In comparison with other countries, Germany has a highly effective healthcare system. The use of the latest treatments and modern medical instruments provides a high level of care. A dense network of hospitals and local doctors ensure that patients swiftly receive the necessary medical services. Advancing digitalisation in the healthcare sector continues to open new opportunities for medical care. This allows data to be made available rapidly via electronic patient files, or for access to be granted to digital healthcare applications and telemedicine. The healthcare sector in Germany is thus marked by a high level of innovation and is a dynamic economic sector. With over 5.7 million employees, the healthcare branch in Germany is also an important driver for employment, and the number of employees has been rising constantly for years. Over 400,000 doctors work to ensure that patients are well cared for.
A new generation of medical personnel is urgently required in Germany. Demand will continue to grow in the coming years – and in addition, many doctors in hospitals will be retiring. In the field of local doctors, general practitioners are in high demand, as are family doctors. Particularly in eastern Germany and in rural areas, many doctors are unable to find a successor to take over their practice.
At the same time, the number of international doctors working in Germany has more than doubled in the last ten years. In 2019 alone, 9,309 foreign doctors applied to have their qualification gained abroad recognised as equivalent to a German qualification. This means that doctors were second only to nursing staff in terms of the number of applications.
As a doctor in Germany, there are a wide range of career opportunities available to you. For example, you can work in hospitals, clinics, healthcare centres, geriatric care services or home care services. Here, your work is usually as an employee. You can also work in your own medical facility as a local doctor. Additionally, there are other professional fields such as in medical research and teaching, in public health departments, health insurances or in the private sector, e.g. as a scientist in medical technology or the pharmaceutical industry. Overall, doctors in Germany are paid the highest salaries of all academic fields.
foreign doctors are working in Germany (2020).
of the foreign doctors working in Germany come from countries outside the European Union.
If you completed your training as a doctor abroad, you will require an official licence, the so-called Approbation, in order to practise your profession and start working in Germany. Without this licence, you may not treat patients as a doctor in Germany. The Approbation is an official licence to practise medicine with an unrestricted professional permit. In order to obtain this licence, your training must have been recognised as equivalent to the German training programme for doctors.
The authority responsible for access to the profession is the medical licensing authority in the relevant state. You can find a list of the authorities responsible for granting licences to practise medicine here. When applying for a licence to practise medicine and a professional permit, proof of your physical fitness, personal suitability and your German language knowledge are usually required. The requirements for language skills depend on the state and can be found here.
Do you have an additional medical qualification or specialisation as a consultant obtained abroad? You can also apply for this specialisation to be recognised. This application can only be made if you already have been granted a licence to practise medicine.
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 and the EU Blue Card in the Visa section.
Tip: 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.
✔ Your career prospects: With our Quick-Check, you can find out about the opportunities available to you for working and living in Germany.
✔ Begin the recognition process: In our Recognition section, you can find out all about the recognition of international qualifications.
For doctors from Mexico and Jordan who already have German language skills at B2 level, there is currently a programme called "Specialised! – recruitment, qualification and integration of foreign medical doctors". Find out more about this programme on the website of the Federal Employment Agency.
Federal Ministry of Health
The German Medical Association