Can Foreign Doctors Work in Germany?

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For a doctor planning to work abroad, you are most likely wondering whether Germany is an option.

It is one of your choices because foreign doctors can work in Germany as long as they meet the laid down requirements.

Besides, the workforce in this country working in the health sector is small compared to the population that needs the services.

Equally important, most of these doctors work part-time, further explaining the substantial shortage of doctors in the country.

The number of elderly is also increasing, thus increasing the demand for medical care.

That and the high number of retiring medical practitioners have led to an increased demand for foreign doctors in Germany.

If you want to work as a doctor in Germany, this piece is a must-read.

Do You Need a License to Practice as a Foreign Doctor in Germany?

You need a medical licence to practice in Germany as a foreign doctor.

The license, popularly known as Approbation, is also a requirement if you want to use the doctor’s professional title within its boundaries.

If you need one, you must apply so as to practice medicine at district governments or responsible states.

However, an application isn’t enough since the educational content of German medical practitioners differs from that of other countries.

It explains the need for an equivalency review or equivalence test among foreign doctors before getting a license to practice in Germany.

There are also other requirements you need to meet to get it.

What Are the Requirements for Getting Approbation?

Regardless of your country of origin, you need to meet the following requirements for the medical license.

  • Graduate from medical studies from Switzerland or either an EU or the EEA country
  • Alternatively, you may have graduated from any other country, but your medical studies must be equivalent to Germany’s qualifications.
  • The third option is passing the Kenntnisprufung examination in Germany, which examines your professional knowledge.
  • Besides the educational background, your German language skills should be at the B2 or even C1 level, depending on the federal state.
  • Your physical capability shouldn’t hinder you from carrying out the necessary professional duties.
  • Lastly, you need to be credible and reliable.
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However, this procedure also depends on your nationality, as illustrated below;

Requirements for Medical License in Germany for EU Countries’ Citizens

If you are a citizen of an EU country, it is automatic you have a German residence and work permit.

You won’t also have an issue getting an approval upon applying for the Approbation.

As long as you meet the above requirements, that’s enough.

Requirements for Medical License in Germany for Non-EU Countries’ Citizens

As mentioned earlier, foreign doctors from EU member states, EEA countries or Switzerland get the Approbation quickly.

However, it is not that easy for the rest.

For instance, foreign doctors will need a sure job offer before they apply for a license.

As you apply for the medical license, you will also need these documents;

  • Proof of identity, which can be an identity card or passport
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Marriage certificate if your name changed after the marriage
  • Professional or diploma certificates
  • Transcripts of records or diploma supplements to show the duration and content of the undertaken education
  • Poof that you are a recognized doctor in your country of origin
  • Employment references

Sometimes, you don’t have a concrete job offer and hence can’t get the medical license.

It is also typical for the approval period to extend for a longer time if your medical diploma was issued in a non-EU country.

Under such circumstances, you might consider a temporary medical license called Berufserlaubins.

It allows you to practice medicine in Germany while waiting for the approbation process to end.

What Are the Differences Between Approbation and Berufserlaubnis?

The differences between these two medical licenses include the following;

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An approbation’s validity is indefinite, whereas a Berufserlaubnis is only valid for 2 years.

With an approbation, you can work anywhere in Germany, but the Berufserlaubnis allows you to work in a particular federal state.

An approbation doesn’t come with any condition, but a Berufserlaubnis may require you to stick to a certain place of activity.

If you have an approbation, you can work independently, but a Berufserlaubnis require you to work under a licensed physician’s supervision.

What is the Average Salary for a Foreign Doctor Working in Germany?

One of the reasons foreign doctors want to work in Germany is thanks to the high salaries regardless of the position they hold.

Different doctors receive varying salaries, which depend on various factors, including the area of specialization and the professional experience.

An assistant doctor working in Germany can pocket an annual gross salary of up to 65000 euros.

On the other hand, specialists get up to 80000 euros a year as their gross salaries.

Promotions are also common as your experience increases, which also means making more money.

If you reach the rank of chief physician, the average salary of such post holders is as high as 278000 euros annually.

Remember that the high salary also comes with responsibilities, and the workload of the German healthcare system is also relatively huge.

What Are the Language Requirements for a Foreign Doctor to Work in Germany?

As a doctor, you need to communicate with your patients well regarding their diagnoses and prescriptions.

Besides being comprehensive, the communication should also be sensitive to the patient’s feelings.

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Therefore, you need to be quite good in the German language and have the right communication skills to relay such information.

Therefore, the B2-level general German is the minimum language requirement for a foreign doctor working in Germany.

However, some of its federal states also require a C1-level medical German.

You can’t afford to generalize this requirement, though, since various federal states have different regulations regarding this matter.

Before getting your Approbation, passing the Fachspranprufung test is also often a requirement.

It tests how well your German medical knowledge is, including both written and oral skills.

Which is the Best Visa for a Foreign Doctor Who Wants to Work in Germany?

Unlike foreign doctors from EEA and EU countries, the rest need a visa to enter Germany.

If you are yet to get a job offer, consider the Job seeker visa.

However, foreign doctors with employment contracts should consider the EU Blue Card.

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