How to Become a Medical Doctor in Germany (8 Steps)

Germany is one of the most developed and economically stable and prosperous nations in the world. As such, it attracts thousands of highly educated and ambitious working professionals to come to the country.

Among those are also a huge number of either aspiring or already established medical doctors, who wish to continue their work in Germany due to many factors such as excellent working conditions, advanced medical technology, better salaries, and more. In this guide, we will go over a few steps and conditions you need to pass in order to become a medical doctor in Germany.

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1. Study Medicine in Germany if possible

One of the main factors that will help with your language knowledge, but also with many other things when it comes to working as a medical doctor in Germany, is getting your medical degree from a German university. This will significantly improve your chances to stay and work in the country.

There are plenty of very high-quality higher education medical institutions in Germany. However, spots in these universities are limited and are very competitive. In the past, only the students with the highest grades were accepted, while not too long ago, more weight is given to a person’s CV, personal ambition, and commitment. If you graduated from an EU secondary school, you can apply to a medical program directly, but if you come from outside the EU, you will need a university entrance qualification or Hochschulzugangsberechtigung, to assess your current knowledge compared to the standards of the German educational system. Based on that, you will get further instructions on how to proceed in applying to a medical school.

2. Language Requirements for Medical License

German can be a fairly tough language, and it can sometimes take years to achieve a level of proficiency that would be considered acceptable in professional environments. When it comes to people who want to become a doctor in Germany, they will have to provide at least a B2 level certification for German, or more. Additionally, some states also require a C1 level of medical German.

Acquiring a B2 level certificate is fairly easy and can be done in your home country, but it can take some time. The amount of time it takes depends on whether you have previous knowledge of the language. If you’re starting from scratch, it can typically take up to a year, but sometimes even less, depending on your dedication and commitment.

In order to apply for the C1 Medical German exam, you will need the B2 certificate first. Some courses even require a medical degree before you are able to participate. This certificate has to be taken in Germany and the courses are significantly more expensive than with the ordinary certifications.

3. Required Medical Tests

Anyone can apply for a medical license in Germany, regardless of nationality. However, if a person has a medical degree from outside the EU/EEA, an additional test called the assessment test may be required to become a doctor in Germany. If the relevant authority finds that the degree gained in a foreign country isn’t in line with the degrees in German universities, the candidate in question will have to take the assessment test to prove that his knowledge is up to German standards. After the candidate passes this test, he will be able to apply for the medical certificate, if all the other requirements are met.

4. Getting Medical License to Become a Doctor in Germany

The medical license issued by the German state that allows medical professionals to work in their field is called the “Approbation”. Once you get it, it will last you for a lifetime and is accepted all throughout Germany. However, in order to apply for the license, you will need a job offer, the C1 level of Medical German, as well as weeks of practical training. Since getting the Approbation can be quite a lengthy process, individuals who have a job offer and a diploma from a foreign medical school can apply for the ‘Berufserlaubnis’, which is a temporary medical license that will allow you to work while your application for the Approbation is in progress.

5. Work Visa in Germany

When it comes to residency, EU citizens can freely work as doctors in Germany if they have the required qualifications, of course. For non-EU citizens, there are two ways to get legal residence. One is to get an EU Blue Card, which was introduced to attract highly skilled professionals. In order to qualify for a Blue Card, you will need a job offer that pays at least €43,056, as well as a medical degree recognized in Germany. If you don’t qualify for a blue card, you can get a regular work permit, which is also a legally recognized residence permit. However, the process to get a permanent residence with this permit instead of the blue card will be harder and slower, but still very doable.

Before leaving for Germany, you need to contact the German consulate in your home country and apply for the correct visa. As we said earlier, if you already have a job offer that pays over €43,056, and have a medical degree, you can apply for the Blue Card. The Blue Card is valid for up to 4 years, but it can be shorter depending on the length of your work contract. You can apply for an unlimited residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) after three years, or two depending on your language skills. Family members of the Blue Card holder are free to work in Germany, while spouses are not even required to speak German.

6. Getting a Job in Germany as Doctors

Medical professionals are in high demand in Germany, and finding a job if you are well qualified shouldn’t be too difficult if you are already a doctor in Germany. You can see an official list of current open vacancies here, as well as many other sites or specialized medical associations.

7. Opening Up your Own Practice

The process of starting your own practice can be a little more complicated, as you’d expect. The rules when it comes to opening a new practice in Germany can be very strict, due to the large number of them already in existence. The easiest way to work as an independent medical professional in Germany is, instead of opening a brand new practice, to instead take over an existing practice from someone that is going to retirement. If that isn’t an option, you will need to attend various courses before you are allowed to open a new practice.

8. Become a Medical Doctor in Germany with Foreign Education

The process for foreign-trained doctors to start working in Germany depends on a few things. If the foreign-trained doctors come from an EU/EEA country, they can immediately start looking for a job, but will still need the medical license or Approbation.

Students from outside the EU/EEA will need to go through an assessment period to prove that their competence matches the German medical standards. This evaluation can take a very long time, so if you have a job offer, you can start with a temporary medical license called Berufserlaubnis to become a doctor in Germany. With one of these licenses, you can start working as a medical resident, and after a few years, you will earn the title of ”Facharzt” or medical specialist.


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