Greece is a beautiful and historically very important country located in South-East Europe. It is home to over 10 million people and is a world-famous tourist destination with a large number of islands and beaches. Ancient Greece was the birthplace of modern Western civilization, and concepts such as democracy, political science, western philosophy and literature, and so much more.
Today, Greece is a modern nation that is working hard to overcome the economic troubles it has gone through over the last decade, and a big factor in that effort is acquiring talented professionals to come and work in the country. In this article, we will go over the requirements for foreign doctors to become eligible to work as a doctor in Greece.
1. Greek Proficiency Requirements
The Greek language is one of the oldest in the world, and you are probably already familiar with some of its letters as they are heavily used in fields such as mathematics and physics. That being said, the language vastly differs from English and other widely spoken languages in Europe, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a hard language to learn. All of the rules are fairly straightforward with very few exceptions, and the language is fairly easily structured. Difficulties can arise in the early stages of learning Greek, after which it becomes a lot easier to master.
Unlike most other countries, there are no requirements in the licensing and registration process that ask for you to be proficient in the Greek language to become a doctor in Greece. This means that you can freely start a private practice without even the slightest knowledge of Greek. However, if you want to work at a public hospital, it will be virtually impossible for you to find a job if you don’t speak Greek fluently, as the vast majority of patients and other staff members will communicate in Greek.
2. Attend Greek Medical Schools if Possible
Studying medicine in Greece is one of the most cost-effective ways to obtain a medical degree inside the EU and to become a doctor in Greece. The quality of education is relatively high, and the living costs are low even in the bigger cities. Greek universities also closely collaborate with other European universities and research organizations which gives students some great resources in their search for a residency or other needs you may have as a medical student.
Medical education is free for all Greek and EU citizens, while non-EU students have to pay tuition fees of around 1.500 euros per year, depending on the university. The length of the studies is 6 years, but it usually takes a little longer to fully finish with the degree. There are a number of high-quality medical universities across all of the major cities including Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Patras, and others.
3. Passing the Greek Medical Tests
After graduating, or after getting your medical degree recognized as a foreign student, you can register as a member of the medical association in the area you want to work in. This can also be done after getting your medical license. To get your degree recognized, you need to send your diploma for authentication to the Hellenic National Academic Recognition and Information Centre (DOATAP). There are no additional tests or exams you need to pass to become medically licensed and practice as a doctor in Greece unless you are looking to become a specialist.
4. Doing the Residency
When it comes to residency, there are no requirements for established professionals to complete a residency period in Greece, while recent graduates can undertake one immediately after finishing their studies. To become specialized, you need to complete a 4 to 7-year long training in a public hospital, depending on the type of specialization, after which you are eligible to take the specialization exam.
5. Becoming Licensed
The medical license that allows doctors to practice in Greece is issued by the Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity (MHSS). Greek and other EU nationals can immediately apply for the license by submitting an application to the municipality public health directorate in which they want to work in. The application needs to include a copy of the medical degree, as well as proof of a clean criminal record. It takes around a month for the Ministry of Health to then grant the license, which lasts for 5 years and you can start practicing as a doctor in Greece. After the 5 years expire, doctors are required to renew their license with the MHSS.
6. Work Permission
Since Greece is in the EU, nationals of other member states can freely move and start looking for a job considering that they meet the qualifications to become a doctor in Greece, and are registered and licensed to practice in Greece.
Non-EU citizens first need to obtain a work visa, which is applied for in the nearest Greek Embassy or Consulate. The name of the visa you need to apply for is the National (Type-D) visa, which allows you to stay and work in Greece for longer than 90 days. To apply, you need to provide documents such as an employment contract with a hospital, and other documents depending on your situation. Immediately after entering the country, all holders of the National visa also have to apply for a residence permit.
7. Getting jobs in Hospitals in Greece
The financial crisis in Greece has led to a significant loss in manpower, opening a large number of vacancies in many fields, including medicine. As the country is on its way to economic stability once again, there is no better time to find a job in a hospital, and there are many positions available. The easiest way to find a job in a hospital is to look for a training specialist position, which can lead to full-time employment in the future. If you are already specialized, you can still apply for jobs, with the only hindrance being the language.
8. Starting your own practice
Private practitioners are a common theme in Greece, but if you want to become one, you first need to complete 4 to 7 years of specialist training in a hospital, After this, there is a final state exam, and if you pass it, you can open your private practice. There are no other requirements, even language ones to start your own practice and being a doctor in Greece. This is a great option if you are practicing in an area of Greece where there are a lot of foreigners.
9. How can doctors trained internationally become doctors in Greece
The procedure varies depending on if you are an EU citizen or not, but it is not very complicated in both cases. EU citizens have it a bit easier, as they only need to obtain a medical license and register with the local health authority in the area where they want to work in. After doing this, they are free to start looking for a job in a hospital or start a private practice as a doctor in Greece.
Non-EU citizens have to go through one additional step, and that is to apply for a National visa through their local Greek embassy. For this, they would need to already have found employment in a Greek hospital, and be medically licensed to operate in Greece. After getting the visa they also need to apply for a residence permit immediately upon entering Greece. If the foreign-trained doctor obtained their medical degree outside the EU, they would also need to have their degree authorized by the DOATAP.
I hope that this article was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Europe Scholarships Page.