NQF VPQ Referencing Process

The referencing of an upper-secondary level vocational qualification or of a tertiary-level professional qualification to the NQF VPQ starts with submission of an application form to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). This form is drafted and submitted by the professional organisation responsible for the given qualification.

Since the summer of 2016, professional organisations are given one of two options: applying for simplified referencing of qualifications or applying for individualised referencing of qualifications.

Simplified referencing of qualifications

Past experience has shown that most qualifications of a given type tend to be assigned to the same reference level within the NQF VPQ. Such qualifications can therefore be more quickly referenced by means of the simplified referencing process. This option also reduces the workload on the professional organisation submitting the application.

Simplified referencing process

SERI proposes a standard reference level for each type of qualification. The professional organisation indicates this standard reference level in its application. SERI then sends the professional organisation a draft certificate supplement (for vocational qualifications) or diploma supplement (for professional qualifications) for the given qualification. This document can then be changed as needed.

Standard reference levels for each type of qualification

Federal Certificate of Vocational Education and Training (two-year VET programmes): 3

Federal Diploma of Vocational Education and Training (three- and four-year VET programmes): 4

Federal Diploma of Higher Education (federal professional examination): 5

Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education (federal professional examination): 6

Advanced Federal Diploma of Higher Education (formal study programme): 6

Document on simplified referencing of qualifications

Individual referencing of qualifications

If the professional organisation feels that the given qualification should be referenced to a higher level within the NQF VPQ, then it may apply for individual referencing of that qualification. The individual referencing process is fully described in the Guidelines on the National Qualifications Framework for Vocational and Professional Qualifications.

As with the periodic review and updating of training content, SERI suggests that professional organisations seek pedagogical support if they wish to apply for individual referencing of their qualifications.

Please contact the SERI’s NQF VPQ Unit for any questions or uncertainties that you may have filling out the application:
nqr-berufsbildung@sbfi.admin.ch, T +41 58 465 48 91

Documents (german)


SERI, Sandra Müller

Project manager
T +41 58 465 48 91