

Last update: 27 November 2023

Teacher training for pre-school level, primary level (including pre-school or the first learning cycle), lower secondary level and upper secondary level general education schools (baccalaureate schools and upper secondary specialised schools) and for special needs education mainly takes place at universities of teacher education.

The Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) regulations on the recognition of diplomas govern the recognition of diplomas throughout Switzerland and lay down controls on the quality of training and leaving certificates. The regulations on recognition contain minimum requirements namely as regards the training objectives and content, scope of studies, admission requirements and qualifications of lecturers and of instructors specialised in the practical side of teacher training. 
Teacher training courses qualify graduates directly for the profession and lead to a teaching degree and to an academic degree – depending on the school level at which graduates are to teach, a Bachelor (BA) or a Master (MA) degree. The teaching degrees are recognised throughout Switzerland:

  • pre-school level and/or primary school level teacher (at least a BA)

  • lower secondary level teacher (at least a MA)

  • upper secondary level baccalaureate school teacher (i.e. schools leading to the baccalaureate, upper secondary specialised school certificate or specialised baccalaureate) (at least a MA plus one-year training leading to a teaching degree)

  • training courses in the field of special needs education: specialising in remedial education in early childhood and remedial education at school (further study at Master level)

  • training courses in speech therapy and psychomotor therapy (at least a BA)

Training for teachers at upper secondary level vocational schools and at tertiary level colleges of higher education takes place at the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET) and at other tertiary-level institutions such as universities of teacher education.

The Ordinance on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPETO) regulates the national recognition of teaching degrees and the quality of the training and leaving certificates in the field of vocational and professional education and training. The Ordinance contains minimum requirements relating to educational contents, scope of studies and admission requirements. The degrees qualify directly for the profession and are tailored to the specific educational situation. The teaching degrees are recognised throughout Switzerland:

  • general education teachers at VET schools,

  • vocational education teachers at VET schools,

  • teachers of vocational baccalaureate subjects,

  • teachers at colleges of higher education.

Employment conditions from entering the profession to retirement (terms of appointment, salary, etc.) are regulated by cantonal acts and provisions. This also applies to lecturers at higher education institutions – with the exception of those institutions for which the Confederation is responsible. Teachers and lecturers are public-sector, and in some cases private-sector, community employees. Civil servant status has been abolished in favour of contractual employment.

In their education acts and cantonal provisions, the cantons lay down an obligation, and often also an entitlement, for teachers to complete continuing professional development (CPD). For teachers at vocational schools CPD is regulated by the Vocational and Professional Education and Training Ordinance (VPETO) and is compulsory. CPD courses for teachers are offered by universities of teacher education and other institutions. For lecturers at higher education institutions, universities or service centres offer specific CPD and advisory services in the field of university teaching.

Training for people who stage education events for adults is – with the exception of courses at higher education institutions and colleges of higher education – not regulated by the state.