Switzerland is known as the land of the Alps because of its beautiful landscapes. It is one of the countries with the best quality of life. The country’s quality of life and success is highly founded in its top-notch education system, housing one of the top universities in Europe and across the globe.

Nursing is one of the most common courses in Switzerland. The excellent nursing curriculum of Switzerland covers major subjects that are highly essential for a nurse. For those who want to have a nursing career in the country, you will need to pass a recognition process from the Swiss Red Cross before getting a license.

If you are thinking about studying nursing in Switzerland, be prepared for the language requirements. You have to know and reach a certain language proficiency level before you can even apply for the program. In the article below, we listed below is the detailed step-by-step process of how to study nursing in Switzerland.

How Many Years Does it Take to Finish a Nursing Program in Switzerland?

The duration of a full-time undergraduate nursing program in Switzerland is three (3) years. But since Swiss universities also offer a part-time format, the nursing program might take four to five (4 – 5) years of studies.

Aside from the nursing program itself, you can also consider the preparatory or language courses you need to take. Please be reminded that requirements may vary depending on your chosen university.

Can International Students Take a Nursing Program in Switzerland?

Yes! International students can take a nursing program in Switzerland. Many Swiss universities offer various undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and are open for both local and foreign students. However, the requirements for international students may vary depending on your nationality, chosen university, and other factors.

International students should also consider the academic and language requirements needed. Kindly do thorough research in Swiss universities, especially for the documents needed, if you want to study here.

1. Understand What it Takes to Become a Nurse in Switzerland

To have the authority to work as a nurse in Switzerland, you should have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, pass their licensure examination, and have a credential check by the Swiss Red Cross. If you are already a registered nurse from your country, you will undergo a recognition procedure from them. It is important to conduct a recognition to be qualified to work in Switzerland and have the opportunity to earn the same salary as Swiss nationals.

The recognition involves an initial free PreCheck which determines whether or not the Swiss Red Cross is needed to supervise your recognition application. It is done for free to help you save money and refrain from spending on extra costs. Afterward, if you need to undergo a recognition procedure with the Swiss Red Cross, you will proceed with the second step of the recognition process, which costs CHF 1,000 or about USD 1,129.

If you want to study nursing in Switzerland, many universities and colleges offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing. For example, Zurich University of Applied Sciences offers a full-time Bachelor of Science in Nursing, which can be completed in three years. The module is composed of 180 ECTS credits with the benefit of acquiring a license to practice and the applied degree Bachelor of Science ZFH in Nursing.

For further education, you can opt for a Master’s Degree in Nursing. Bern University of Applied Sciences offers a master’s degree in different specializations: Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS), Nurse Practitioner (NP), Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), and Research. The master’s degree can be completed full-time for three semesters and part-time for six semesters.

2. Know What Schools You Want to Attend by Researching

Many factors will determine which nursing school is best for you. Language, location, and fees are among the reasons why you would choose a nursing school. The first thing to consider is the language requirement. Switzerland is a country of mixed languages – German, Italian, and French. Depending on the university, you can study nursing in any of these languages. It is important to have language skills at level B2 in German, Italian, or French, depending on the language curriculum of the university in which you want to study nursing in Switzerland.

The second important factor to outweigh is your financial capacity and the school tuition fees. If you can cover the expenses for your overall stay in Switzerland, then this may not be a problem for you. Most universities already outline the cost of tuition on their websites, so you will already have an idea when researching a nursing school.

Lastly, you can also research the nursing school’s curriculum and achievements. It is best to pursue your nursing education with the best school that covers all important aspects of becoming a nurse. You should look for a nursing school that will train and hone important nursing skills, preparing you for a real hospital experience.

Check Also: Programs in Europe for International Students

3. Meet Various Language Requirements of Studying Nursing in Switzerland

Before heading out to Switzerland, you have to have adequate language skills to study nursing in Switzerland. Most universities will require a language requirement as a prerequisite before you get accepted into their program. For instance, at the University of Basel, the language curriculum is in German and English. Thus, knowing these languages are expected to successfully finish the program. The university requires a C1 or higher level of proficiency.

Language proficiency is not only required in studying nursing but also when working in Switzerland as a nurse if you wish to pursue a nursing career in the country. As part of Swiss Red Cross recognition requirements, they require language skills at level B2 in German, French or Italian. However, if you studied nursing in German, French, or Italian language curriculum, it will suffice to pass the recognition language requirement.

4. Meet the Cost of Studying Nursing in Switzerland

The cost of studying nursing in Switzerland varies depending on the type of institution, whether it is a university or a college. It includes fees per credit, books, study materials, examination fees, and more. The tuition fees may take most of the heavy load for most students, but numerous nursing schools offer scholarships and financial aid to give fair chances for everyone. For example, a semester at Bern University of Applied Sciences costs CHF 750 or about USD 845, excluding miscellaneous fees and study materials.

5. Meet the Application Requirements

The first step in any application is preparing prerequisite documents. Most universities have the same requirements, but it is always a must to check the university’s website for more complete details.

For example, to get accepted in the Bachelor’s program at Bern University of Applied Sciences, you have to prepare their entry requirements: Swiss training qualifications (Vocational baccalaureate, Specialized baccalaureate, Baccalaureate, or Degree in a healthcare field), Level C1 in German, Pass the aptitude test, and a nursing internship completed in two months before the first semester.

6. Apply to Nursing Schools in Switzerland

Once you have completed all documents, you can start submitting the application forms in order to study nursing in Switzerland. To give a clear overview of how the application process works, here is an example from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences. When you have completed all academic entry requirements, you will then proceed with an aptitude test and an interview.

This stage has three parts. First, you must pass a written aptitude test that tests your problem-solving skills. Next, after passing the test, you will have an interview to evaluate your competency. The third and last part is the assessment of practical suitability. After completing this stage, the university will make a final decision whether you are a fit candidate or not.

7. Submit Your Student Visa Applications

If you are accepted to the program, you can move on to the last stage of studying nursing in Switzerland, which is getting a student visa. You need to apply for a student visa at the Swiss Embassy in your home country. Required documents depend on nationality, if you are from the European Union (EU), EFTA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway), and non-EU/EFTA countries.

Generally, you need to fill out and submit the application form, valid passport, passport-size photographs, acceptance letter from a Swiss nursing school, language proficiency certificate, proof of financial capacity, proof of payment of tuition fees, curriculum vitae, motivational letter, and a letter stating that you promise to leave the country after completing the degree.

8. Get Ready to Leave!

Once you are done with the whole process of application and getting your student visa, you are now ready to leave! Submit your tuition fee, get registered, and figure out the logistics such as where you want to live, etc. You can now study nursing in Switzerland!


We hope that this guide on how to study nursing in Switzerland was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Programs in Europe for International Students to know more!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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  1. CLETUS KIPLANGAT July 16, 2023 11:12 pm - Reply

    I am interesting to study nursing in Switzerland please help me

    • Hyun Lee July 17, 2023 2:36 pm - Reply

      Hi, we don’t offer consulting services, but we are happy to answer your questions. What do you have questions about studying nursing in Switzerland?

  2. tsering dolma July 27, 2023 3:57 am - Reply

    I’m already living in Switzerland but the question is that how I study nursing because I just graduate class 12 from India.

    • Hyun Lee August 9, 2023 11:38 am - Reply

      Hello, since you have graduated from secondary education, you can apply for a bachelor’s in nursing in Switzerland. This article does give you a detailed guide on how to study nursing in Switzerland. Let me know if you have other questions!

  3. abdul ahad September 1, 2023 2:47 am - Reply

    can someone work as a nurse in Switzerland after completing Nursing Ausbildung from Germany?

    • Hyun Lee September 3, 2023 4:54 pm - Reply

      Hi yes, you do need to have the application form approved by the Swiss Red Cross according to How to Become a Nurse in Switzerland article. You will have a good chance of passing the approval since your degree is from an EU country.

  4. lamabinu5555@gmail.com September 20, 2023 1:12 am - Reply

    I want to do internship in Switzerland. Is this possible?

    • Hyun Lee September 25, 2023 1:55 pm - Reply

      Hello, I’m not sure if you can do nursing internships in Switzerland. I think it is best if you look at other government or reputable sites on this.

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