Professional Courses

Professional Courses are an upper-secondary education path with double certification. In other words, social, scientific and vocational skills, necessary for the exercise of a professional activity, are developed, whilst, simultaneously, the upper-secondary level of education is obtained. These courses prepare young people for an easier and more qualified integration in the labour market and enable them to carry out studies at post-secondary level, as well as higher education.

Professional Courses are integrated in the National Catalogue of Qualifications, have a duration of three years, with a workload of between 3100 to 3440 hours and are organised into four training components (Ordinance No. 235-A / 2018, of 23rd August):

  • Sociocultural Training - structured in subjects common to all courses; it aims to contribute to the construction of students' personal, social and cultural identity;
  • Scientific Training - structured in two or three subjects; it aims to provide scientific training consistent with the qualification to be acquired;
  • Technological Training - organised into Short-Term Training Units (STTU), aimed at acquiring and developing a set of technical skills necessary for professional activity;
  • Work-based learning - is carried out in companies or other organisations, during periods of variable duration throughout or at the end of the training. Its objective is the acquisition and development of technical, relational and organisational skills, relevant to vocational qualification.

These courses culminate with a presentation and defence of a project before a jury, called the Professional Aptitude Test (PAT), in which the skills and knowledge developed during the training are demonstrated.

There are Professional Courses in the most diverse areas of education and training, from industry and technology, services, commerce and transport, to agriculture and the environment.

For whom?

Professional Courses may be the most suitable for those who:

  • have concluded the 9th year of schooling or equivalent training;
  • seek a more practical and labour market-oriented training and/or those who wish to pursue higher education.

What is the certification?

At the end of the course, students obtain a double certification - upper-secondary education and a professional certification - conferring level 4 of qualification of the National Qualifications Framework – Ordinance No. 782/2009, of 23rd July.

Completion of upper-secondary education through Professional Courses is dependent on passing all subjects and STTUs, work-based learning and the Professional Aptitude Test.

Access the Diploma and Certificate templates here, pursuant to Ordinance No. 194/2021, of 17th September. This Ordinance is intended to dematerialise, standardise, gather and regulate, in a single diploma, the existing diploma and certificate templates. Diplomas attest to the completion of basic or upper-secondary education. The certificates record the subjects and/or STTU/CU attended and their respective classifications, the projects carried out within the scope of the Citizenship and Development component in upper-secondary education, as well as a broad range of projects, initiatives and activities in which students participate. The diplomas and certificates are made available to their holders by the schools, through electronic means, being issued in electronic form through the SIGO system. Certificates and diplomas are also available in the Documents Exchange of the ePortugal portal and in the documents area of ??the Qualifica Passport, when applicable. Whilst the issuance of diplomas and certificates through the SIGO system is not operational, they are issued by schools using the base models available in editable format, with access via the link indicated below. For this type of issuance, the SIGO system assigns a sequential number to the diploma or certificate, an alphanumeric code and a QR Code. After their issuance, the documents are uploaded to the SIGO system and their authenticity can be verified through the documents area of ??the Qualifica Passport. 

Access the Diploma and Certificate Templates previous to the entry into force of Ordinance No. 194/2021, of 17th September here.


Professional Courses may function in:

  • school groups and schools in the public network that are not part of a school group;
  • professional schools, public or private;
  • private and cooperative educational establishments.

Consult the available courses and schools/training entities here.


To support schools, teachers, students and the rest of the school community, we provide a comprehensive set of information, resources, guidance documents and other materials, in order to enrich and enhance the teaching and learning processes for this training offer. Find out more information here.