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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

Last update: 28 November 2023
Principles of the Austrian Educational system

Public schools and universities are, in principle, tuition-free in Austria. Moreover, young people - together with their parents - may freely choose their school (in case of excess applications, schools autonomously decide on admission mostly based on grades). School books and public transport to school are provided for free to every child. School meals and further transport are often provided at low cost.

All children permanently residing in Austria are subject to general compulsory education, which starts in September following the child's sixth birthday and lasts for nine years. Since 2016, young people who have completed compulsory schooling have to enroll in a further education or training measure (or a measure preparing for such a measure) until they reach the age of 18 ("Ausbildungspflicht bis 18").

In terms of training, the Austrian model of a dual apprenticeship system has a long tradition and is highly regarded. The dual vocational training combines apprenticeship in a company and vocational education at a vocational school.

Levels of the Austrian Educational system

Comprehensive information on the Austrian education system is also provided on Eurydice. A graphical representation of the system by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research is attached bellow.

Primary level (4 years)
  • Primary School
  • Special Needs Education
Lower secondary level (4 years)
  • New Secondary School
  • General Secondary School
  • Academic Secondary School - Lower Cycle
  • Special Needs Education
Upper secondary level (1 or 4-5 years)
  • Pre-Vocational School (1 year)
  • Preparation Year for Work (1 year)
  • Special needs education (1 year)
  • Part-time Voc. School and Apprenticeship (Dual Training) (4 years)
  • Academic Secondary School - Upper Cycle (4 years)
  • School for Intermediate Vocational education (4 years)
  • College for Higher Vocational Education (5 years)
Post-secondary and tertiary level
  • Post-secondary VET course
  • School for master-craftsmen
  • University College of Teacher Education
  • University (Mag., Dipl.-Ing., BA + MA, BSc + MSc, BEd + MEd, Dr., PhD)
  • University of Applied Sciences