The recognition process

There are three main stages in the recognition process.


A completed vocational education (e.g. apprenticeship) or a school qualification, above compulsory secondary school level are required. Hands-on experience in the area of adult education must be proven.

Three stages

The recognition process can be divided into three stages:

1. Status-quo-evaluation/"Standortbestimmung"
2. wba certificate
3. wba diploma

The process can be terminated after each stage. The duration varies individually, depending on the amount of competences already acquired as well as on certain fixed dates (meetings of the accreditation board, certification workshop, final exam).

1. Status-quo-evaluation/Standortbestimmung

After registration and payment of the fee for the status-quo-evaluation, candidates have access to their login-area and to a personal online portfolio. They submit relevant proofs to their online portfolio and send a copy via post to wba. One of the wba advisors handles the proofs, compares them to the set standards of the wba-qualfication profiles.
After approval by the accreditation board a detailed evaluation of the competences already acquired and of the lack of competences is given, the so-called "Status-quo-evaluation". After the status-quo-evaluation candidates can either opt for the wba certificate or end the recognition process.

2. wba-certificate "Certified Adult Educator"

After the status-quo-evaluation candidates clarify with their personal wba-advisor which requirements towards a successful qualification as a certified adult educator have already been fulfilled and which are still missing. Thereafter an education plan is established.

The candidates subsequently supply missing qualifications. The wba-advisor provides support with regard to the selection of appropriate offers.

The certification workshop is a three day assessment including a test on educational theory. Attendance is compulsory.
During the assessment, the adult educational competences of the candidates are assessed. The certification workshop has examination character. At the same time it is set up in a way that is appropriate to help participants develop a broadened self-perception and an enhanced identification with their role as adult educators.

After the attendance of the Certification workshop and the submission of all the missing competences, a wba-certificate is awarded. Candidates can now opt for the wba diploma.

3. wba-diploma "Graduate Adult Educator"

Candidates subsequently fill their competence gaps. Again the wba-advisor provides support in the selection of appropriate offers.

In order to graduate with a wba diploma candidates have to write a thesis that is project-based or related to their (adult education specific) practical experience. Candidates thereby substantiate reflexive competence with respect to their practical experience.
The practical experience- or project-based thesis can be submitted in two different ways:

a) Candidates submit a practical experience- or project-based thesis written in the context of an educational or continuing educational course. A prerequisite is that the submitted thesis was expertly appraised and that it meets the required wba standards. After an examination by an external expert the thesis is either acknowledged or rejected.

b) Candidates compose a written thesis following the predetermined standards and formal criteria set up by wba. An expert guides them through the writing process and appraises the thesis when completed. The accompaniment and appraisal is carried out by an external expert and is subject to the payment of a charge of ¤ 250.-.

The final oral exam, the so-called "Fachgespräch", constitutes the last step towards the wba-diploma.  When all required competences have been substantiated and approved by the accreditation board, candidates can take the final exam. Here they present their acitvities and experiences in adult education based on a self-written description of their practice.

After successfully passing the exam the wba-diploma is awarded. Candidates can then opt for a further wba-degree or a university study course.

wba´s links to Higher Education

wba enables a transparency between Adult Education and Higher Education and Continuing Education. At the moment there is a university study course at Danube University Krems offering wba-graduates with a wba-diploma in the field of Educational Management certain advantages.

A second study course on Adult Education / Continuing Education is offered in Graz, but without the advantages offered in earlier study courses of that kind.

Both of these postgraduate study courses represent a milestone in the professionalization of adult education. The target group are wba-graduates with a diploma and people with a university degree who work in adult education and bring along at least three years of professional experience.

The study course "Adult education" was developed by the University of Klagenfurt in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Institute for Adult Education (bifeb) as well as with representatives of the Federal Ministry for Education, wba and other adult education institutions. The study course moved to Graz in 2016.
The study course comprises several modules with seminars at the bifeb), as well as study groups and e-learning units.

The study course "Educational Management" was developed by the Austrian Federal Institute for Adult Education (bifeb) and the Danube University Krems (Donauuniversität Krems) and is aimed at educational managers and wba-graduates with a wba-diploma in the field of educational management.


Back to the overview in English

Die Weiterbildungsakademie stellt mit ihrem innovativen Ansatz der Anerkennung von Kompetenzen und qualitätsorientierten Umsetzung nicht nur eine Schlüsselstruktur der Professionalisierung der Erwachsenenbildung in Österreich dar, sondern hat sich in der Zwischenzeit zurecht auch als Leuchtturm-Projekt für die europäische Validierungsdebatte etabliert. Elke Gruber & Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Schlögl anlässlich der wba-Fachtagung 2017

Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz & Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt