How to Become a Nurse in Germany 2023 

Nurses in Germany

Nursing is a highly respected profession in Germany, offering ample job opportunities and comprehensive social security benefits. If you’re an international or native nurse interested in starting a career in Germany, you found the right post. Here, we will provide you with all the essential information on how to become a nurse in Germany. 

In this article, we will guide you through the process and requirements, ensuring you have the courage and patience to make your dreams a reality.

Nursing Education in Germany

To work as a nurse in Germany, different regulations apply depending on whether you hold a non-EU/EEA certificate. For those with non-EU/EEA certificates, the qualification recognition process can be more challenging and time-consuming. It typically takes up to a year, during which time you may have the opportunity to work as a nursing assistant. Let’s explore the two main paths to becoming a nurse in Germany.

Nursing Apprenticeship

Nursing apprenticeships, also known as vocational training, offer a popular pathway to becoming a nurse in Germany. These programs provide a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical experience, allowing aspiring nurses to gain valuable skills in a structured setting.

Apprenticeships typically last three years and involve a combination of on-the-job training and classroom instruction. This hands-on approach provides valuable real-world experience and helps students develop the necessary skills to excel in their nursing careers.

Registered Nurses

Nurses who are registered in Germany hold the title of Gesundheits- and Krankenpfleger, which translates to health- and sickness carer. Previously, nurses in Germany were referred to as Krankenschwester (female) or Krankenpfleger (male). 

Regardless of the nursing education pathway you choose, it’s important to ensure that the program you select is accredited and recognized by the nursing authorities in Germany. Accreditation ensures that the program meets high standards of quality and prepares you for a successful nursing career.

Nursing Licensing and Registration Process

To practice as a nurse in Germany, you must obtain a nursing license and register with the appropriate nursing authorities. The licensing and registration process may vary depending on the state you wish to work in, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements of your desired state.

However, to obtain a nursing license, here is a general guideline you must meet/ follow:

Pass the state Examination

The state examination assesses both your theoretical knowledge and practical skills. It is designed to ensure that you have the necessary competencies to provide safe and effective nursing care. The state examination typically consists of a written examination and an oral/practical examination. 

The written examination tests your theoretical knowledge of nursing concepts, while the oral/practical examination assesses your ability to apply those concepts in real-life scenarios. It’s important to thoroughly prepare for the state examination by studying the nursing curriculum and practising your clinical skills.

Once you have successfully passed the state examination, you can apply for nursing registration. 

Apply for the nursing Registration

Nursing registration allows you to legally practice as a nurse in Germany. The registration process involves submitting an application form, providing proof of your nursing education and examination results, and paying the necessary fees.

The registration process may also require you to undergo a criminal background check and provide evidence of your language proficiency. It’s important to carefully follow the instructions provided by the nursing authorities and submit all required documents within the specified timeframe.

After your application is reviewed and approved, you will receive your nursing registration, which allows you to start practising as a nurse in Germany. It’s important to note that nursing registration needs to be renewed periodically, so it’s essential to stay updated with the renewal requirements and ensure that your registration remains valid.

Steps to Become a Nurse in Germany

Here are the basic steps you need to take to become a nurse in Germany. 

Step 1 – Research

The first step is to research and choose the right nursing program for you. Germany offers various nursing education pathways, including vocational training, apprenticeships, and university degrees.

To make an informed decision, explore the different options available and consider factors such as duration, curriculum, and potential career opportunities. It’s also essential to ensure that the program you choose is accredited and recognized by the relevant nursing authorities in Germany.

Step  2 – Gather the required Document

When applying to work as a nurse in Germany, it’s essential to gather the necessary documents. Each document plays a crucial role in the recognition process and in securing a job offer from a German employer.

Here is a checklist of the documents  needed for your registration:

  • Identification documents such as a passport or personal ID
  • Documents related to education, including diploma, bachelor’s certificate, and bachelor’s transcripts
  • A comprehensive CV or resume detailing your school education, training, and professional career
  • Supporting evidence from the school or training centre regarding the duration of your training
  • Documentation showcasing the theoretical and practical subjects studied, along with the hours dedicated to each academic subject
  • Proof of practical training completed in functional areas or departments, specifying the number of hours involved
  • Evidence outlining the type and extent of the final examination, covering oral, written, and practical components
  • Documentation demonstrating your activities in the relevant profession, such as job references
  • Proof of any additional training undertaken
  • “Certificate of Good Standing” or “Certificate of Current Professional Status”
  • If applicable, provide the marriage certificate or family register in case of a name change
  • Submit a criminal record check
  • Depending on individual circumstances, there may be additional documents required

Note that the specific documents needed may vary depending on the competent authority or state to which you are applying. 

Step 3 – Translation and Approval of Documents

To ensure the seamless recognition of your documents, it’s important to have them translated into German. Once translated, it’s recommended to seek approval from the German embassy to verify the correctness of the translated documents. This step helps maintain the accuracy and authenticity of your credentials during the recognition process

Step 4 – Commence your Registration Process

Once you have selected a nursing program, you will need to apply. The application process typically involves submitting your academic transcripts, a letter of motivation, and any other required documents as specified above. 

Step 5 – Recognition Process and Job Offer

After obtaining the necessary translations and approvals, you must send your documents to the competent authority for the recognition process. This process involves evaluating your qualifications and determining their equivalence in the German healthcare system.

The recognition process usually lasts between 1 to 4 months.  Once your qualifications are recognized, you may proceed to interview with German employers and secure a job offer.

Step 6 – Approval from the Federal Employment Agency

After receiving the response to your recognition (Bescheid), the next step involves obtaining a job contract from a German employer. There are two approaches to finding a nursing job position in Germany: either independently searching for a job offer or delegating this task to a job-finding agency. 

It is important to consider that the interviews are conducted in German, so candidates should have a near-fluent command of the language. It is worth noting that having a language certificate is not obligatory at this stage. 

Candidates can proceed with the interviews and secure a job offer while concurrently completing the remaining steps of the process, such as registering and obtaining the necessary language certificate, which will be required for obtaining the visa.

Step 7 – Visa Application and Travel Arrangements

Once you have a job offer and approval from the Federal Employment Agency, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with the German embassy to apply for your visa. The visa type will depend on your specific circumstances and the duration of your intended stay. After receiving your visa, you can proceed with booking your flight and arranging accommodation in Germany.

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Job Prospects and Salary Expectations for Nurses in Germany

Germany offers excellent job prospects for nurses, with a growing demand for healthcare professionals. The aging population, advancements in medical technology, and increasing healthcare needs contribute to a strong demand for qualified nurses in various healthcare settings.

Nurses in Germany have a wide range of employment opportunities. You can work in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centres, home healthcare, and other healthcare facilities. The diverse healthcare system in Germany allows you to choose a nursing specialization that aligns with your interests and career goals.

In terms of salary expectations, nurses in Germany are generally well-compensated. The salary of a nurse may vary depending on factors such as experience, qualifications, location, and the type of healthcare institution.

On average, the starting salary for a nurse in Germany is around €2,500 per month. With experience and further qualifications, nurses can expect their salaries to increase. Additionally, nurses may also receive additional benefits such as health insurance, pension contributions, and paid vacation.

It’s important to note that the cost of living can vary significantly depending on the region in Germany. Cities like Munich and Frankfurt may have a higher cost of living compared to smaller towns. It’s essential to consider the cost of housing, transportation, and other living expenses when evaluating salary expectations.

Challenges and Opportunities for Foreign-Trained Nurses

Foreign-trained nurses face unique challenges and opportunities when pursuing a nursing career in Germany. Some of the common challenges include language barriers, cultural differences, and the need to adapt to a new healthcare system. Some of these challenges are:

Language Barriers 

Language barriers can pose challenges in terms of effective communication with patients and colleagues. However, by investing time and effort in learning German and improving language skills, foreign-trained nurses can overcome this hurdle and enhance their professional growth.

Cultural Differences 

Cultural differences can also impact nursing practice. Each country has its healthcare practices and approaches to patient care. Foreign-trained nurses may need to familiarize themselves with the German healthcare system and adapt their nursing practice accordingly. 


To get a job in Germany, which exam do I have to pass? 

The specific exams required may vary depending on your qualifications and the recognition process. It’s important to consult the competent authority or nursing associations for accurate information tailored to your situation.


Is it possible for me to work as a nurse in Germany if I am over 40 years old? 

Age is not a barrier to pursuing a nursing career in Germany. As long as you meet the necessary qualifications and requirements, you can embark on a nursing career regardless of your age.

How can I immigrate to Germany with my family as a nurse? 

Germany offers various immigration options for skilled professionals, including nurses. It’s advisable to consult with German immigration authorities or seek assistance from specialized immigration consultants to explore the available pathways for you and your family.

What is the immigration age limit for nurses to come to Germany? 

There is no specific age limit for nurses immigrating to Germany. As long as you meet the necessary qualifications and requirements, you can pursue your nursing career in Germany at any age.

What is a nursing Ausbildung course in Germany? 

A nursing Ausbildung course refers to the vocational training program for nurses in Germany. It combines theoretical instruction and practical training to equip aspiring nurses with the required skills and qualifications.

Is my nursing degree recognized in Germany? 

The recognition of your nursing degree depends on various factors, including the country of origin and the specific requirements set by the German authorities. It is essential to have your qualifications evaluated by the competent authority in Germany to determine the recognition process you need to undergo.

Conclusion: How to Become a Nurse in Germany – The Ultimate Guide

Becoming a nurse in Germany is an exciting and rewarding journey. With its excellent healthcare system, diverse nursing education pathways, and growing demand for nurses, Germany offers ample opportunities for individuals passionate about nursing.

Always remember to stay informed, be proactive, and seek guidance from the relevant authorities to ensure a smooth transition into your nursing career in Germany.

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