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How to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany?

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

There is a great love for animals among Germans. There is at least one pet in every two homes in Germany, according to the statistics from 2016.

A survey conducted by the Market Research Institute GfK in 2016 reveals that there is at least one pet in every two homes in Germany. The most favorite pets are cats and dogs. Birds, fish, hamsters, and dwarf rabbits are also popular pets to Germans.

How to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany?

There are two options to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany.

  • Study Veterinary medicine in Germany

  • Migrate to Germany as a Veterinary surgeon with a degree earned abroad

Study Veterinary medicine in Germany

Veterinary medicine is one of the most popular degree courses among German students. It is therefore difficult to find a seat in a university, just like it is for medicine. Due to its popularity, Germany has very strict admission requirements for this subject. Therefore, applicants are required to have high grades in order to qualify. Like many other degrees, Veterinary medicine seats are allocated by the Foundation for University Admissions (Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung).

If you are planning to study Veterinary medicine in Germany, it is recommended to check whether you get a scholarship. Although German universities don't charge tuition fees, there are other expenses such as flight tickets, accommodation, food, etc. If you are able to obtain a scholarship, you will be able to reduce your stress and be greatly aided.

Veterinary medicine Course structure and practice

The veterinary medicine degree takes about six years in Germany. During this phase, students gain both theoretical as well as practical experiences. As part of the program, students are required to complete work placement weeks in food quality and control, the slaughterhouse industry, and public veterinary services. Veterinary medicine students complete their degree with the state examination after completing a work placement year.

Many graduates open their own practices after completing the course. Another fact is, the majority of the vets in Germany practice independently and are self-employed. Other people work in medical practices and clinics, in health monitoring, as pharmaceutical industry consultants or as managers and monitors of the cattle trade.

Migrate to Germany as an experienced Veterinary surgeon

If you have acquired a professional qualification as a veterinary surgeon abroad, you need an official, state-issued accreditation called "approbation" to work in Germany. The approbation is nothing but an unrestricted occupational license and valid across the country.

The approbation can be acquired by recognizing your foreign degree in Germany. During the recognition process, the competition authority will compare your degree with a corresponding German degree and certify that your degree is fully or partially recognized in Germany.

To practice as a veterinarian in Germany or to open your own practice, the approbation is a mandatory factor.

If you have additional veterinary job specialization and a qualification as veterinary specialist, you can also apply for recognition of those specialized professional titles in Germany. However, you need to apply for the approbation for a veterinary surgeon before you can apply for the recognition of your specialized title.

What do Veterinary surgeons get to do in Germany?

Among other activities related to animal husbandry, the veterinarians perform a wide range of tasks, but primarily examine animals, record findings, diagnose illnesses, specify therapeutic measures, and carry out treatments and interventions.

Veterinary surgeons get to work in veterinary practices and clinics, do research and teaching in the institutions, etc. Veterinarians also work for the government veterinary authorities, health authorities and veterinary chambers as well as in pharmaceutical Research.

Veterinary degree recognition in Germany

Many professions require recognition in Germany. It is not possible to work in these professions without having your degree recognized in Germany. Recognition is a procedure to make sure that the degree you possess abroad is equivalent to a German degree. There is a competent authority for every recognition procedure based on which state in Germany you wish to work in.

If your degree is not from any of the EU member states, or from Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, you are not permitted to work in Germany as a veterinarian without recognition.

How to start the recognition procedure in Germany?

To start with, you can get free counseling about the procedure from a ProRecognition agency.

If you are from Algeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, India, Iran, Italy, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Serbia, and Vietnam, you have the opportunity to get counseling in your home country for free.

Alternatively, you can contact the “Working and Living in Germany” hotline run by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the Federal Employment Agency offers telephone guidance. You can reach the hotline Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (Central European Time).

During the counseling, the agencies try to clarify your questions like whether you’ve selected the correct reference profession, the details about the recognition procedure, documents and forms to be submitted, etc

Prior to applying for recognition, it is recommended that you seek counseling first. By doing so, any mistakes in the application can be avoided as well as delays in the processing.

Recognition procedure for Veterinary degree 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. Please note that this specific documentation is only for the candidates seeking to work in Munich. You can go to the Your place of work section and choose the city you wish to work in. This is because the recognition procedure is different in different states.

How to move to Germany as a Veterinary surgeon?

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. Alternatively, you can also check LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or Indeed for openings as well as the websites of hospitals and other organizations. Vets can also work in zoos, agriculture, pharmacy, research and veterinary authorities.

In Germany, most veterinarians practice privately or run a combined practice with other vets.

However, to practice individually or start a clinic with other vets, you need to have a self employment visa. Checkout this detailed article from make-it-in-germany for the requirements and process for a German self employment visa.

Do I need to know German to become a Veterinary surgeon in Germany?

To get the license to practise / work in Germany, you need sufficient German language skills. Having a good understanding of German medical terms is essential. It is usually necessary to have at least a B2 level of German. Additionally, you may need to take an exam to prove your knowledge of medical terminology. However, precise regulations are defined by the corresponding states which conduct the examination.

Temporary permission to work as a veterinarian in germany

It is possible to apply for a temporary work permit if you plan to work for only a short period of time. However, you will be restricted to work in a specific location, for a specific period and in a particular field of work.

The temporary permission can only be extended in rare cases.

Permission will only be granted if you can prove you have completed a veterinary degree. It is important to note, however, that your foreign professional qualification is not recognized as part of your permission to work.

On your way to Germany

You can find all the information you need about living and working in Germany at

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