The Spanish educational system
At present, the differing educational systems of the European Union are trying to direct their efforts so that there are fewer differences between countries.
Professional training and universities in Spain
Higher education in Spain is valid around Europe, as more and more courses are taught in English. There is a rich selection of faculties and courses available in universities – from Economics and Business to Medicine and Philosophy. Decide in which field you would like to study and check if it’s available in several universities. The admission procedure (especially for international students) may be different from university to university, so it’s recommended to check each website individually and connect to specific organization.
There is no surprise that bigger universities both for international and local students can be found in Madrid and Barcelona. These are University of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Autonomous University of Madrid and Complutense University to name a few.
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Studying in a job training center requires either an exit certificate (Certificado de Salida) from secondary school to enter or for the applicant to pass an exam. This method is made up of a set of specific studies organized into professional modules and divided into professional families.
When this phase is completed, applicants have access to baccalaureate-level or other higher-level training studies.
These are classified as:
Basic Vocational Training: which leads to the corresponding basic professional diploma.
Mid-Grade Training: which leads to the technician degree and forms part of the post-compulsory secondary education.
High-Grade Training: which leads to the superior technician degree and forms part of higher education.
The Spanish academic year tends to be the same throughout the country. Classes begin in September and end in June. The exam period is at the end of every semester, in February and June.
Foreign students must pass a Spanish level test and prove that they have completed their compulsory secondary education, among other requirements.
Single-Cycle Programs (Short-Cycle Studies) These programs normally take three years to complete and result in a Bachelor’s level qualification (diplomatura). As part of the program, students do not automatically continue on to postgraduate studies.
Two Cycles Studies with an Intermediate Diploma
These programs generally have a duration of five to six years and begin with a diploma in the first cycle (diplomatura), with the option of continuing on to the second cycle, a master’s level degree (licenciatura).
Two Cycles Studies without an Intermediate Diploma (Long-Cycle Studies) These studies are divided into two cycles. It is necessary to complete both to be eligible for the concession of the master’s degree (licenciatura).
In addition to these official qualifications, each university offers a wide range of unofficial degrees (maestrías) as well as postgraduate programs in various subjects that qualify for doctorates.
Spanish private universities were pioneers in incorporating double-degree programs, something that did not exist in the public universities. They, in turn, have greater means, better facilities, and more attractive exchange programs for students. They also enjoy less theory, more practice, many prestigious educational teams, and both national and international networks of contacts at the teaching, business, and institutional levels.
Special emphasis is placed on the teaching of foreign languages. Many subjects are taught in English or other languages. It should be noted that when it comes to their MBA programs, some Spanish private universities are among the most prestigious in the world.
In short, choosing between public and private education will require an important economic investment as well as long-term planning as to the objectives that you wish to achieve in education, personal evolution, and career planning for your children.
After taking all of this into consideration and seeing how the Spanish education system works, the practical way to move forward would be to see what public and private centers exist in the area where you wish to make your home. There may even be a school that adheres to the teaching style of your country of origin.
Finally, if your children are going to finish their university studies in Spain and later wish to continue working abroad, it will be necessary to look at the study validation agreements and requirements for each unique case.