The high professional technical courses (CTSP) are a short-term training of higher education (Portaria n.º 782/2009, de 23 de julho). These courses are the basis for the development of a professional or vocational activity for personal growth, or to proceed to higher level studies. These courses also have the advantage of enabling an immediate integration into a work market, which means an increase of learners’ potential of employability.
These courses also have the advantage of enabling an immediate integration into a work market, which means an increase of learners’ potential of employability.
The cycle of studies is taught in polytechnics and awards up to 120 credits after its successful completion. These courses have a set of curricular units organised into the following training components: general and scientific, technical and practice at the workplace, through an internship. They will last for four curricular semesters.
The list of courses is available at the DGES website and currently comprises 662 courses in 120 higher education institutions.
Each institution of higher education qualifies for a diploma of a high-level technician in the areas of training that they define, considering the needs of vocational training, namely in the region in which it is placed. Therefore, these courses are characterised by having a strong local presence, since they allow interacting with the local enterprises and business associations to meet their needs.
The legal regime of the higher professional technical courses  granting a diploma of high-level technician after the learners successfully complete it, even they don’t contemplate a higher education degree.
However, the young person who attends one of these courses may subsequently apply for a degree (bachelor’s or master’s degree) and thus complete its cycle of studies.
When the learners apply for public higher education with a diploma of high-level technician they’ll have access to a proper contest and special openings, disclosed every year by the respective higher education institution.
When applying later to a bachelor or master’s degree in the same area, the student can request the appropriate equivalence from the higher education institution, but the sum of all the credits awarded may not exceed two-thirds of the total credits of the study cycle.
Only the students who had completed secondary education or have legally equivalent qualification can apply for higher professional technical courses; those who had made special tests designed for that course, under the terms of Decreto-Lei (Decree-Law) n.º 64/2006, de 21 de março and the students who have a technological specialisation degree, of high-level technician or a higher education degree, who seek their professional requalification.
The access and admission to higher professional technical courses take place through an annual contest organised by the higher education institution (HEI) and may be required in public or private higher education, with the exception of military or police public higher education.
The HEI establishes the rules of application, through a specific regulation, or the admission in higher technical courses and each institution has the ability to prepare and develop the concerning actions to access its courses, in the terms established by law, namely the respective classification and tie-breaking rules.
The Applications for the National Higher Education Access Contest take place online on the website of Direção Geral de Ensino Superior (DGES).
In order to allow all students to have access to training and education, there are several supports available to them, namely scholarships. Introduced by Decree-Law no. 74/2006, of March 24, amended and republished by Decree-Law no. 63/2016 of 13 September.