Working in Germany: the official website
for qualified professionals

Skilled crafts and trades – tradition and innovation

What are skilled crafts and trades?

Skilled crafts and trades are the heart of the small and medium-sized busines sector and the economic engine in Germany. With their broad range of services and goods, they create high-quality products and bespoke solutions for problems, thanks to their proximity to customers. The skilled crafts and trades are directed not only towards private individuals but also towards industry, commerce and the state sector. Moreover, the skilled crafts and trades are an extremely varied sector and include the following areas:

  • Construction and development
  • Metal and electrical industry
  • Wood and plastics industry
  • Property cleaning trades
  • Artisanal food production
  • Healthcare and personal hygiene trades
  • Clothing, textile and leather trades
  • Graphic design trades

The German craft in figures

1 million

companies of the German “Mittelstand” are part of the skilled crafts and trades.

5.62 million

people were working in the skilled crafts and trades in 2020.

Start your career in a skilled craft or trade in Germany

Alongside a long tradition and a dual vocational training lasting 2 - 3.5 years, the skilled crafts and trades also encompass a high degree of innovation. This means they are future-proof and offer attractive promotion prospects, such as further training and professional self-employment as a master craftsman or master craftswoman. Qualified professionals are required in the following areas:

  • Plumbing: As a plumber, you will carry out a variety of preparatory tasks in the workshop relating to metal or plastic construction elements, which you will then later install in properties, for example on roofs or facades. This can be in newly constructed buildings or renovated buildings, for example in order to fulfil new environmental constraints in the fields of energy utilisation systems, water drainage and thermal insulation.
  • Installation mechanics for sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology: In this field, you will install water and air supply systems (sanitary facilities) in buildings, as well as heating systems, such as photovoltaic systems, heat pumps and wood-pellet heating systems. Alongside manual and mechanical processing of pipes, sheet metal and sections, you will be responsible for regular inspections of the functionality of the various systems after installation. You will also install smart home systems and device-specific software.
  • Building construction:
    • Concrete and steel construction worker: Alongside the production of concrete or reinforced concrete, you will fabricate the casings, before continuing to process the individual elements on building sites, for example to construct staircases, walls, bridges and dams.
    • In furnace and chimney construction, you will be high up in the world, with chimneys up to 300m tall. Alongside the production of fireproof structures, you will also install a variety of insulation materials, for example for protection against the cold or as thermal insulation. Your field of work also includes the installation of lightning protection systems.
    • As a mason, you will mainly be working outside on building sites, both independently and in a team of colleagues, site managers and architects. Alongside masonry work, your field of work also includes the planning and construction of these components.
  • As a floor layer, you will be part of projects from the beginning to the end, i.e. from customer consultations to preparation of the ground, laying of the floor itself and, if required, further surface finishing. You can obtain a master craftsman or master craftswoman qualification in the field of parquet laying.
  • Electrical engineers with a specialisation in energy technology: In this field, you will be involved from construction/planning via production/installation of the electronic systems up until the final handover and after-sales support. Vacant positions are mainly found in automation technology, energy provision, mechanical and plant engineering and vehicle construction.
  • Building cleaners: In this systemically relevant profession, you will work in office buildings or public buildings, such as administrative buildings, hospitals and swimming pools, as well as in public transport and parks. Strategic actions are required to select the appropriate tools and dosage of cleaning agents. 

Tip: Find out more about training and further education opportunities at the Skilled crafts and trades career portal!

The title of master craftsperson or tradesperson

If you have learnt a skilled craft or trade, you can also continue your education in Germany to become a master of the trade. The master craftsperson or master tradesperson title is an officially recognised advanced training qualification in Germany and is a mark of quality for managers. Particularly in crafts and trades subject to authorisation, a master’s title is often required for starting up a business. You can find out in the Trades and Crafts Code which professions are subject to authorisation.

The country’s trainers

The skilled crafts and trades not only contribute to society’s prosperity, but also to the training of qualified professionals. Over 27% of apprentices in Germany are employed in the skilled crafts and trades. However, many apprenticeship positions remain vacant. For this reason, new talent is urgently required. Find out more about internships, vocational training positions and vacant trainee positions in the skilled crafts and trades!

Do I need a visa?

As a citizen of the European Union, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway or Switzerland, you do not require a visa or a residence permit in order to work in Germany. Citizens of other countries on the other hand require a residence permit. You can find out more about the work visa for qualified professionals in the Visa section.

Tip: Under certain conditions, you can also enter Germany for 6 months after completing your professional training in order to search for a job. You can find out more at visa for jobseekers.

Do I need official recognition of my qualification?

In the so-called regulated professions, you will need recognition of your foreign professional qualifications in order to practise these professions in Germany. In the non-regulated professions, recognition of your foreign professional qualifications is not usually a requirement. However: if you come from a non-EU country and need a visa or residence permit for Germany, recognition is mandatory. For your professional qualification you must go through the recognition procedure. You can find out more about the recognition process in the “Recognition” section.

Have you applied for recognition of your professional qualification and the certification authority in Germany has determined that you require further qualifications for full recognition? Then you can find out whether the visa for the recognition of foreign qualifications is a possibility for you.

Next steps

✔ Your career prospects: With our Quick-Check, you can find out about the opportunities available to you for working and living in Germany.

✔ The German employment market: Find out more about jobhunting and get useful tips in our section “Looking for a job”.

✔ Apply now: Find a suitable position in our “Make it in Germany” Job listings and use our tips for a successful job application in Germany.

Information on the web

German Confederation of Skilled Crafts

German Chamber of Trades and Crafts

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