Students of theology who pursue a vocation as a pastor have to complete clerical education on top of their university degree.
This clerical training is regulated by the Concordat for the Education of Pastors (Konkordat zur Ausbildung von Pfarrerinnen und Pfarrern) and is organized by the Churches in partnership with the Universities. Associated with the concordat are all german-speaking cantonal Churches, with the exception of the reformed Churches Bern-Jura-Solothurn, which offer their own clerical training.
The clerical Education consists of the following elements:
The ecclesiological-practical semester (EPS)
During the course of their studies, students complete an ecclesiological-practical semester, during which they get to know different aspects of congregational work for five months.
During the course of their studies, students get supported by a mentor (a pastor), with whom they meet regularly. Please get in touch with your cantonal church towards the beginning of your studies. The competent authority will assist you with your search for a suited mentor.
Development oriented Aptitude Testing (EA)
During their course of studies and their time as a vicar, students will be asked to meet with the committee of development oriented Aptitude Testing four times in total. These meetings will serve the student's personal advancement during their education.
Following the theological degree, a prospective pastor will complete their practical education, working as a vicar in a parish for a year. After passing the final practical exam, the candidates will be ordained by their cantonal Church.