Get an education in France: 5 tips for your search

Getting an education in France: 5 tips for your search

Think about doing your education in France? Then you should inform yourself in advance according to the requirements, about the training positions offered and professional degrees. We explain which training opportunities are offered in the neighboring country and provide you with tips for your French application for a training position.

Training in France and Germany

In Germany, there are about 1.3 million apprentices, whereas in France, there are only about. 490 000 apprentices. About two-thirds of each generation chooses schooling in France and takes the Baccalaureat (French baccalaureat).

In France, an apprenticeship can be completed either in a full-time vocational school or as a traditional apprenticeship in a company. If you are interested in an apprenticeship in France, it is important to find out in advance about the regulations and procedures, as well as the equivalence of degrees abroad.

Dual training is becoming increasingly popular among young French people, as it offers many advantages. It allows apprentices to combine their studies with work experience in order to find a place in the world of work. But not only students are affected! Even career changers can complete a French training program.

Another advantage of the apprenticeship compared to a classical study is that you are paid during the whole apprenticeship period. It is even possible for your employer to take you on as a permanent employee at the end of your contract.

Below you will find one of created infographic in French, which answers questions about types of contracts, salaries, and areas of activity in which hiring is most common: Infographic – Focus on job-related training in France

You will not have any disadvantages on the German labor market if you complete a full training in France (formation en alternance), because both countries have established a general comparability of professional degrees. For example, a German journeyman's or. skilled worker qualification comparable to the French Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle (CAP), Brevet professionnel (BP) and Baccalaureat professionel (Bac Pro).

The different qualifications in France in detail

CAP – Certificat d'aptitude professionnelle

To obtain a CAP comparable to the German vocational diploma, one must complete two years of regular training. This training is focused on a practical professional activity and can be achieved in two ways: either at a lycee professionnel or at a vocational school (CFA). Thus, the apprenticeship lasts three years if you start it after the cinquieme and two years if you start it after the troisieme. In some cases, short internships organized by the school are part of the training.

The second route is through an apprenticeship (apprentissage), which is completed with an employment contract in the French company and in an accompanying school (s.u.).

BP – Brevet professionnel

The BP covers entire occupational groups, is more theoretically oriented than the CAP and is equivalent to the French vocational baccalaureate Bac Pro. In Germany, it is on a par with the completion of a three- to three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship program.

Bac Pro – Baccalaureat professionel

A Bac Pro can only be obtained if you have previously completed a CAP. Thus, the Bac Pro is a further qualification, which can be achieved in a two-year full-school education at a Lycee professionnel. The practical part of the training is guaranteed by mandatory internships (stage) of at least 16 weeks in local companies that work closely with the Lycees professionnels.

With the Bac Pro, one obtains a degree for a specific profession and also has the opportunity to study at a university. In Germany, this qualification is equivalent to a qualification acquired through three to three-and-a-half years of standard training.

Requirements for an apprenticeship in France

Legally, as an EU citizen with a valid passport or identity card, you have the right to enter and work in France. However, those who wish to work in France for more than three months are obliged to apply for a residence permit at the administrative district (prefecture) and will then receive a so-called carte de sejour. Although this is no longer legally required for EU citizens, it can be quite helpful when opening a bank account, taking out insurance or signing a rental agreement.

As a rule, a French apprenticeship lasts one to three years, depending on the chosen profession. If you are between 16 and 30 years old and interested in a trade in the crafts sector, you can sign an apprenticeship contract (Contrat d'apprentissage) with a company and complete an apprenticeship there.

Similar to Germany, this is an employment contract through which the apprentice is guaranteed training by the employer, which takes place partly in the company itself and partly in a training center (Centre de formation d'apprentis, CFA), where mainly practical, job-related as well as general education content is taught.

This training is remunerated, the amount of remuneration depends – depending on the occupational group – on the collectively agreed minimum wage as well as on the age of the trainee and the year of training.

Apply for an apprenticeship in France

Before applying for a regular apprenticeship in France, you should keep in mind that this is only possible with a good knowledge of French, in order not to have problems in the daily work and in the courses.

To get an apprenticeship in a French company, you must apply directly to the company, as in Germany, and highlight your skills and personal strengths in your written application and in an interview, so that the company recognizes your motivation and decides to hire you.

For help finding the right training company in France, contact the regional Chamber of Crafts (Chambres de Metiers et de l'Artisanat).

One option for German young professionals between the ages of 16 and 25, offers the French Journeymen's Association (Compagnons du Devoir). In more than 20 trades, a complete apprenticeship can be completed in French craft companies.

The duration of training depends on the profession chosen, is usually 2 or 3 years and is recognized as equivalent in Germany. One advantage of this program is that room, board, pay, and language training are also included.

More information to get an education in France

Don't forget to check out our tips for applying for a job in France:

In addition, the education server of the Ministry of National Education in France provides general information on vocational training. For detailed information on specific occupations in all fields, visit onisep.