Despite Germany having a very stable healthcare system, nursing professionals remain in high demand and their contribution is more vital than ever.
In order to meet the increasing demand in the healthcare and nursing professions, hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities are searching for nursing personnels with different levels of qualifications and experience. According to forecasts, this demand will rise in the near future.
What are the requirements to become a nurse in Germany?
Nurses who wish to work in Germany require official authorisation to practise the profession in the country. In order to work in the nursing profession in Germany, you must meet the following requirements.
Qualification to become a nurse in Germany
To become a nurse in Germany, your nationality does not matter. However, your degree or diploma needs to be recognized in Germany in order to determine whether it meets German standards.
If your certificate is not recognized, you may take an assessment test or undergo an adaptation period to demonstrate an equivalent level of knowledge. A professional recognition application can be submitted to the competent authority in the state where you intend to work. Professional recognition obtained in Germany is valid throughout the country.
German language skills to become a nurse in Germany
As a medical professional, you need strong and in-depth knowledge of the German language, as you will be working closely with patients. Depending on where you intend to work, you will need a level equivalent to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) B2 or B1.
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.
Physical and mental fitness to become a nurse in Germany
A German doctor must certify that you are physically and mentally fit before you can be hired as a nurse.
Furthermore, you will have to prove that you don't have a criminal record. It may be sufficient to provide a certificate of good conduct from your country of origin or a German certificate of conduct (Führungszeugnis).
How to become a Nurse in Germany
There are three options to become a nurse in Germany.
Study nursing in Germany in a German university
Vocational nursing training and apprenticeship in Germany
Migrate to Germany as a professional nurse
Study nursing in a German university
This is probably the most expensive way to become a nurse in Germany. However, the chances of getting hired in a German hospital or other care facilities are much higher than the other two 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 the nursing courses 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.
Nurse apprenticeship in Germany
You have completed your higher secondary and are currently pursuing a degree in another field, or you have already completed your degree in another stream, but you still wish to become a nurse in Germany, you may be able to do that by applying for a nurse apprenticeship.
A positive about this program is that you will be paid during the training, so that you can live comfortably in Germany until you begin receiving your regular salary.
However, there may be limited apprenticeship vacancies and a high number of applicants. Therefore, you should demonstrate your skills clearly, noticeably, and understandably.
Where to find Nurse apprenticeship openings in Germany
If you Google Nurse apprenticeship in Germany or ‘Ausbildung zur Krankenschwester in Deutschland’, among the genuine recruiters, you will see millions of websites with advertisements and most of them only waste your time, steal your money or sometimes even endanger you. Therefore, always be careful when planning your career.
We suggest you shortlist the cities or towns you want to work and live in Germany. Once you have a final list, start searching for the hospitals and medical universities around there. Frequently check their web pages and follow them on LinkedIn, Indeed, Xing, etc and apply for the apprenticeship as soon as you see an opening. This way, you can avoid middlemen, save some money on commissions, and take advantage of being an early bird.
Migrate to Germany as a professional nurse
Applicants from EU member states may directly apply for relevant positions in German hospitals, clinics, etc. Many of these institutions offer nurse training programs to help you onboard. Additionally, applicants from any EU country can start an apprenticeship as a nurse in Germany. If you are interested in one of these options please apply directly. However, you need to demonstrate German language skills at least on B1 level.
How to get a job in Germany as a nurse?
If you already have finished your diploma or degree in Nursing in your home country and you have practical working experience, there might be an option to start as a nurse or nursing helper in Germany. However, your foreign degree must be recognized in Germany.
Please note that despite your experience, you must have German language skills of level B1 or B2 in order to work as a nurse 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.
Once the certificates and documents are translated, you need to send them to the competent authority in the province of your choice by post. Please note that you only need to send the certified copies of Originals.
Recognition procedure as General nurse 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.
As soon as your professional qualification is recognized in Germany, you can start applying to hospitals, medical universities, care homes, or basically any medical organization that requires your qualifications.
It is also worth noting that there’s no age limit to migrate to Germany as a nurse. As long as you fulfill the criteria of academic comparability, work experience and language skills, you can always give it a try.
How to find Nurse vacancies in Germany?
As mentioned earlier the easiest method is to shortlist the cities or towns you want to work and live in Germany. Once you have a final list, start searching for the hospitals and medical universities around there. Frequently check their web pages and follow them on LinkedIn, Indeed, Xing, etc and apply as soon as you see an opening.
Finally, you may also approach any reputed recruiters you trust and seek help. They mostly charge you a fortune. If you are able to afford this option, consider it only as your last resort.
How to get a German visa for nurses?
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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