© Friederich Peter Zeuner PhD –

Misunderstanding of the term ‘certificate’ often leads to confusion in the area of continuing vocational education.

The following remarks are intended to provide a basis for the understanding of the legal situation.

A certificate is the confirmation that the requirements of the respective certification basis are fulfilled.

This includes standards for both products and services and, according to ISO / EC 17024: 2003, even for people. The foundations for this are either legal (such as in the legal regulation for mediator training) or under private law voluntary standards, such as the standards developed by the German Institute for Standardization (DIN) in Berlin.

The colloquial expression “education” corresponds to the self-understanding of the students and attendees of qualification and education measures, who want to reorient themselves professionally or broaden their skills. It is specifically about continuing vocational education and further training, which is based on an already completed education.

Its aims are, according to § 1 Berufsbildungsgesetz (BBiG) (Law for Vocational Training):

The maintenance and expansion of the professional knowledge, a. o. to adapt the qualification to the technical development or to enable a career advancement. The Social Code III (SGB III, section 4) also recognizes the concept of “continuing vocational training”. There is, however, a vocational training or education, but not an apprenticeship, for vocational education as well as for further training.

“In Germany, for example, in the case of a qualification as coach or consultant, there is no training regulation that could provide a legal framework for the conditions or content of the qualification as a certified coach.

This is also evident in the fact that the terms “coach” or “consultant” are not protected occupational titles by copyright and competition law in Germany. A list of the names protected under criminal law can be found in § 132a of the Criminal Code (StGB). ”

Education/training in the legal sense of a vocational training as a “certified” coach or consultant can therefore not be offered in Germany. In this area, there is only the possibility, for example as a coach, to be certified by a professional association, as a superordinate body, but not a public body – according to their criteria – and thus having certified yourselves qualifications. However, the criteria of these certifications vary from association to association and are usually associated with costs.

The profession of the certified mediator is different. An education aimed at achieving certification as a mediator is regulated by the Mediation Act, in conjunction with the Ordinance on the Training and education of Certified Mediators (ZMediatAusbV). In the case of the state-standardized requirements according to the ordinance, the designation “certified mediator” may be operated from 01.09.2017.

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