Budapest (Picture from Wikimedia)Young Hungarians are at the crossroads of 2 education systems: the old one and the new one.

The vocational training pathway in the old system had a bad reputation among young people and employers. Young people following this pathway obtained mediocre results and lost all motivation. Furthermore, the pathway had few links with the labour market.

Since 2009, an amendment has authorised pupils to start their vocational training, if they so wish, from the age of 14, so that they may obtain a vocational qualification after 3 years. New curricula brought in at the start of the school year 2010 aim to make the system more flexible, more efficient and more in line with the requirements of the labour market. Since 2013, vocational schools are managed by the state. An external evaluation and inspection system were put in place.


The Hungarian education system – 2014


Hungarian system  (© Onisep /Elise Veteau)




The vocational pathway in Hungary


Secondary education

In Hungary, upper secondary education is divided into 3 streams, 2 of which offer vocational education and training (VET):

  • The mainstream grammar school (Gimnázium) (lower and upper cycles) from 10 to 18 years old. The school-leaving certificate (Erettségi) allows pupils to move on to higher education.
  • The technical secondary school (Szakközépiskola) from 14 to 18/19 years old. Both mainstream and vocational education are on offer here and pupils can go on to higher education.
  • The vocational secondary school (Szakiskola) from 14 to 17/18 years old. This school offers vocational training leading to a vocational diploma.


Higher education

Higher Education VET Programs  (felsöoktatási szakképzés, FSZ) are open to students who have obtained a certificate on completing secondary education. They cover 2 years of study and are awarded 60 credits. Since the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year, only colleges can offer vocational higher education.



Since 2010, the Hungarian government is encouraging the setting-up of dual training. Dual training is available since 2013 throughout secondary education and mainly leads to the crafts and trades.


Key figures

  • In 2012, 11.5% of 18 to 24 year-olds left the education and training system at an early age.  (Eurostat – 2013)
  • 70% of secondary school pupils sit the national school-leaving examination, enabling them to pursue studies in higher education. (OECD – 2013)

Last update : 27/05/2014 

To find out more

The Hungarian Education system on Eurypedia

EURES (European Job Mobility Portal) : Living and working in Hungary

The Ministry for Education (Educatio Kht)

The Euroguidance portal in Hungary, a comprehensive portal on studies, living in Hungary etc.

The Hungarian centre for information and diploma equivalences

The national agency for employment Nemzeti (Foglalkoztatási Szolgálat)

The Hungarian association of trades and crafts (Ipartestületek Országos Szövetsége)

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Magyar Kereskedelmi és Iparkamara)

The Confederation of Hungarian employers and industrialists (Munkaadók és Gyáriparosok Országos Szövetsége)

Hungarian higher education portal