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How to become a teacher in Germany: Recognition Process, Requirements, and Salaries

Updated: Apr 21

If you have a masters or bachelors degree in education, and you wish to relocate to Germany, then this might be the right time for you. With a growing demand for qualified teachers and an ageing population, Germany offers a promising environment for foreign teachers with great qualifications.

how to get a teacher job in Germany

Germany faces a shortage of teachers, particularly in certain subject areas like maths, science, technology and foreign languages, and at international schools. This presents a strong demand for qualified candidates with a Masters or Bachelor's degree in Education.

How to become a teacher in Germany

Teaching in Germany can be a rewarding career path compared to many other countries. The German education system is highly regarded for its quality and rigour, and teachers in Germany are well-respected members of the community. If you are considering a career in teaching in Germany, this article will provide you with a general overview of the steps involved in becoming a qualified teacher in the country.

Step by step process to become a teacher in Germany

Teaching is a regulated profession in Germany. Which means that anyone who wishes to teach in schools in Germany must have specific qualifications that are recognized by the German government. The process of having the qualifications recognized is called the Anerkennungsverfahren (Recog­ni­tion pro­ce­dure).

If you studied in Germany and acquired your teaching qualification in Germany, then you can directly apply for any relevant job openings in the country. No need for any additional recognition. 

If you’ve completed a state-certified qualification or a state-recognised teaching degree outside of Germany, then you can directly apply for a recognition in anerkennung in deutschland - the official recognition portal. 

If you learned your profession abroad or studied abroad at an institute of higher education or a university, and you’ve successfully completed your degree, but your qualification is not recognised in Germany, then you need to apply for a recognition in the official recognition portal.

If you are not sure about the process or you need additional information and support, you also have the possibility to seek free personal guidance. 

The counselling centre can provide you with support throughout the recognition process. They help you gather the necessary documents and guide you through the application process. Once you've gathered all the documents, you can submit it to the competent authority, which will assess your professional qualification and determine its equivalence to German standards.

Alternatively, you can also reach out to them via phone.

Requirements for recognition

The first step of the recognition of your degree in Germany is to decide in which location or the competent authority to apply. Even though the process, and the documentation for different people will vary depending on the type of the qualification, nationality, residency status in Germany, and where the degree was acquired, in general the following applies.

A teaching degree including at least two subjects. The degree consists of a bachelor's degree and a master's degree (First State Examination).

Practical pedagogical training. This training concludes with the Second State Examination. The practical training is also referred to as teaching practice (Vorbereitungsdienst, Referendariat).

To work as a teacher, you usually need to provide evidence of your knowledge of German, personal aptitude and medical fitness. Your employer will check personal aptitude and medical fitness upon your appointment at the latest.

German proficiency

To work as a teacher in Germany, you need to have a good command of the German language at least at level C2 of the Common European Reference Framework for languages.

However, you are not required to provide a language certificate when applying. You only need to provide evidence of knowledge of German during the recognition process or when being appointed as a teacher.

If you are applying for the recognition in Berlin, the Berlin Senate Department offers a free language examination twice a year. You can apply when you have the detailed notice.

Duration of the recognition process

Around one month after receiving your application, the responsible authority will acknowledge the receipt of your documents. If your application is missing any supporting documents, they will let you know and help you with submitting it. Once all necessary documents are provided, the procedure officially starts.

You should receive a decision within three months at the latest. In some situations, the responsible authority might extend the process.

Costs for recognition of your teaching degree

The recognition procedure typically costs around €200. However, there may be additional costs for services such as document translations and certifications. You can request an abbreviated notice (Kurzbescheid) for a reduced fee of €55. This is a preliminary assessment of your qualification, and you will still need to complete the full recognition procedure if you wish to obtain a full recognition certificate.

Since the recognition process requires financial resources and it might be expensive for some people, there are options for financial assistance to help offset these costs. 

You can apply for partial or full reimbursement through various funding programs. Additionally, support is available for training courses that may be required to bridge any gaps between your qualifications and German standards.

Documents required for the recognition process

Even though the list of required documents will vary for different people, the below list will provide you an overview.

  • Application form

  • Proof of identity (e.g. passport or personal identification)

  • Curriculum vitae

  • A cover letter or Intention to start work

  • Evidence of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, certificate of entitlement) 

  • Evidence of your professional experience if any (e.g. employment references)

  • Evidence of your other qualifications (e.g. continuing vocational training, seminars)

  • Evidence of school leaving certificate

  • Evidence of your knowledge of German

  • Evidence of your personal aptitude: written declaration or certificate of good conduct from Germany or your country of origin (e.g. criminal record extract, certificate of good standing)

  • Evidence of your medical fitness: written declaration or doctor's certificate and proof of your measles protection

Additionally, the competent authority will guide you on whether to submit original documents or certified copies. Some copies may require official certification.

All submitted documents must be translated into German by sworn or authorised translators.

Result of the recognition process

After completing the procedure, you’ll receive a notice from the competent authority. It will contain the result of your recognition procedure application. 

In the case of full recognition, the notice will contain an authorisation / licence to practise teaching in Germany and the certificate of state recognition. With full recognition, you can apply for open teaching positions in Germany and start working immediately.

If your degree is only partially recognized (foreign professional qualification that is not fully equivalent to the corresponding German qualification), the competent authority will identify the substantial differences between the two qualifications and specify measures that you can take to bridge those gaps.

These measures may include:

Complementary training: This involves additional training courses or modules to address specific areas of knowledge or skills that are lacking in the applicant's foreign qualification.

Compensatory measures: This entails passing additional aptitude or knowledge tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain aspects of the profession.

Adaptation of practice: This involves adjustments to the applicant's professional practice to ensure that it aligns with German standards and regulations.

Once you complete the specified measures, you can apply for a follow-up recognition procedure to assess whether your qualifications are now fully recognized in Germany.

If you received a "no recognition", it means that your foreign professional qualification is not considered equivalent to the corresponding German qualification.

This means that you cannot work in the profession in Germany without obtaining additional training or qualifications.

There are several reasons why a foreign qualification may not be recognized in Germany. These includes:

Significant differences in the content or duration of the education or training: If the foreign qualification is significantly different from the German qualification in terms of the subjects covered, the depth of knowledge required, or the length of training, it may not be considered equivalent.

Variations in the assessment methods: If the assessment methods used to evaluate the foreign qualification differ from those used in Germany, there may be discrepancies in the level of proficiency demonstrated.

Differing legal or regulatory requirements: If the legal or regulatory framework governing the profession is different in the applicant's home country and Germany, it may not be possible to directly apply the foreign qualification.

German language proficiency to become a teacher in Germany

To become a teacher in Germany, you must have a high level of proficiency in the German language. The specific language requirements vary depending on the type of teaching qualification and the educational level at which you wish to teach. However, in general, you will need to have a minimum level of C1 German language proficiency as assessed by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Is it possible to work in Germany as a teacher without recognition?

In general, it is not possible to work as a teacher in Germany without recognition of your foreign teaching qualification. This is because teaching is a regulated profession in Germany, and all teachers are required to have a recognized qualification.

However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. For example, you may be able to work as a teacher at a private school that does not require its teachers to have a recognized qualification. However, you will still need to have a high level of German language proficiency, and you may not be able to teach all subjects.

Additionally, you may also be able to work as a substitute teacher in some regions in Germany without the recognition. For instance, in Berlin you may be able to work in schools as cover for a teacher. In most cases this is only possible if another teacher is absent at a school. This means, there is a staff shortage at school. In this case, you must have studied the relevant teaching subject.

Where to find teacher job openings in Germany

Like any other job, teaching positions are also listed on most German job portals. However, since it is a regulated profession, most of the job openings are listed on the official portal The German Federal Employment Agency (Bundesagentur für Arbeit). Other job boards also list many job openings.

Teacher’s salary in Germany

The amount a teacher earns in Germany can change based on a few things. Like what kind of school they teach at, the level they teach, the subject, the federal state they work in, etc. can affect the salary. As per, a new teacher in Germany might make around €30,000 every year. But as they get more experience, this amount can go up to about €55,000 yearly for teachers who've been working for a while. As per, the average high school teacher salary is around €45000 per year.

However, how much teachers get paid can differ a lot between the different states in Germany. Some states pay more than others. For example, a high school teacher in Bavaria might earn €50,256 each year, while a high school teacher in Berlin might earn €44,985 annually. On top of their salary, teachers at state schools also get other benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and extra pay for holidays.

What are the challenges for expats to become a teacher in Germany?

Teaching in Germany can be really fulfilling for foreigners, bringing a lot of satisfaction. But for international teachers, there can also be some tough parts to navigate along the way.

Language proficiency: Fluency in German is essential for teaching in German schools. While some schools may accept applications from teachers with intermediate German skills, fluency is generally required to effectively communicate with students, parents, and colleagues.

Cultural adaptation: Germany has a rich cultural heritage and its own set of customs and traditions. International teachers will need to adapt to this new environment and learn to navigate the social norms. This can be challenging, especially for those who are not familiar with German culture.

Bureaucratic procedures: The German education system is highly regulated, and the process of becoming a teacher can be quite complex. International teachers will need to navigate a number of bureaucratic procedures, including the Anerkennungsverfahren that we talked about ago.

Job search: Finding a teaching job in Germany can be competitive, especially for those who do not speak German fluently. International teachers will need to network with other teachers, attend job fairs, and submit applications to a variety of schools.

Salary and benefits: While salaries for teachers in Germany are generally competitive, the cost of living can also be high. International teachers will need to factor in these costs when deciding whether to teach in Germany.

Professional development: The German education system encourages teachers to participate in ongoing professional development activities. International teachers will need to stay up-to-date on the latest pedagogical trends in order to be successful in their careers.


Teaching in Germany as a foreigner has its rewards and challenges. It involves overcoming language barriers, adjusting to a new culture, navigating bureaucracy, and competing for jobs. Balancing living costs with good salaries and focusing on professional growth is crucial. Despite the hurdles, teaching in Germany offers fulfilling opportunities for personal development and contributing to its diverse education system.

Frequently asked questions

Are there specific language requirements for foreign teachers in Germany?

Yes, proficiency in German is essential for teaching in German schools. Foreign teachers usually need to provide proof of language proficiency through recognized language tests like TestDaF or DSH.

What is the salary range for teachers in Germany?

How does the recognition process impact foreign teachers' employment opportunities in Germany?

Are there specific pathways or programs for foreign teachers to become certified in Germany?

What are the different types of schools in Germany where teachers can work?

Are there opportunities for professional development or advancement for teachers in Germany?

Where can foreign teachers find more information about teaching in Germany and the recognition process?

how to find a job in Germany

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