In Austria, children usually attend kindergarten from the age of three until they start school. Half-day kindergarten attendance (at least 20 hours per week) for children who have turned age five by August 31 is from September to June (except school vacation periods) and is mandatory.
You have the choice between:


Children who have reached the age of six by August 31 are of school age on September 1 and therefore are required to attend school from this day.
School-age children must be enrolled by parents or guardians at the relevant primary school. Admission to the primary school is based on the pupil enrolment. The school place is allocated by the school or the responsible provincial school board / city school board.
Upon successful completion of Year 4 of primary school, pupils must attend one of the following types of school (Secondary Level Lower Cycle):

  • New Secondary School
  • or Lower Level of the Academic Secondary School (AHS)


New Secondary School (NMS)

  • Four years of school after Year 4 of primary school.
  • Pupils may transfer from the Academic Secondary School Lower Level (AHS).
  • Educational and careers guidance form the foundation for educational and career decisions taken later.
  • Individualization and internal differentiation form the key characteristics.
  • All-day education is offered at many New Secondary Schools.
  • Upon completion: Attendance at a more advanced medium level or upper level school or a pre-vocational school.

Academic Secondary School (AHS), Lower Level

  • Four-year lower level
  • On successful completion, pupils may attend the Academic Secondary School Upper Level
  • Transfer to a College for Higher Vocational Education
  • A distinction is made between Classical Academic Secondary School (Gymnasium), Academic Secondary School with an emphasis on Mathematics and Science (Realgymnasium) and Academic Secondary School with an emphasis on Economics (wirtschaftskundliches Realgymnasium).

After Year 8 in Austria, there are various options. Students who have attended Academic Secondary School Lower Level may choose to attend the Academic Secondary School Upper Level or finish their school education at an Academic Secondary School Upper Level with emphasis on Science and Mathematics (Oberstufenrealgymnasium). With this special type of school, students can choose a school that specializes in a particular subject area. These schools mainly focus on musical and artistic topics, but they can also focus on computer science or sports. Depending on their performance, pupils who successfully complete New Secondary School can attend the Upper Level Academic Secondary School with an emphasis on Mathematics and Science.


However, the classic route is to attend a College for Higher Vocational Education. This can also be completed with a school leaving examination, but in this case the school education lasts six years. Although the more commonly chosen route is to combine this school education with an apprenticeship and complete it after five years. However, if a pupil decides to opt for the longer six-year route, they can ideally pass the school leaving examination and already have completed an apprenticeship.
Pupils who have successfully completed Year 8 of secondary school have two options. They can switch to a Pre-vocational School (polytechnische Schule) which lasts one year and is usually followed by a three-year apprenticeship with an accompanying vocational school. Training at a Pre-Vocational School is very practice-oriented and is specifically aimed at vocational preparation. The alternative to the Pre-Vocational School is the School for Intermediate Vocational Education (BMS). Depending on the field of study, the School for Intermediate Vocational Education is attended for between one and four years. With this type of school it is also possible to complete full vocational training. In contrast to Pre-Vocational School, however, a greater focus is placed here on general education.
Basically, in Austria, compulsory education can end after nine years at the age of 15. Pupils who pass the school leaving examination can then attend an Austrian university. At university, the students can study for the internationally recognized and, above all, comparable Bachelor and Master degrees. The school leaving examination can also be re-sat at a later point in time, for example, via an  Austrian Distance Learning Institute (Fernlehr-Institut) .


After passing the school leaving examination, it is possible to study at one of the many universities. With the University of Vienna, which was founded back in 1365, Austria has an old academic tradition. With 13 universities in Vienna, the density in the capital city of Austria is particularly high. It has only been possible to study at a private university in Austria since 2003.
There are many universities of applied sciences and universities in Austria.
A list of all institutions as well as additional information can be found at:


In Vorarlberg there is the possibility to study at the Vorarlberg University of Applied Sciences in Dornbirn. For more information, see:

There is also a university in Liechtenstein. All information about courses etc. can be found at:

International School

There is an international school in Buchs where Hilti employees are granted special terms and conditions. You can obtain all further information directly from:
International School Rheintal (ISR)
Aeulistrasse 10
CH – 9471 Buchs
Tel. +41 81 750 63 00

For more information please contact Cathy Dietel, SHPRdc.


A variety of information on education, career guidance and adult education can be found on the following Internet platforms:




An adult education center (Volkshochschule/VHS) is a non-profit institution for adult education and further training. Adult education centers are not higher education institutions, but instead focus upon further education.

A directory of all adult education centers can be found at Verband österreichischer Volkshochschulen.