What Does the ZFU Certification of the HOFA Online Courses Actually Mean for You?

All HOFA online courses in audio engineering are evaluated and certified by the German State Central Office for Distance Learning “ZFU”. But what does that mean exactly? And what are your specific advantages and guarantees of taking part in a certified training?

What is the ZFU and what are its functions?

The State Central Office for Distance Learning (ZFU) is an authority that decides on the accreditation of distance learning courses in Germany.
According to the Distance Learning Protection Act (“Gesetz zum Schutz der Teilnehmer am Fernunterricht” – FernUSG), distance learning courses in Germany are generally subject to state authorization. This means that such courses must pass an accreditation process before they can be made available. Authorization is given by the ZFU based on this act.

Which distance learning courses are subject to accreditation?

All educational courses that are classified as “distance learning” according to the FernUSG must be certified. This includes all courses that meet the following criteria:

  1. Course contract (contractual basis)
    The course must be provided on the basis of a contract. The content of the contract must be the teaching of knowledge and skills.
  2. Individual monitoring of learning success
    The student’s learning success must be monitored through individual checks.
  3. Physical separation of teacher and student
    Teaching takes place exclusively or mostly at separate locations and at different times. This means that on-site seminars may not exceed a part of 50%.

So-called “hobby courses”, which are intended exclusively for personal leisure activities or entertainment, are not subject to authorization. Since the HOFA-College online courses also provide the knowledge and skills for a professional future in the music industry, they are subject to accreditation.

How is the certification process organized?

The certification granted by the ZFU is an official quality seal. It means that we have submitted our course program to a state authority for examination and that it has been assessed as high-quality. An independent reviewer with relevant qualifications is also consulted for the expert evaluation.

Certification process
Your benefits of the ZFU accreditation as a HOFA-College student

The certification process guarantees that a distance learning course has been checked by the ZFU in terms of didactics and methodology. In addition, an examination is carried out from an academic point of view. In concrete terms, this means that the course content must be up to date, correct, reasonably structured and practice-oriented.

It also guarantees that the courses are a suitable means of achieving the course objective. In the case of the HOFA-College courses, the objective is to impart in-depth knowledge and practical skills in the fields of audio engineering and music production. This is accomplished by suitable learning methods. The didactic concept includes written content, videos, audio examples, workshops and practical exercises. Other essential aspects of successful learning are the educational support provided by audio engineering professionals during the course and the regular analysis of practical submissions.

Further key components of the ZFU audit are the possibilities of cancellation and the fair contractual terms with regard to the price-performance ratio of the courses.

Due to the certification, HOFA-College courses are also exempt from VAT. This means that there is no VAT on the course fees.

The terms “correspondence course” or “distance learning course” are not protected in many countries. Therefore, there are many providers who offer distance learning training without any official accreditation. This can be a clear sign of unreliability and a lack of integrity. When choosing a distance learning or online course, you should therefore not only keep an eye on the costs and content, but also always find out about an institute’s certifications.

How can I tell if an online course is officially certified?

Courses that have been approved by the ZFU have an approval seal with an official certification number. This must be stated in the information material of the educational institute and in the course contract.

Approval seal with certification number

In Germany, the ZFU reviews the admission requirements every 3 years. This ensures that the distance learning courses remain up to date and that the quality is kept high.

The HOFA AUDIO DIPLOMA and therefore all other HOFA online courses are certified and approved by the ZFU. Are you interested in the officially accredited online courses in audio engineering from HOFA?


Judith Kircher
Judith Kircher
Judith Kircher works at HOFA as an author and in the back office. She successfully completed a bachelor's degree in digital media and is currently studying law at the University of Heidelberg. Her cross-disciplinary knowledge of the media industry and law helps her shed light on legal topics.

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