To work as a pharmacist in Germany, you will need the permit to practice as a pharmacist otherwise known as approbation.
Currently, Germany has one of the most employable healthcare sectors in the world. As long as you have a license as a pharmacist and meet certain conditions, you should have no trouble finding employment.
How to become a Pharmacist in Germany
There are two options to become a pharmacist in Germany.
Study pharmacy in Germany in a German university
Migrate to Germany as an experienced Pharmacist
Study Pharmacy in a German university
This is probably the most expensive way to become a pharmacist in Germany. However, the chances of getting hired in a German hospital, apotheke or other organizations are much higher than the other options.
It is the same process as coming to Germany to study any other courses. As soon as you’ve completed your higher secondary school, you can explore diploma or degree courses in pharmacy in Germany and start applying.
In addition, you may be able to get scholarships that cover your entire stay in Germany, including your flight tickets, accommodation, and health insurance. Therefore, don’t forget to explore how to get a scholarship in Germany.
Migrate to Germany as a professional Pharmacist
If you have completed your degree in Pharmacy in a non EU member state or Switzerland, you need to get your academic credentials recognized in Germany. The process evaluates whether your education is equivalent to a German degree. Those who have earned degrees in another country are entitled to have their degrees equivalence assessed.
It will be easier if you have already had your degree recognized in an EU-member country.
The process for assessing equivalency
As part of the equivalency assessment, the competent authorities compare your degree with the corresponding German degree to determine whether the two are comparable in terms of content or duration. If there are no significant differences, the authorities will certify equivalency. You don't receive a German degree certificate. However, it grants you the same legal rights as someone who has completed the corresponding degree in Germany.
Pharmacist degree recognition Procedure in Germany
To understand the procedure easily, the information portal of the German government
for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a very detailed documentation in English.
Documents required for the recognition procedure in Germany
To start with you need to translate your degree certificates and your experience certificates to German. You can find translation services in your home country which might be cheaper. However, make sure that they are certified translators for official purposes. Alternatively, here’s a list of translation services listed in muenchen.de, an official website of the city of Munich.
In addition to the application form, the following documents and additional supporting evidences must be submitted:
Proof of identity - copy of passport
Proof of work experience, education, and training
If applicable, evidence of your right to practice in your country of origin
Fitness certificate from a certified doctor
Certificate of good conduct (Führungszeugnis) from a certified doctor
Proof of German language skills.
Please note that you only need to send the certified translations of your certificates for the recognition process. The competent authority will let you know if they need to see any original documents.
The cost of your degree recognition process will be depending on the state you choose. The corresponding competent authority will inform you about the actual costs.
When your degree is only partially recognized in Germany
If substantial differences between your education and the German standard are determined, you can prove that you have the occupational knowledge and skills necessary to practice the pharmacist profession as per paragraph 3 of the Federal Pharmacists Regulation by taking the assessment exam.
The assessment exam’s content is similar to that of the final state exams for German pharmacists. It covers the pharmaceutical practices as well as some legal points related to pharmacies. Additionally, it will touch the subject that was determined to have considerable differences by the competent authority.
As per our research, the classes offered to intern pharmacists (PhiP) to prepare for this exam could help you too. The pharmacist's chamber offers the classes to help the pharmacist trainees to prepare for their state exams. You can get more information from the Chamber of Pharmacists in the state where you wish to work.
You may also apply for a permit to practice pharmacy in Germany for a period of up to two years. This Permit is granted to persons who have completed pharmacy studies outside the EU, EEA, or Switzerland. However, you may be limited to certain types of activities. In general, you may be restricted to working in a specific pharmacy or under the supervision of another pharmacist.
Please note that the permit does not represent the recognition of your degree or qualifications obtained in a foreign country. It does not, however, prevent you from receiving approbation too! You can only practice limited tasks during this practice period. You can, however, gain first-hand practical experience while preparing for the language or other assessment exams.
German language skills required to become a pharmacist in Germany
In order to obtain approbation as a pharmacist, your general and occupational German language skills must be sufficient.
It is required that you have a level B2 knowledge of German according to the Common European Reference Framework. Additionally, you must pass the specialist language examination at level C1. The specialist language examination is administered by the chamber of pharmacists in most federal states.
You are not required to prove language skills when initially submitting the application for approbation. It is sufficient to prove these during the process. The occupational language exam has no effect on the process of having your degree and education recognized and pharmaceutical knowledge is not tested as part of this examination.
It is, however, not too difficult to learn German these days. You can find many courses online or you can even come to Germany for a short period to learn the language if you find that practical. This will help you get a first impression about the culture, the people and the system. Furthermore, you can also make connections in Germany that will help you land a job in the future.
How to prepare for the occupational language examination in Germany as a pharmacist?
For people who are preparing for the occupational language exam, a community pharmacy is a good place to start. You can improve your occupational German skills through observational work-shadowing. This involves observing a pharmacy team at work but not actively participating in pharmaceutical activities. As well as observing colleagues consult patients, you can learn about pharmaceutical packaging, medicinal product information, as well as the general processes and routines involved in working in a German pharmacy.
The best places to find German Pharmacist jobs
According to the ABDA - The Federal Union of German Associations of Pharmacists, the following job and recruitment portals are available and provide information about pharmacist jobs.
Please note that this is not a complete list and only contains, primarily, positions available in community pharmacies.
Job portals of the Chambers of Pharmacists and Pharmacist Associations and Societies
Visa for Pharmacists to Germany
As a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you require neither a visa nor a residence permit to work in Germany. Citizens of other countries on the other hand require a residence permit.
Once you have successfully completed an interview and secured a job offer, you can apply for a German visa and work permit. The procedure is not different to other job categories.
Upon completion of your professional training, you can also come to Germany to look for a job for up to 6 months on a German job seeker visa.
On your way to Germany
You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at www.expatova.com.
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