Successfully Getting Your Approbation In Germany: An Extensive Guide 2021-2022

A medical graduate looking at the University he studied at with a German flag on the right side and a medical symbol on the left side

Written by Itay Shahar

Dr. Shahar is a medical resident doctor in Germany, and Co-Founder of Doctoringermany.com (DiG), with the aim of helping foreign doctors successfully build a medical career in Germany the right way.

December 4, 2021

The process of becoming a doctor in Germany differs from other countries in many ways. This guide will go over all you need to know about getting your German medical license or Approbation in Germany. 

Getting an Approbation in Germany is a long and often costly process. As one of the best places for medical training in Europe, it’s no wonder that many young physicians are lured by high salaries and comfortable lifestyles. 

But what does this mean for you? What exactly is an ‘Approbation’, how do you get it, and what can you expect? That’s exactly what you’ll learn in this article.

What is an Approbation?

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Within the approval procedure of German Approbation, it will be determined whether or not the qualification gained outside of Germany is comparable to German standards.

Providing that the foreign university degree is equivalent to the German university degree, the license to practice the medical profession in Germany can be granted after a thorough examination of the relevant documents and after passing language exams. However, if the foreign qualification demonstrates deficiencies compared to the German standard, an individual knowledge test (the so-called ‘Kenntnispruefung’) must be taken and passed.

One can practice in any of the country’s federal states as a doctor in a clinic/hospital or a private practice. When granted, the German medical license is valid for an indefinite amount of time.

What is a Berufserlaubnis?

The ‘Berufserlaubnis’ is basically a temporary work permit to practice medicine in the relevant German state. In contrast to the Approbation, the Berufserlaubnis is only valid for a limited period of time after being awarded. It’ll only be issued in the case of employment as hired doctors and for a specific position and location. When working under a Berufserlaubnis permit, the doctor must be closely observed in the clinical setting by a specialized German physician.

A Berufserlaubnis is normally issued by the relevant authorities quicker than an Approbation. The renewal of a valid Berufserlaubnis that has expired is only possible in rare circumstances.

How Can You Get a German Medical Licensure from the State Chambers of Physicians

Obtaining a German medical license certainly doesn’t come overnight. There’s a process that needs to be endured, and plenty of German bureaucracy to deal with. 

There are several ways to begin your path to obtaining an Approbation in Germany.

You could start by one of two ways:

  • Applying to study medicine in Germany
  • Studying and completing medical school outside of Germany.

Where Can you Study Medicine in Germany?

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In Germany, there are around 35 public medical colleges, with over 80,000 medical students enrolled. In contrast to countries such as the United States, the majority of schools provide programs that are equally valued.

The following are the German universities where you can study and get a medical degree in:

Universität Heidelberg 

The most challenging school to get into is the “Harvard of German Medical Schools.” It has a strong worldwide reputation, and the town itself has a vibrant student culture. It is Germany’s oldest university, having been established in 1386.

Charité Universitätsmedizin 

This is Berlin’s oldest and most prestigious hospital and one of Europe’s most reputable medical schools. Charité is among the country’s most research-intensive medical institutes. Exceptional German language abilities are necessary in order to be able to read and study the required material and communicate with patients during the clinical years. 

Universität Witten/Herdecke 

This establishment is one of the oldest private universities in the country, and it has a well-deserved reputation for excellence. To get admitted to this university, applicants must pass a strict entrance examination.

Universitätsklinikum Tübingen 

The medical department from one of the world’s oldest classical institutions is internationally famous and has been associated with multiple Nobel Laureates in medicine.

Tuition and Fees in Germany

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Tuition and fees in Germany are relatively inexpensive for most international students. There are no tuition fees for doctorate study at public institutions in Germany, but you’ll be required to provide documentation of your ability to support yourself in order to get a student visa.

The cost of living varies drastically from one region of the country to the next. 

The cost of studying medicine in Germany is usually the same as it is for most other programs offered at German public institutions. This is true for both overseas students and German students. One of the few expenses they have to bear is the semester contribution, which is paid twice a year and averages to 200-400 € per semester, depending on the university. This minor contribution provides students with several benefits in their daily lives in the country.

Medical School Training and Testing

Once approved, medical training includes both preclinical research and hands-on experience in the field. According to the Medical professional Licensing Regulations, several requirements must be met in order to begin medical training in Germany, which includes:

Postgraduate medical studies at a university or comparable academic institution for a minimum of 6 years.

Receiving the Approbation in Germany

Students receive their medical license and the authority to start medical training after passing all of the required exams. The license is permanent and is valid across the entire country, and may only be canceled for disciplinary reasons or for failure to comply with the terms of the license.

For the most part, doctors proceed on to complete their thesis or dissertation and receive the status of “Dr. med.” The dissertation of some forward-thinking students is completed in the third or fourth year, allowing them to hold the title and boost their employment chances as soon as they have completed the final exam.

Steps to Becoming a Medical Doctor in Germany

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There are some steps that you need to take to become a medical doctor in Germany, and they are as follows:

Medical License Language Requirements

Although German is not a difficult language to learn, achieving a certain level of skills that is acceptable in medical settings may require some additional time. It will be necessary for anyone who wishes to get their German Approbation to present proof of at least a B2 level of German, if not more. In addition, several jurisdictions require applicants to have German medical proficiency of C1 level.

Obtaining your certificate for a B2 German language level, which can be obtained in your own country, can be achieved in Germany and in most countries around the world. The duration it takes is determined by whether or not you have prior knowledge of the German language. If you’re beginning from the ground up, it can take up to a whole year or longer, although it can occasionally be completed quicker based on your passion and determination.

Pass the Kenntnispruefung (when necessary)

If the applicant holds an international medical degree from outside of the European Economic Area/European Union, another test known as the medical knowledge exam (‘Kenntnispruefung) may be demanded by the relevant authorities (state chambers of physicians, etc.) in order to get the Approbation and practice medicine in Germany.

In order to get the recognition of his or her foreign medical diploma, the applicant in issue will be required to take a medical knowledge exam to demonstrate that his or her medical studies and current medical knowledge are equivalent to that of German universities. Upon passing this examination, the applicant will be eligible to submit an application for the medical license, provided that all of the other prerequisites have been completed.

Get the Approbation (Medical License in Germany)

The “Approbation” is the term used to refer to a medical license that the German government issues. This license allows medical practitioners to practice medicine all over the country. 

Get a Work Visa

European Union nationals can freely work as medical professionals in Germany. For non-EU nationals, the road is a little different and requires obtaining a work visa. This work visa is called the EU Blue Card that was created in order to recruit highly educated people to the European Union.

Qualification for the EU Blue Card is contingent on having a work offer with a salary that meets the salary requirements for the visa, which stands at 56,800 Euros (year 2021)  in general and 44,304 Euros (year 2021) for medical professionals. 

Find a Job as a Doctor (Resident or Specialist)

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As a german physician, you will be in great demand, and finding work should not be too challenging if you have the required qualifications. There is a huge shortage of medical professionals in Germany, so much that just about every hospital in the country has a long list of open positions for doctors in various specialties. 

Make sure to prepare well for your job interviews, as leaving a good first impression can go a long way to locking the position. Doing some quick prep-work can be essential, and many regret not doing so after their interviews are over.

*Don’t get stressed, we will have additional articles discussing just this topic very soon. You’ll learn all you need to know about preparing for job interviews as a medical doctor in the country. There’s plenty to know and implement in your preparations!

Conclusion 

The Approbation is the medical license provided by the German state chamber of physicians, which allows doctors to practice their profession legally. It is available across Germany and is valid for a lifetime. Any credentials obtained outside of Germany must be first considered equivalent to German qualifications.

To sum things up, in order to get your Approbation in Germany, you need to:

  • Finish your medical studies
  • Have a B2 level of German and C1 level of Medical German
  • Meet the education and experience requirements (for non-EU graduates: prove equivalency or pass a medical knowledge exam)

WE CAN HELP YOU START YOUR MEDICAL CAREER IN GERMANY

Need help with becoming a medical doctor in Germany? First of all – subscribe to our YouTube channel Doctor In Germany, we will be uploading valuable content on a regular basis to help future and current doctors in Germany maximize their potential. Secondly, if you’d like us to go over your particular situation with you and find your best route for becoming a medical doctor in Germany, and of course answer any of your questions, you can book a one-on-one private counseling session. We would love to assist you!

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