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Which jobs pay the most and least after a Swiss apprenticeship?

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Which jobs pay the most and least after a Swiss apprenticeship?
Nurses earn good salaries after apprenticeships. Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

Apprenticeships — also called “Vocational Education and Training” (VET) — are a very common career path in Switzerland, with nearly half of all high school graduates opting for this kind of education rather than university. But how much can they expect to earn?


VET has been very popular in Switzerland for many years, with 44 percent of students following this path after their obligatory schooling, according to the Federal Statistical Office (OFS).

In all, 212, 347 students were in vocational training in 2020, OFS figures show.

The most frequently chosen fields were business and administration, wholesale and retail, and building and civil engineering.

During three or four years — depending on the chosen field— students follow a dual-track approach combining practical training at a host company with a part-time classroom instruction at a VET school.

Business organisations determine skills that are most in demand in the labour market, ensuring that apprentices will be adequately trained to meet the demands of the country’s economy.


After the completion of training, students receive a Federal Certificate of Proficiency (EFZ in German, CFC in French, and AFC in Italian), which entitles them to work in their chosen field.

Which post-apprenticeship jobs are most and least lucrative?

Overall, the average salary five years after completing their training is 5,270 francs a month, according to OFS.

In the IT sector, the salary is 1,100 francs above this average, while in sales, the monthly income is less than 5,000 francs.

The second-highest gross median income for full-time employment is that of nurses.

With an average of 6,060 francs / month after five years of employment, they are followed by apprentices with degrees in "electricity and mechanical construction" (5,445 francs), "architecture and construction" (5,425 francs), "accounting, marketing and secretariat ”(5,367 francs) and “ the social sector ”(5,349 francs).

Lowest wages — below 5,000 a month — are in the retail and “personal services” sector.


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Higher education pays off

However, after completing their basic VET training, many students go on to further their education by enrolling in higher professional institutions to receive their Bachelor degrees; some even follow up with the master’s program.

These people can expect to earn 10 percent more than their colleagues who have not continued their education.

People who have obtained a higher-level diploma from a university or a university of applied sciences have a median income of 5,990 francs — 800 francs per month more than those who didn’t opt for further education after completing their initial vocational training.

Salary disparities

The figures cited above are national averages.

There are, however, disparities among the different cantons: five years after the completion of apprenticeship, the median income is 4,850 francs in Ticino, 5,270 francs in German-speaking Switzerland, and 5,200 francs in the French-speaking part.

This does not necessarily mean that professionals in Ticino have less purchasing power. "In order to correctly interpret the regional differences in terms of disposable income, it is also necessary to take into account the price level", the OFS said.

On average, consumer prices are lower in Ticino than elsewhere in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland so expensive?










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