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Clinical nurse

Get trained as a nurse: basic medical knowledge and carefully dealing with persons in need of nursing care are the vocational training’s main focus.

Are you communicative and do you like working with people? Are you also interested in medicine and organisation and you are reliable and conscientious? Then training to become a clinical nurse specialist could be just right for you. Here you will work in the care of people of all ages in various areas, e.g. in hospitals, nursing homes and outpatient care services. Possible areas of work include geriatric nursing and occupational health and paediatric nursing.

Vocational training content

This vocational training offers three options. Either vocational nursing training for all ages (clinical nurse specialist) or long-term care (geriatric nurse) or paediatrics (occupational health and paediatric nurse).

In the first two years of vocational training, general nursing training is provided in all three cases. This includes teaching about the healthy and ill human being, as well as preventive and curative measures. Knowledge of the use of digital administration software, e.g. in nursing documentation, as well as the use of medical technology innovations round off the vocational training. 
Before starting your 3rd year of vocational training, you will have the option to choose your specialisation for the last third of your programme: either geriatric nursing or occupational health care and paediatric nursing or continuing the generalist nursing training and earning the clinical nurse specialist degree. 
Good to know: the generalised, state training qualification of clinical nurse specialists is recognised throughout the EU.

Special requirements 

  • School requirements: You will need a certificate of intermediate education. 
  • Sufficient knowledge of German: Depending on the federal state, you need German language skills at level B1 or B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
  • Physical aptitude: With a certificate from a German doctor, you must prove that you are physically and mentally healthy and therefore suitable for the profession.
  • Reliability: In order to prove your trustworthiness, you will need proof of your criminal record. Depending on the situation, you may need to provide this through a certificate of good conduct from your home country or through a German police clearance certificate.

Learning environment

The practical part of the vocational training takes place in a hospital, nursing home or outpatient nursing service and is more extensive than the theoretical part, which takes place in a nursing school. In addition, practical training is provided in specialised institutions, i.e. in a children's hospital, in a psychiatric hospital, in counselling centres or hospices. Full-time vocational training ends after three years (part-time after five years) with a state examination.

Remuneration corresponding to years of vocational training

1st year     €1,341
2nd year    €1,402
3rd year     €1,503

Remuneration (TVAöD): gross salary before tax and deductions for social security contributions; source: Federal Employment Agency (BA), as of May 2024.


  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Outpatient nursing services
  • Residential homes for people with disabilities
  • Counselling centres and hospices

Prospects after vocational training

  • Clinical nurse specialists take on tasks reserved solely for them, i.e. they assess individual nursing needs, organise nursing processes, carry out nursing and medical measures and are responsible for quality assurance of nursing care. 
  • Further education is necessary to keep up to date, e.g. in the field of hygiene, in nursing or in the implementation of various measures connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Promotional education to become a “specialist nurse” in a wide range of areas, such as intensive care, surgery or geriatric psychiatry. In addition, further education is possible in the areas of case management, managerial posts or as a practical instructor in care. 
  • Bachelor's degree programmes in the areas of nursing with various specialisations, such as nursing science, vocational education for nursing and health care professions, health and nursing management. Moreover, there are also in-service degree programmes, particularly in advanced clinical nursing. These include emergency nursing, neurological nursing and oncology nursing.   
  • The path to self-employment, e.g. with an outpatient nursing and social service.

Further information on this profession:

Federal Employment Agency 

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)

Further information on the web:

  1. Vocational training – Practically unbeatable! Useful links on vocational training
  2. Federal Office for Family and Civil Society Tasks (BAFzA) The new nursing training courses
  3. Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) Make a career as a human being

Do you have any questions?

Let us advise you on your opportunities to work and live in Germany. Our experts will support you with questions regarding job search, visa, recognition and learning German. 

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