In demand: Experts with vocational qualifications

Experts with vocational qualifications © iStockphoto / dt03mbb

If you are a professional with vocational qualifications, you will not require a unversity degree to work in Germany. For EU citizens with vocational qualifications that are recognised in Germany, employment prospects are currently good. Since July 1, 2013, citizens from non-EU countries holding vocational qualifications have also been able to take up employment in Germany, if they meet the following criteria:

  • There is a shortage of qualified professionals in the profession you wish to pursue in Germany. For a whitelist of jobs with a shortage of qualified staff, click here (PDF, 245 KB).
  • You have received a binding job offer. A list of vacancies is available here.
  • Your qualification has been recognised as being equivalent to a German qualification. Further information on the recognition of vocational credentials is available here. You will have to apply to have your qualifications recognised while you’re still in your home country.

Shortage of caregivers in Germany

Due to the increasing number of elderly people, the need for caregivers in Germany is also increasing. It is predicted that there will be a shortage of up to 152,000 caregivers in 2025. But hospitals and nursing homes are already complaining of personnel shortages today. There is a particular demand for geriatric, health and nursing professions. For every qualified geriatric nurse, for example, there are three positions currently needing to be filled. Germany currently offers a variety of employement opportunities for nursing professionals. Nursing personnel are needed not only in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and health centers, but also in home care services and doctor’s offices. Apart from basic nursing, nursing tasks in Germany also include such things as preparing patients for medical procedures or monitoring patient health. Nursing personnel in Germany also have access to numerous advanced training options, such as courses leading to a particular qualification or training as a business administrator.

Recognition of foreign vocational qualifications

Each country has its own specific system of vocational training. For this reason, there are often differences in the length of training and the qualifications thereby attained. In many cases, therefore, vocational qualifications acquired in a foreign country are not directly comparable with those awarded in Germany. Nevertheless, many German companies still prize the know-how, foreign-language skills, and professional networks of skilled employees from abroad. As of April 2012, people with foreign vocational qualifications are legally entitled to apply to the German authorities for verification that vocational training completed abroad corresponds to a German qualification. Further information on the procedure can be found at
Information for employers is available at (German).

The training system in Germany

Vocational training enjoys an excellent reputation in Germany. The country’s dual system of vocational training and education combines on-the-job training at a company with a parallel course of study at a vocational school. German companies customarily employ not only graduates but also large numbers of people with vocational qualifications. Many people who have come through the dual system go on to pursue further training in order to attain, for example, the German qualification of “Meister/in” (master craftsman) or “Techniker/in” (engineering technologist). Master craftsmen are qualified to head a team in their company of employment or to run their own business in their chosen vocation. Engineering technologists perform complex tasks in the fields of product development and production management, head production facilities, or work as lecturers at technical colleges.



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