§ 34a

34a-Pre­pa­ra­ti­on: Which form of tea­ching is best for you?

34a-Preparation: Which form of teaching is best for you?

Which form of tea­ching is best for you?

In the fol­lo­wing artic­le, I would like to sug­gest the various lear­ning opti­ons, with their advan­ta­ges and dis­ad­van­ta­ges, for pre­pa­ring for the Sach­kunde­prüf­ung § 34a GewO — a guest artic­le by The Safe­ty Guru.

Fron­tal teaching

Clas­ses are held in an aca­de­my, usual­ly on a full-day basis.
In a struc­tu­red class­room envi­ron­ment, a lear­ning situa­ti­on is crea­ted for the stu­dents in which a lec­tu­rer takes on the role of a know­ledge bro­ker. The tea­cher can use dif­fe­rent lear­ning methods to faci­li­ta­te the stu­dents’ lear­ning. The­se may include lec­tures, dis­cus­sions, group work, demons­tra­ti­ons or expe­ri­ments. In class, stu­dents can also ask ques­ti­ons direct­ly and recei­ve feed­back from the lec­tu­rer or class­ma­tes, which impro­ves under­stan­ding of the lear­ning mate­ri­al. Clas­ses can also pro­vi­de oppor­tu­ni­ties to fos­ter social skills and col­la­bo­ra­ti­on as stu­dents work and learn together.

Online les­sons

Online tea­ching is simi­lar to tra­di­tio­nal tea­ching, but it takes place over the inter­net. The lec­tu­rer uses various digi­tal tools to faci­li­ta­te the stu­dents’ lear­ning. Examp­les of digi­tal tools can be: video and audio chat, online cour­ses, lear­ning plat­forms, vir­tu­al class­rooms or e‑learning modu­les. Online tea­ching can be par­ti­cu­lar­ly advan­ta­ge­ous in today’s world, as it offers the pos­si­bi­li­ty to con­ti­nue tea­ching even in times of pan­de­mics or other cir­cum­s­tances that affect nor­mal tea­ching. Ano­ther advan­ta­ge of online tea­ching is that stu­dents can learn from any­whe­re as long as they have an inter­net con­nec­tion. And also like face-to-face clas­ses, stu­dents can ask ques­ti­ons and get feed­back from the ins­truc­tor or class­ma­tes, which can impro­ve their under­stan­ding of the lear­ning material.

Self-lear­ning with book and You­Tube videos

Self-lear­ner with book and You­Tube vide­os are peo­p­le who learn inde­pendent­ly by obtai­ning infor­ma­ti­on from books or vide­os on the inter­net. This form of lear­ning is less struc­tu­red and requi­res more disci­pli­ne and initia­ti­ve from the lear­ners. Unli­ke class­room or online lear­ning, self-lear­ners have the free­dom to set their own pace and choo­se the con­tent of the lear­ning mate­ri­al. Howe­ver, the­re is also a risk that self-lear­ners may have dif­fi­cul­ty achie­ving their lear­ning goals due to a lack of struc­tu­re and gui­dance. Lear­ners need to moti­va­te and disci­pli­ne them­sel­ves to learn con­ti­nuous­ly. It is also more dif­fi­cult to ask ques­ti­ons and recei­ve feed­back becau­se the­re is no direct cont­act with a tea­cher or other learners.

Advan­ta­ges and disadvantages

Over­all, all three forms of lear­ning — face-to-face tea­ching, online tea­ching and self-lear­ning with books and You­Tube vide­os — have advan­ta­ges and disadvantages:

Fron­tal teaching



Online les­sons



Self-lear­ning with books and You­Tube videos




Over­all, it is important to note that none of the lear­ning styl­es are per­fect and it depends on which lear­ning style best suits the learner’s indi­vi­du­al needs and pre­fe­ren­ces.
Fur­ther­mo­re, the dif­fe­rent lear­ning styl­es can of cour­se be com­bi­ned with each other. Espe­ci­al­ly the pos­si­bi­li­ty to use You­Tube vide­os as a sup­ple­ment for any kind of lear­ning is very good. And here my recom­men­da­ti­on lies on the You­Tube vide­os of the SecurityGuru34a. The­se vide­os are cle­ar­ly struc­tu­red, infor­ma­ti­ve, easy to under­stand and the­r­e­fo­re very hel­pful. With the help of the­se vide­os, one can learn at one’s own pace and deepen con­tent that was not so well con­vey­ed in class.
The­re is com­ple­te les­sons and Sam­ple exams with expl­ana­ti­ons of the ques­ti­ons and answers.

I hope that with this artic­le I have been able to give you an under­stan­ding of the dif­fe­rent lear­ning methods and that you will find the right method for you.

Why do so many par­ti­ci­pan­ts fail the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on? (§ 34a GewO)

Why do so many participants fail the expert knowledge examination? (§ 34a GewO)

What are the reasons why so many exami­nees fail the Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce (IHK) exami­na­ti­on in the secu­ri­ty industry?

This ques­ti­on is also posed by Jörg Zitz­mann and Kai Delio­mi­ni in the recom­men­da­ble Pod­cast for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty (Video below!).

Both Jörg Zitz­mann as well as Kai Delio­mi­ni are very well known in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty industry.
Among other things, both are repre­sen­ted in IHK exami­na­ti­on com­mit­tees in the field of pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty, are acti­ve as aut­hors of books for the pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on and are repre­sen­ted with many hel­pful vide­os on You­Tube and in podcasts.

Every second or third per­son fails the 34a test!

With not infre­quent fail­ure rates bet­ween 30 and 50%, the ques­ti­on natu­ral­ly ari­ses: What’s the reason?
Some fac­tors for suc­cess or fail­ure are obvious. Some pro­blems can be sol­ved quick­ly and easi­ly, some sim­ply requi­re inten­si­ve lear­ning, prac­ti­ce and per­se­ver­ance. Befo­re I go on to point out what I con­sider to be the main (mis)success fac­tors, here is the very inte­res­t­ing con­ver­sa­ti­on bet­ween Jörg Zitz­mann and Kai Delio­mi­ni on YouTube:

My top 5 reasons why so many peo­p­le fail the writ­ten and oral IHK spe­cia­list know­ledge examination

From my expe­ri­ence, the fol­lo­wing fac­tors are the main reasons for fail­ure with the “34a-licence”:

  1. Lack of moti­va­ti­on / lack of interest
    Many par­ti­ci­pan­ts do not see any added value in the exam. They have no real inte­rest in the con­tent, so they don’t want to learn at all. This is par­ti­cu­lar­ly pro­no­un­ced among peo­p­le who are “sent” by their employ­er or the employ­ment agen­cy and are not actual­ly inte­res­ted in the pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sec­tor at all. But even if the par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on its­elf is of their own accord: The exami­na­ti­on is often not seen as an oppor­tu­ni­ty but as a neces­sa­ry evil. Lack of moti­va­ti­on and inte­rest, howe­ver, are dia­me­tri­cal­ly oppo­sed to exam success.
  2. No suf­fi­ci­ent pre­pa­ra­ti­on of the content
    Some peo­p­le take the exam light­ly. Mul­ti­ple-choice ques­ti­ons with pre-set ans­wers to tick off and only 50% neces­sa­ry cor­rect ans­wers to pass — what could go wrong, you ask yours­elf. But far from it. The legal topics in par­ti­cu­lar are tough. In addi­ti­on, the­re is exci­te­ment, espe­ci­al­ly in the oral exam, and ques­ti­ons whe­re you may have to think a litt­le out­side the box. If you don’t have the neces­sa­ry know­ledge and thus the con­fi­dence to act, you will quick­ly be eli­mi­na­ted. Com­pre­hen­si­ve pre­pa­ra­ti­on is the be-all and end-all for exam success!
  3. Insuf­fi­ci­ent know­ledge of German
    A lot has alre­a­dy been asked and said about Ger­man lan­guage skills. One thing is cer­tain: many peo­p­le who work in the secu­ri­ty sec­tor are not nati­ve spea­k­ers of Ger­man. Mul­ti­l­in­gua­lism is often important for the job, but so is suf­fi­ci­ent know­ledge of Ger­man. This is becau­se the exami­na­ti­on is offe­red exclu­si­ve­ly in Ger­man and you must also be able to com­mu­ni­ca­te con­fi­dent­ly in Ger­man in your ever­y­day work as a secu­ri­ty guard. Legal texts are writ­ten in dif­fi­cult lan­guage, “offi­ci­a­le­se” is usual­ly just as dif­fi­cult to under­stand, and the exam ques­ti­ons some­ti­mes depend on indi­vi­du­al words that can chan­ge the mea­ning in one direc­tion or ano­ther or pro­vi­de hints for solutions.
  4. Struc­tu­re and man­ner of the exami­na­ti­on are unclear
    Many peo­p­le are not com­ple­te­ly clear about the frame­work con­di­ti­ons of the exam. But only if you know which topics are important and how, and how the exam is struc­tu­red, can you prepa­re for it spe­ci­fi­cal­ly and effi­ci­ent­ly. For exam­p­le, the­re are topics that you can quick­ly get over, which can usual­ly be ans­we­red with com­mon sen­se. Some topics, on the other hand, count twice and some requi­re more inten­si­ve stu­dy. In addi­ti­on, the­re are empi­ri­cal values for the oral exami­na­ti­on and tac­ti­cal tips for working through test ques­ti­ons, which should be con­vey­ed by a com­pe­tent lec­tu­rer or aut­hor, for example.
  5. Dif­fi­cult indi­vi­du­al conditions
    Of cour­se, peo­p­le are dif­fe­rent. Ever­yo­ne has dif­fe­rent per­so­nal pre­re­qui­si­tes and the gene­ral con­di­ti­ons (e.g. fami­ly obli­ga­ti­ons, free time for lear­ning, lear­ning envi­ron­ment, etc.) also play a signi­fi­cant role in suc­cess and fail­ure. You may also know peo­p­le who can memo­ri­se things with a “quick glan­ce” and recall this know­ledge at the snap of a fin­ger. Others, on the other hand, find this signi­fi­cant­ly more dif­fi­cult. Some peo­p­le also have no pro­blem at all spea­king in front of others in an exam situa­ti­on, most are natu­ral­ly ten­se, some par­ti­ci­pan­ts suf­fer down­right from exam anxiety.

Ask yours­elf to what ext­ent the points abo­ve app­ly to you, how you can avo­id mista­kes in your pre­pa­ra­ti­on and com­pen­sa­te for any defi­ci­ts. You can find more infor­ma­ti­on on this right here in the sub­ject know­ledge infor­ma­ti­on por­tal num­e­rous tips and Links to other sites or media such as You­Tube.

The latest book tips for the 34a:

Is it pos­si­ble to take the exami­na­ti­on in ano­ther language?

Is it possible to take the examination in another language?

No. Taking the 34a exam is only pos­si­ble in German.

Secu­ri­ty exper­ti­se test soon to be in Rus­si­an, Ara­bic or English

I have often been asked whe­ther the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on accor­ding to § 34a GewO can also be taken in ano­ther lan­guage — as is the case with the dri­ving licence exami­na­ti­on, which in Ger­ma­ny is also con­duc­ted in Eng­lish, French, Greek, Ita­li­an, Croa­ti­an, Polish, Por­tu­gue­se, Roma­ni­an, Rus­si­an, Spa­nish and Tur­ki­sh, among other lan­guages. This is not pos­si­ble in the case of the expert know­ledge examination!
And in my opi­ni­on, that is a good thing. While the rules in road traf­fic are quite simi­lar in the EU, e.g. as far as the appearance and mea­ning of traf­fic signs are con­cer­ned, it is more deli­ca­te in the area of pri­va­te secu­ri­ty. On the one hand, you have to be able to navi­ga­te very safe­ly through the legal norms here, i.e. you have to know the rele­vant laws and regu­la­ti­ons of the coun­try in detail. For ano­ther, you are always deal­ing direct­ly with peo­p­le and com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on is an essen­ti­al fac­tor in deal­ing with others, e.g. in de-escala­ti­on. Quite apart from the fact that Ger­man legal texts are some­ti­mes dif­fi­cult to under­stand lin­gu­i­sti­cal­ly, the lan­guage also has its subt­le­ties in prac­ti­ce. It the­r­e­fo­re defi­ni­te­ly makes sen­se to be able to com­mu­ni­ca­te in the lan­guage of the coun­try whe­re you do your work. Of cour­se, for­eign lan­guage skills are also very important, if you think of events with an inter­na­tio­nal audi­ence, e.g. fes­ti­vals or fairs. Mul­ti­l­in­gua­lism is a gre­at advan­ta­ge in the secu­ri­ty industry.


Do I need pro­of for the IHK that I speak Ger­man well enough?

Ger­man lan­guage, dif­fi­cult lan­guage — is a well-known state­ment. Expe­ri­ence has shown that non-nati­ve spea­k­ers have a par­ti­cu­lar­ly hard time pas­sing the expert know­ledge exami­na­ti­on accor­ding to § 34a GewO at the first attempt. One reason for this is that the exami­na­ti­on ques­ti­ons are often not easy to under­stand. The­r­e­fo­re, on the one hand, one should prepa­re well for the exam in terms of con­tent, and on the other hand, one should have a cer­tain amount of lan­guage skills from ever­y­day life as well as from tech­ni­cal lan­guage (legal terms, tech­ni­cal terms from the field of secu­ri­ty, etc.). So far, lan­guage skills are not a pre­re­qui­si­te for admis­si­on.. This means that you do not need to pre­sent a lan­guage cer­ti­fi­ca­te or simi­lar pro­of in order to be allo­wed to take part in the expert know­ledge examination.


Help for for­eign-lan­guage sub­ject mat­ter participants

If you are new to Ger­ma­ny and don’t speak Ger­man very well yet, taking a lan­guage cour­se defi­ni­te­ly makes sen­se, also to prepa­re for the IHK exami­na­ti­on. Often, adult edu­ca­ti­on cen­tres (VHS) offer lan­guage cour­ses. The Fede­ral Office for Migra­ti­on and Refu­gees (BAMF) also pro­mo­tes par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in lan­guage or inte­gra­ti­on cour­ses. In addi­ti­on, lear­ning apps and of cour­se using the Ger­man lan­guage in ever­y­day life can be very hel­pful. Lexi­cons with tech­ni­cal terms for the secu­ri­ty sec­tor are com­mer­ci­al­ly available.

Big ticket, litt­le ticket — what is that sup­po­sed to be?

Big ticket, little ticket - what is that supposed to be?

The con­fu­si­on is great

Again and again one reads in job offers, job appli­ca­ti­ons or cour­se offers about the big or small “Secu­ri­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­te” — some­ti­mes just cal­led a lar­ge or small note.
Such terms are also fre­quent­ly used in forums, on social net­works or even on the pages of cour­se pro­vi­ders. But bewa­re: The­re is no such thing as a lar­ge or small secu­ri­ty pass!


What is meant by “secu­ri­ty certificate”?

Sec­tion 34a of the Trade, Com­mer­ce and Indus­try Regu­la­ti­on Act (Gewer­be­ord­nung) con­ta­ins important pro­vi­si­ons on what a per­son must ful­fil if he or she wants to “pro­fes­sio­nal­ly guard the lives or pro­per­ty of other peo­p­le”. The § 34a GewO is pri­ma­ri­ly aimed at Secu­ri­ty con­trac­tor and regu­la­tes what they must ful­fil in order to regis­ter a guar­ding trade. Howe­ver, it also regu­la­tes that the trades­man may only ent­rust the per­for­mance of guar­ding tasks to per­sons as Workers who, as guards, on the one hand, are per­mit­ted to requi­red Relia­bi­li­ty on the other hand, have cer­tain Mini­mum qua­li­fi­ca­ti­ons have to show. With regard to qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on, this omi­nous “cer­ti­fi­ca­te” often comes into play: by “lar­ge cer­ti­fi­ca­te” some mean the suc­cessful pas­sed exami­na­ti­on, i.e. pro­of of the pas­sed test per­for­mance at the Cham­ber of Indus­try and Com­mer­ce. The “small cer­ti­fi­ca­te” is some­ti­mes cal­led the Par­ti­ci­pa­ti­on in the brie­fing This is a cour­se in which you only have to com­ple­te 40 tea­ching units and recei­ve a cer­ti­fi­ca­te of atten­dance, the “cer­ti­fi­ca­te of atten­dance”. Pro­of of ins­truc­tion, is given. During the ins­truc­tion, no know­ledge is sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly tes­ted, only a kind of short com­pre­hen­si­on test takes place. In the case of the exami­na­ti­on of pro­fes­sio­nal com­pe­tence, on the other hand, the­re is a 120-minu­te writ­ten test and a sub­se­quent oral exami­na­ti­on. The Exper­ti­se test is accor­din­gly clear hig­her-qua­li­ty than the ins­truc­tion and one is also allo­wed to take on spe­cial sur­veil­lan­ce acti­vi­ties, such as pat­rols in public traf­fic are­as or working as a shop detec­ti­ve. How the ins­truc­tion pro­ce­du­re and the exami­na­ti­on of com­pe­tence work, what is asked and who does not have to take part in it, if appli­ca­ble, is descri­bed (among other points) in the Sur­veil­lan­ce Ordi­nan­ce regulated.


Why are the wrong terms used for the expert know­ledge examination?

In my esti­ma­ti­on, this has various cau­ses. Some peo­p­le sim­ply do not know any bet­ter, some pro­no­un­ce Con­ve­ni­ence only brief­ly of the “appearance” and some per­sons (espe­ci­al­ly com­pa­nies) use inten­tio­nal­ly wrong terms. Sin­ce the actual­ly wrong terms are quite com­mon in cer­tain cir­cles (espe­ci­al­ly among the less qua­li­fied), many peo­p­le who want to prepa­re for the exami­na­ti­on of pro­fes­sio­nal com­pe­tence sim­ply search for the term “secu­ri­ty cer­ti­fi­ca­te”, for exam­p­le. Or else Com­pa­nies mis­lead pro­s­pec­ti­ve cus­to­mers into belie­ving they have more than they actual­ly have in them: In the past, the­re have always been trai­ning com­pa­nies that offe­red a “safe­ty spe­cia­list” qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on. That sounds like more! But what is actual­ly included is usual­ly “only” the pre­pa­ra­ti­on for the qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on. At a pri­ce of many hundreds or even more than a thousand euros. The spe­cia­list for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty, on the other hand, is a real 3‑year voca­tio­nal trai­ning — the­re is a risk of con­fu­si­on! My tip: So pay clo­se atten­ti­on to the terms used and, if in doubt, ask what is spe­ci­fi­cal­ly meant by them. Drü­cken Sie sich selbst am bes­ten klar aus und ver­wen­den Sie die rich­ti­gen Begriff­lich­kei­ten. Sie zei­gen damit, dass Sie sich auskennen 🙂


Recent­ly, Jörg Zitz­mann also dealt with the issue of “large/ small appearan­ces” in his pod­cast for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty in epi­so­de 328. As mana­ging direc­tor of the Aca­de­my for Secu­ri­ty, he regu­lar­ly recei­ves such enqui­ries and cla­ri­fies:

Exper­ti­se info page: Ever­y­thing new!

Expertise info page: Everything new!

Hel­lo to all tho­se inte­res­ted in expertise!

As of today, the infor­ma­ti­on page on the sub­ject has a new look. The site has been com­ple­te­ly rede­si­gned gra­phi­cal­ly and is now also easy to use on smart­phones! In addi­ti­on, the ran­ge of ser­vices has been expan­ded. Ask your ques­ti­on in the Forum or use the Page searchif you need infor­ma­ti­on on a spe­ci­fic subject.

News always in the blog

Also new is the web­log whe­re you are curr­ent­ly rea­ding this post. I will inform you here in short artic­les when­ever the­re is news about the 34a exami­na­ti­on or other secu­ri­ty topics!

About me

My name is Han­nes Fich­tel, I am an exami­ner in various exami­na­ti­on boards in the field of pro­tec­tion & secu­ri­ty at the IHK. I have been working in pri­va­te secu­ri­ty sin­ce 2006. Start­ing with the ins­truc­tion accor­ding to § 34a GewO and the trai­ning as a spe­cia­list for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty, I have deve­lo­ped fur­ther via the advan­ced trai­ning as a mas­ter for pro­tec­tion and secu­ri­ty (IHK) up to the bache­lor and mas­ter stu­dies in the secu­ri­ty indus­try. I run the exper­ti­se info­por­tal and am hap­py to ans­wer any ques­ti­ons you may have!