Get a diploma without taking a course?

This has been possible in France since 2002, via the Validation des Acquis de l'Expérience (VAE) process. Other similar processes, known as VAP and VES, can be used to enhance your skills and experience, depending on your situation.

Here's a quick overview of the processes which exist in France.

NB: The decrees can be found on the government website

Validation des Acquis de l'Experience (VAE)

Validation des Acquis de l'Expérience (VAE) is the term most often used to describe the means of gaining recognition for skills acquired during one's professional career. Introduced by decree in 2002, this procedure enables professionals who have not obtained a diploma corresponding to their professional activity for at least one year to obtain certification.

Objective: the employee wants to obtain a VAE diploma without having to go back to school.

Validation des Acquis Professionnels (VAP)

Validation of professional experience (VAP) actually predates VAE, since this procedure has been in place since the 1985 decree. This certification is aimed at people who wish to resume their studies in higher education, but who do not have the necessary qualifications.

VAP is a kind of laissez-passer, an authorization to enroll at university, for example, obtained through the valorization of professional experience.

Validation des Etudes Supérieures (VES)

Validation des études supérieures (VES) enables individuals to demonstrate the skills and knowledge they have acquired through studies not only abroad, but also in France, with a view to obtaining a higher education qualification or diploma.

This may be a licence / bachelor, a master / mba or other qualifications.

Evaluation methodology

Once the candidate's VAE/VAP/VES application has been accepted, the candidate must present himself or herself before a jury. The jury is made up of several members, at least 25% of whom are from the professional world. Depending on the certification sought by the candidate, the test may take several forms. It can be as simple as an interview to assess the applicant's prior learning.

As part of the VAE process, forms are filled in and sent to the state administration.