Secondary vocational education

Secondary vocational education in the Czech Republic is provided by secondary technical schools (SOŠ), secondary vocational schools (SOU) and conservatories.  They offer young people experience, skills and competencies needed for performing an occupation or group of occupations or work activities on the labour market. At the same time, they develop general knowledge, skills and key competencies necessary for their private, civic and work life, as well as for lifelong learning.

Secondary technical schools (SOŠ)

Secondary technical schools create their school curricula in accordance with the national curricula developed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports for all fields of study within the secondary vocational education.

Secondary technical schools present one type of secondary schools which provide initial vocational education and prepare their students for the labour market. Education at secondary technical schools is offered in four-year programmes which are completed by the Matura exam (maturita), or in two-year follow up courses for successful graduates of three-year programmes who gained the apprenticeship certificate. Schools can also provide vocational education completed by the Matura exam in shortened programmes for those who have already gained their secondary education completed with the Matura exam in another field of study. Graduates of secondary technical schools may find work in secondary technical occupations, economic occupations, and other similar job positions, they are also able to continue their studies at universities or tertiary technical schools.

Secondary vocational schools (SOU) 

Secondary vocational schools provide vocational education and prepare for blue-collar positions. The education mostly takes place in three-year or two-year educational programmes completed by a final exam or an apprenticeship certificate. It is also possible to receive the necessary qualification for performing especially difficult blue-collar occupations in the course of four-year educational programmes completed with the Matura exam. Graduates of these programmes receive a level of education equivalent to that of secondary education completed with Matura exam. Secondary technical schools organize follow-up courses completed with Matura exam for the graduates of three-year fields of study who have already received an apprenticeship certificate, they also offer shortened studies for those individuals who have already received secondary education completed with Matura exam or an apprenticeship certificate in another field of study. The Matura exam enables graduates to study at universities and at tertiary technical schools.


Conservatories develop knowledge, skills and competencies which students have acquired during their basic art studies. It provides a general education and prepares the graduates for performing demanding artistic activities, or artistic-pedagogical activities in the fields of music, voice, dance and drama. Education at conservatories takes place within a six-year programme or, alternately, an eight-year programme which starts after the first stage of the basic education. Graduates of the conservatory receive the secondary education completed with the Matura exam together with the tertiary education.  Studies at conservatories end with a graduation exam, but the students may also complete their studies with the Matura exam.