Recognition of Professional Qualifications
If you obtained your professional qualifications in a foreign country, you may have the equivalence of your qualifications to those of German professions or degrees assessed. This is required to practise certain professions in Germany, but depends on the profession.
Regulated professions require recognition of your professional qualifications for you to practise your profession or use a professional title. Without recognition, you may not practise such professions in Germany using qualifications that you obtained in a foreign country. Regulated professions in Germany include, for example, doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, pre-school teachers and engineers. A list of regulated professions is provided on the top right of the download area. In addition, you may use the database of the European Commission to check whether your profession is regulated.
Unregulated professions do not require recognition of your professional qualifications. You may apply for jobs directly on the job market and may work in these professions. However, an assessment of your professional qualifications may help employers and companies to understand your foreign qualifications. In addition, once your professional qualifications have been recognised as being of an equivalent level to German ones, you will also be granted access to further training courses. In Germany, unregulated professions include all so-called training professions, i.e. professions for which training is done through the German dual system.
In addition to laws governing the respective professions, the legal framework for the recognition of professional qualifications is in particular established by the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act [Berufsqualifikationsfestsellungsgesetz, BQFG] which applies to all federally regulated professions in Germany. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the Professional Qualifications Assessment Act for the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia [Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgesetz NRW, BQFG NRW] applies to professions regulated under state law.
Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act Professional Qualifications Assessment Act for the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia [Berufsqualifikationsfeststellungsgesetz NRW, BQFG NRW]
Recognition of School-leaving Certificates and Academic Degrees
Foreign university degrees that do not lead to a regulated profession are not regulated by the German Professional Qualifications Assessment Act. Graduates of such degree programmes may apply for jobs directly on the German job market. However, to increase their professional opportunities in Germany, they have the option of having their degrees assessed by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).
For an assessment of university admissions qualifications, foreign nationals with foreign school-leaving qualifications should contact their German university of choice directly. The Zentrale Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle of the Düsseldorf District Government will assess the recognition of higher education entrance qualifications for:
- German nationals with foreign school-leaving qualifications who want to study or work in North Rhine-Westphalia
- Foreign nationals with foreign school-leaving qualifications who have their main place of residence in Germany in North Rhine-Westphalia or work in North Rhine-Westphalia and who request recognition of their higher education entrance qualifications for purposes other than studying at a university
Recognition of academic and examination achievements is usually assessed by the universities. For subjects with a numerus clausus, assessments are performed by the Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung. Use of academic titles is regulated by the German federal states. More information is provided by the Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur NRW.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, recognition of foreign vocational training or technical school certificates is assessed by the district governments. Responsibility for this will depend on the country in which the certificate was obtained. More information can be found on the website of the Düsseldorf District Government, for example.
In North Rhine-Westphalia, the equivalence of foreign school-leaving certificates to a German intermediate school-leaving certificate (Hauptschulabschluss and mittlere Reife) is centrally assessed by the Anerkennungsstelle für mittlere Bildungsabschlüsse of the Cologne District Government.
www.make-it-in-germany.com is the German government’s portal for qualified professionals from around the world. The portal, which can be browsed in a variety of different languages, offers information for those interested in moving to Germany – starting with preparations in the home country, to the actual move, to the first steps to be taken in Germany.
Central Service Agency for Professional Recognition
The Central Service Agency for Professional Recognition counsels skilled workers abroad and supports them in the recognition procedure.
Skilled workers from abroad should ideally initially seek information online at “Recognition in Germany”. For initial orientation guidance, please contact the hotline “Working and Living in Germany”. The hotline will refer those interested in recognition to the ZSBA for further in-depth counselling and for support with the recognition procedure:
+49 30 1815 - 1111