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VAE : back up your experience with a degree


Validation of Prior Experiential Learning (VAE) is a statutory scheme, encapsulated in the French Labour Code, which allows you to validate the skills and experience acquired in the course of your personal life and career, with a view to obtaining a degree, diploma or professional qualification. The scheme is based on a process of checks, assessment and certification of your skills by an awarding panel.
The scheme enables you to:

  • Obtain certification in the form of a professional degree, diploma or certificate which is listed in the national Register of Professional Certifications (RNCP)
  • Match your level of certification to your level of responsibility 
  • Obtain recognition for your skills
  • Acquire a level of qualifications to allow you to pursue a higher education or register for a competitive recruitment examination
  • Change jobs
  • Progress in your career

Who is the scheme aimed at?

All individuals, irrespective of their age, status or level of training, who can show at least one year of experience that is directly relevant to the target certification. This experience may be paid professional work (a permanent or temporary contract, unpaid volunteer work, work as a professional athlete, undertaking trade union duties, or pursuing an elected mandate or local office.

All training undertaken during initial or continuing education in a professional environment is also taken into account. 

To which programmes does the scheme give access?

Level I:

Level II:


Funding arrangements vary based on your status as a private sector employee, public sector official, job seeker, or non-salaried worker (professional, farmer, craftsman, shopkeeper, freelancer, etc.) 
The amount of funding varies depending on the awarding body.

Applicant French funding bodies
Unemployed (whether claiming benefits or otherwise) Pôle Emploi (Employment Bureau)
Regional Funding
Paid employee (permanent, short-term or temporary contract) at the employer’s initiative Funding through the Staff Development Plan
Paid employee (permanent, short-term or temporary contract) at the worker’s initiative Funding through OPCA under CPF
OPACIF (under the framework of an individual VAE)
Public sector official Administration or Public Body
Non-salaried (professionals, contractors, etc.) FAF for non-salaried workers, Levying Bodies

Claiming VAE Leave of Absence (private sector employees)

If you wish to enter the scheme on your own initiative, and the scheme will take place during your working hours, you must ask your employer for a leave of absence. If the employer agrees, you may then leave for your Validation of Prior Experiential Learning period (CVAE). This leave of absence is equivalent to 24 hours of work during which you will be able to:

  • Obtain coaching to help you to compile your portfolio for validation and prepare for validation of your award (interview with the awarding body, and, in some cases, a simulated professional setting);
  • Complete the validation of your qualifications.

Funding for expenses linked to the leave must be claimed from the tax body responsible for the individual training leave of absence (CIF): if agreed, the fees and costs linked to the scheme will be partly funded in whole or in part.   
If you take part in the scheme on your own initiative, and it does not affect your working hours, you do not need to inform your employer. 
If the scheme is organised by or for your employer, funding will be provided via your staff development plan. 

Guide VAE