Path to professional recognition as a doctor m/f/d in Germany

Are you a doctor m/f/d living abroad and would like to work or specialise in Germany? As a qualified specialist, you have numerous opportunities. Our professional and experienced recruiting team will be happy to support you!

Qualified foreign medical doctors m/f/d with very good German language skills (C1 certificate or approbation) are in demand in Germany, especially in rural areas. Regardless of whether you have just completed your medical studies or have been already worked as a doctor m/f/d, it is extremely desirable to imigrate to Germany.

Especially in the fields of internal medicine, surgery, anaesthesia, gynaecology & obstetrics, paediatrics, youth medicine and neurology, qualified physicians are sought in further training as assistant medical doctors. In the fields of geriatrics, psychiatry and psychosomatics, ENT, urology and radiology, experienced foreign specialists are in great demand.

The chances in the German labour market for doctors from all over the world are excellent if you meet the following requirements:

1. Completed medical studies from abroad

Medical studies from an EU / EEA country or Switzerland

A medical degree completed in the EU is automatically recognised in Germany upon application, provided that the qualification is listed in the European Professional Recognition Directives (2005/36/EC, Annex V No. 5.1.1), the minimum criteria of the Directive have been complied with and the training was commenced after the specified reference date. Since the EU has concluded corresponding agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, medical training completed in these countries is on an equal footing with qualifications from EU countries. If all other requirements (knowledge of German, aptitude for health, impunity, etc.) are met, the applicant receives a license to practise medicine.


2. Medical studies outside an EU / EEA country or Switzerland

Medical studies completed outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland are first subjected to an equivalence test by the German approbation authority. If the authority determines that the foreign diploma is equivalent or that differences in training can be compensated for by relevant professional experience or other recognised knowledge and skills and all other requirements (knowledge of German, no criminal offences, aptitude for health, etc.) are met, it issues the licence to practise medicine.

If this authority determines that there are significant differences between the medical training in the country of training and the medical training in Germany, it may insist on taking a further examination, provided that the differences in training cannot be offset by relevant professional experience or other recognised knowledge and skills. The professional experience, knowledge and skills may have been acquired worldwide.

In rare cases it may happen that the licensing authority classifies the medical education / medical studies as not equivalent and due to serious deviations no knowledge examination is offered to prove an equivalent level of knowledge. In these cases (approx. 1% of applications), medical work in Germany will not be possible.

The equivalence test and the assessment of professional experience and other recognised knowledge and skills are done through an individual assessment by the authorities. The statutory duration for the equivalence test is a maximum of four months after receipt of all necessary documents. Unfortunately, this deadline is often exceeded.


A) German language certificate B2 as a prerequisite for applying for the licence to practise medicine / professional licence

A second basic requirement, which every foreign physician planning to work in Germany must meet, is proof of an adequate knowledge of the German language. Most federal states require at least a B2 language certificate of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) for the application for a license to practise medicine or a profession.


B) C1 language proficiency test for medicine or proof of required knowledge of German in the medical field

Doctors who come to Germany from abroad and want to work here in their profession must prove that they have the knowledge of the German language in the medical field required for the exercise of their profession when applying for a license to practise medicine. This should not be a problem for doctors who are native speakers of German or who have already gained professional experience in German-speaking countries (Austria, Switzerland) and have provided appropriate proof there. Doctors from non-German-speaking countries must take the C1 medical language exam. Registration for the C1 medical language examination with the medical association and / or the approbation authorities is only possible after an application has been made for a licence to practise medicine. The fees for the C1 language examinations vary among the individual providers. They currently range from €300 for the specialist language examination to € 490 for the berami Academy (Frankfurt am Main) specialist language examination.


C) German license (Deutsche Approbation)

The German license (German Approbation) is the state's unrestricted license to practise the profession in question independently and on one's own responsibility. This is associated with the authority to use the respective professional title. The granting of the German license is regulated by license regulations, which are issued by the Federal Ministry of Health (Germany) on the basis of the corresponding laws of the Federal Medical Code - BÄO.


D) Professional Permit (Berufserlaubnis)

The professional permit is limited to a maximum of two years. Within these two years, doctors must take the knowledge test. The aim is to obtain the German license to practise medicine. The professional license is limited to a non-independent and non-leading activity. Doctors with a professional licence can work under the supervision of an approved doctor (§ 10 of the BÄO - Bundesärzteordnung).


E) Knowledge examination

The knowledge test covers the German medical studies. The foreign physician must prove that he or she possesses the same knowledge as is required by local graduates of medical universities. Since a statutory regulation came into force on 1 January 2014, the focus of the examination has been on the subjects of internal medicine and surgery. The questions will also take the following aspects into account: Emergency medicine, clinical pharmacology/pharmacotherapy, imaging procedures, radiation protection, legal issues relating to the practice of medicine. In addition, the competent authority may define a subject or a cross-sectional area as relevant to the examination in advance of the examination in which it has identified significant differences between medical training in Germany and the applicant's training.

The knowledge examination is an oral-practical examination with an introduction to the patient and lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. It can be repeated a maximum of two times. An appointment for the knowledge test must be offered to the applicant within six months of the decision. Unfortunately, this deadline is often exceeded.

The fees for the knowledge test vary from state to state. They range from € 350 in Schleswig-Holstein to € 1,100 in Hesse or Rhineland-Palatinate. Since the fees can change at any time, it is strongly recommended to inquire at the appropriate authority about the current examination fees.


3. German Approval - Recognition of the Equivalence of Your Medical Studies

As soon as you've awarded the German license (Deutsche Approbation) to practise medicine, you're to start your medical career in Germany. Once you've met all formal requirements - we have the jobs. When looking for a new job, contact our recruiting team in confidence. We will show you which vacancies correspond to your wishes and clarify any questions about conditions, employment contract and the region in which your new job is located. We will be happy to advise you, without obligation and free of charge.

Since the requirements for professional recognition of medical training vary from state to state, we will be happy to assist you with our specialist knowledge throughout the entire application process!


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