Germany is among the most popular non-English speaking countries to study medicine and build a career as a professional doctor. Germany has at least 4.5 doctors for every 1,000 patients. The number of active doctors in the country continues to rise, hitting a total of 401,900 employed doctors in 2020.
In 2020, the number of foreign doctors working in Germany also increased. Of the 57,000 employed foreign doctors, over 32,000 were non-EU nationals. Doctors easily became Germany’s occupation with the second-highest number of applications. While there is no looming fear of shortage, the uneven distribution of medical professionals across the region and practices affects the productivity and advancement of medical specialty practice.
For instance, family doctors based in Germany have trouble finding a successor. Over half of the country’s family doctors were aged 55. However, this is also a great opportunity for you to explore your chances in practicing medicine in Germany, especially in the rural areas. This article provides you with a step-by-step process of becoming a doctor in Germany.
How to Become a Doctor in Germany
1. Accomplish your high school degree.
Formal education for medicine in Germany is not identified as either undergraduate or graduate level. Instead, medical programs are delivered for 8 years until graduation and your qualification to enter the workforce.
That being said, you must set your goals in studying medicine while still in high school. To become a doctor in Germany, you will need to present a transcript with a significant number of science-based subjects for higher chances of admissions.
If you are a non-EU international student, you will have to commit one year of studying in Studienkolleg. The Studienkolleg is a public institution providing preparatory courses for international students. This will help you in your transition to a non-Anglophone country, especially your German language communication skills.
2. Learn German.
Before choosing to study and practice medicine in Germany, you as an international student must first know that Germany teaches medicine in German. Dedicate time to learning the language before you move to Germany. Make the most of your time in the Studienkolleg and aim to improve your German speaking skills past the beginner level.
3. Take the TestAS.
The next step to becoming a doctor in Germany for international students is to take the TestAS. The TestAS is used by some universities as a standardized method for assessing the student’s aptitude in different subject areas. With the TestAS, universities can filter the students’ compatibility with their chosen degree.
4. Apply for the medical school of your choice.
To join in the competitive environment of studying medicine, contact the administrative office of the university you wish to apply for. Take note of the requirements and deadlines.
When you receive your qualification notice from the university, proceed to apply to Stiftung für Hochschulzulassung, or the Foundation for University Admissions. Register on the website and turn in your application. Monitor every now and then for any updates, important dates, and so on.
On the other hand, non-EU students follow a different application process. International students have to communicate with the university registrar and determine whether the university is a member of uni-assist. uni-assist is the contact point for international students, with around 170 universities as members.
5. Accomplish your study program in medicine.
Having qualified and been admitted into a reputable medical school, you can finally start your studies in medicine. In becoming a doctor in Germany, medical programs generally take over 6 years to complete.
Much like the medical programs in other EU countries, studying medicine in Germany is subdivided into pre-clinical, clinical, practical phases of the study. Each phase spans at least 2 years.
6. Pass the State Examination and earn your license.
Upon completion of your practical clerkship, you are one step closer to the State Examination. The State Examination is a crucial step to becoming a doctor in Germany. It will also conclude your final year in medical school. By qualifying in this exam, you are eligible for earning your License to Practice Medicine, or Approbation. This is a lifelong certification that you are knowledgeable and skilled as a doctor starting to join the ranks.
Internationally trained doctors who wish to practice medicine in Germany are also required to obtain a license. To do so, it will take around 2 years to get licensed due to the additional assessments.
Internationally trained doctors can also opt to apply for Berufserlaubnis. The Berufserlaubnis is a temporary medical license that doctors can use to set up temporary practice.
7. Secure a job in the healthcare system of Germany.
As a fully-qualified doctor, you can now work and attend to patients. As mentioned before, several practices are less populated than others in Germany. You may want to consider specializing in family medicine or occupational medicine. As a doctor, you have diverse career opportunities to choose from.
Non-EU doctors aiming to work in Germany will have to process for permanent residence within the country. To do so, they can either secure a work permit, though the process for filing permanent residence may be more complicated. Another option is to file for a Blue Card. You must at least have a job paying €43,056 and a medical degree recognized by Germany.
As a non-Anglophone country, choosing to study in Germany has its own complexities outside of the education system. However, unlike most countries’ medical programs, Germany has a more simplified route to becoming a doctor. Internationally trained doctors have more assessments to qualify, and international students have to familiarize themselves with the language first and foremost. These are just some of the more complicated steps to fulfill the dream of becoming a doctor, but it is all worth it in the end.
What makes studying medicine in Germany especially attractive is the little to no tuition costs. Out of the 43 medical universities, only four are private. Germany is among the most technologically advanced countries. By studying in Germany, you are certain to work with some of the top-of-the-line equipment and facilities meant to nurture your skills and knowledge as a medical doctor.
I hope that you found this article on how to become a doctor in Germany informative and helpful. Head on over to our Germany Scholarships Page for more details about studying in Germany – from the different universities to the numerous scholarship opportunities!