Check out our free checklist for apprenticeship in Germany: We have listed all necessary information you need to start your Ausbildung / dual apprenticeship / vocational training in Germany in %%currentyear%%.
Before embarking on the journey to secure an apprenticeship in Germany, it’s important to take care of point one of our checklist for apprenticeship in Germany: Assess whether you meet the eligibility criteria. The primary requirements include age, educational background, and language proficiency.
- Age: Germany typically accepts apprentices between the ages of 16 and 25. However, some apprenticeships may accept applicants up to 30 years old, depending on the field and specific program.
- Educational background: Most German apprenticeships require applicants to have completed at least nine years of compulsory schooling. For some technical or specialized fields, a higher level of education, such as a secondary school diploma (Abitur or equivalent), may be required. Additionally, certain professions may require specific subject knowledge or prerequisites, such as a background in mathematics for engineering apprenticeships.
- Language proficiency: A strong command of the German language is crucial for most apprenticeships in Germany. At a minimum, B1 level proficiency is required, although some positions may necessitate higher proficiency levels, such as B2 or C1. Proficiency can be demonstrated through certified language tests, such as TestDaF or Goethe-Institut examinations. Additionally, having a basic understanding of English may be advantageous, particularly in multinational companies or in fields where English is commonly used.
To ensure you meet the eligibility requirements, research the specific criteria for your desired apprenticeship field and program. For example, if you’re interested in an automotive mechanic apprenticeship, you might need to demonstrate practical skills or previous experience in vehicle repair, whereas a hospitality apprenticeship may require customer service experience. Understanding these requirements will help you make informed decisions and focus your efforts on suitable opportunities.
Before applying for an apprenticeship in Germany, it’s essential to research various apprenticeable occupations to identify those that best align with your skills, interests, and career goals. This research as step 2 of our checklist for apprenticeship in Germany will provide valuable insights into the job market, help you make informed decisions, and increase your chances of securing an apprenticeship position.
Start by identifying the industries that interest you, such as manufacturing, healthcare, or information technology. Next, delve deeper into the various occupations within each industry, focusing on the responsibilities, required skills, and potential career paths for each role. This information can be obtained from various sources, including online resources, professional associations, and government websites. Additionally, consider reaching out to individuals working in your desired field to gain firsthand insights and advice.
As you research, you’ll likely come across the German “dual system” of vocational training, which combines practical, on-the-job training with theoretical education. This system is highly regarded worldwide and offers numerous benefits, including hands-on experience, a structured learning environment, and a high likelihood of employment upon completion.
Another important aspect to consider is the regional distribution of industries and occupations in Germany. Some regions, such as Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, are known for their strong automotive and engineering sectors, while others, like Berlin, have thriving creative and technology scenes. Researching the regional distribution of your desired occupation can help you target your job search more effectively and increase your chances of finding an apprenticeship.
Finally, take note of any trends, challenges, or opportunities within your chosen field. For example, the ongoing digital transformation of industries may create new apprenticeship opportunities in areas such as automation, data analysis, and cybersecurity. Staying informed about industry trends will help you adapt your skills and remain competitive in the job market.
Gather necessary documents
Third step in this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany: To apply for an apprenticeship in Germany, you’ll need to gather and prepare a number of important documents. These documents will not only help you apply for apprenticeship positions, but also assist you in securing a visa or residence permit if required. It’s essential to start this process early, as obtaining some documents may take time. The key documents you’ll need include:
- Passport: Ensure that your passport is valid for the entire duration of your intended stay in Germany, including any potential extensions for your apprenticeship. It’s also a good idea to have several photocopies of your passport for various application processes.
- Diploma or certificate of completed education: Gather your educational certificates, such as diplomas, transcripts, or school leaving certificates. These documents must be officially translated into German if they are not already in the language. Some German authorities may also require an Apostille or authentication to verify the legitimacy of foreign documents.
- CV: Prepare a comprehensive CV detailing your educational background, work experience, skills, and any relevant achievements or qualifications. It’s important to tailor your CV to the German market, which typically emphasizes practical experience and skills over academic achievements. Use a clear, concise format, and include any relevant certifications, internships, or volunteer work that demonstrates your suitability for the apprenticeship.
- Motivation letter: Craft a compelling motivation letter that explains your interest in the apprenticeship, your relevant skills and experiences, and your long-term career goals. This document should be tailored to each specific apprenticeship position you apply for, and it should demonstrate your enthusiasm, commitment, and motivation.
- Language certificates: Provide proof of your German language proficiency by including certified language test results, such as the TestDaF or Goethe-Institut examinations. In some cases, proof of English language proficiency may also be required.
- References: Gather at least two professional or academic references who can speak to your abilities, work ethic, and suitability for the apprenticeship. Be sure to ask for their permission and provide their contact details on your CV or in a separate document.
As mentioned earlier, language proficiency is a crucial aspect of securing an apprenticeship in Germany. Most apprenticeships require good German skills for effective communication in the workplace and successful completion of the theoretical portion of the training. Therefore, it’s essential to dedicate time and effort to learning the language as the fourth mark in our checklist for apprenticeship in Germany .
A minimum B1 level of proficiency is typically required, although some positions may necessitate higher proficiency levels. To achieve this, consider enrolling in language courses offered by institutions such as the Goethe-Institut, local language schools, or online platforms. Many language schools also offer intensive courses that focus on specific aspects of the language, such as business communication or technical terminology.
In addition to formal language courses, immerse yourself in the language by engaging in conversation with native speakers, watching German films or television shows, and reading German newspapers or books. This exposure to the language will help you become more comfortable with its structure, vocabulary, and pronunciation.
Another important aspect of learning German is familiarizing yourself with German business culture and etiquette. This includes understanding the importance of punctuality, direct communication, and formal greetings, as well as recognizing hierarchical structures within organizations. Being aware of these cultural nuances will help you navigate the German workplace more effectively and demonstrate your adaptability.
Once you have achieved the necessary language proficiency, be sure to obtain an official language certificate, such as the TestDaF or Goethe-Institut examination, as proof of your skills. These certificates are widely recognized and will be required for most apprenticeship applications.
Validate your qualifications
When applying for an apprenticeship in Germany as a foreign applicant, it’s important to verify if your foreign qualifications need to be officially recognized or translated (5th step in our checklist for apprenticeship in Germany). Recognition is the process of determining whether your foreign educational qualifications are equivalent to those in Germany, ensuring that employers and educational institutions understand the value of your credentials.
Start by researching the specific recognition requirements for your desired occupation and apprenticeship program. This information can often be found on the websites of relevant professional associations or government agencies, such as the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) or the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB).
If your qualifications require recognition, you may need to submit an application to the appropriate authority, along with supporting documents such as certified copies of your certificates, transcripts, and translations. Keep in mind that this process can take several months, so it’s essential to start early.
In some cases, partial recognition may be granted, with the condition that you complete additional coursework, examinations, or practical training in Germany to fully meet the requirements. Ensure that you understand and comply with any such stipulations to avoid potential delays or complications in your apprenticeship journey.
Additionally, if your educational documents are not in German, they will need to be officially translated by a certified translator. This is important not only for the recognition process but also for the apprenticeship application itself, as employers and educational institutions often require German translations of foreign documents.
Once your qualifications have been recognized, be sure to retain copies of the official recognition certificate or any related documents. These will be valuable in demonstrating your eligibility and qualifications during the apprenticeship application process.
Apply for a visa
Depending on your nationality, you may need to apply for a visa or residence permit that allows you to undertake an apprenticeship in Germany as the sixth step in this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany. The type of visa required varies depending on factors such as your country of origin, the duration of your apprenticeship, and your specific occupation.
For most non-EU nationals, the appropriate visa is the “Visa for the Recognition of a Foreign Professional Qualification and Job Search,” which allows you to enter Germany to search for an apprenticeship, complete any required recognition procedures, and eventually undertake the apprenticeship itself. This visa is usually valid for six months and can be extended if necessary.
To apply for this visa, you’ll need to submit an application to the German consulate or embassy in your home country, along with supporting documents such as your passport, proof of health insurance, and evidence of financial means. You may also be required to provide a preliminary assessment of your qualifications, proof of German language proficiency, and a declaration of intent to seek an apprenticeship.
Once you have secured an apprenticeship, you may need to apply for a different type of residence permit, such as the “Residence Permit for the Purpose of Employment” or the “EU Blue Card.” These permits allow you to live and work in Germany for the duration of your apprenticeship and may offer additional benefits, such as the ability to bring family members with you. Be sure to research the specific requirements and procedures for your situation to ensure a smooth transition.
Finding an apprenticeship position in Germany requires a proactive and targeted job search strategy in the seventh step of this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany. Begin by browsing job portals, such as the Federal Employment Agency’s job database, industry-specific websites, and company career pages. These platforms often provide comprehensive listings of available apprenticeship positions, as well as information on application procedures and deadlines.
In addition to online resources, consider networking with professionals in your desired field, attending job fairs or industry events, and leveraging any existing connections you may have in Germany. Networking can be a valuable tool in uncovering unadvertised apprenticeship opportunities and gaining insights into the job market.
When searching for an apprenticeship, it’s important to consider the regional distribution of industries and occupations in Germany, as mentioned earlier. Focus your search on regions where your desired occupation is prevalent, and be prepared to relocate if necessary.
As you identify potential apprenticeship positions, keep track of application deadlines, required documents, and any specific qualifications or prerequisites. This information will be essential in crafting a tailored and compelling application.
Prepare application materials
Once you have identified suitable apprenticeship positions, it’s crucial to prepare your application materials, ensuring they are tailored to the specific role and company. This eights step in this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany includes your CV and motivation letter, as well as any additional documents requested by the employer.
Tailor your CV to highlight the skills, experiences, and qualifications most relevant to the apprenticeship position. Use a clear and concise format, adhering to German conventions such as listing your work experience in reverse chronological order. In addition to your educational background and work experience, include any relevant certifications, internships, or volunteer work that demonstrates your suitability for the apprenticeship.
Your motivation letter should be a compelling narrative that explains your interest in the apprenticeship, your relevant skills and experiences, and your long-term career goals. Be specific about why you are interested in the particular company or apprenticeship program, and demonstrate your enthusiasm, commitment, and motivation.
When preparing your application materials, pay close attention to the employer’s requirements and preferences, such as desired formats, submission methods, and any specific content they request. Carefully proofread your documents for grammatical errors, inconsistencies, or inaccuracies, as these can create a negative impression.
After submitting your applications, you may be invited to attend interviews with potential employers. The interviews in step 9 of this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany provide an opportunity for both you and the employer to determine if you are a good fit for the apprenticeship position.
Prepare for interviews by researching the company and the specific apprenticeship role, as well as practicing common interview questions. Familiarize yourself with the company’s history, products or services, and corporate culture, and be prepared to discuss how your skills and experiences align with their needs.
During the interview, be sure to maintain a professional demeanor, dressing appropriately and adhering to German business etiquette. This includes offering a firm handshake, making eye contact, and addressing the interviewer by their formal title and last name.
In addition to answering the interviewer’s questions, be prepared to ask questions of your own. This demonstrates your interest in the apprenticeship and the company, and can provide valuable insights into the role and working environment.
After the interview, it’s good practice to send a thank-you email to the interviewer, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity and reiterating your interest in the apprenticeship. This simple gesture can help you stand out from other candidates and leave a positive impression.
Secure health insurance and accommodation
Once you have been accepted for an apprenticeship, it’s essential to make arrangements for health insurance coverage and find suitable accommodation in Germany. This is the final step in this checklist for apprenticeship in Germany.
Health insurance is mandatory for all residents in Germany, including apprentices. As a foreign apprentice, you have the option to choose between public and private health insurance providers. Public health insurance is typically more affordable and offers comprehensive coverage, while private health insurance may offer additional benefits and flexibility. Be sure to research the different options and select a plan that best meets your needs and budget.
Finding accommodation in Germany can be challenging, particularly in larger cities or popular regions. Begin your search early, and explore various housing options such as shared apartments, student dormitories, or private rentals. Online platforms, local newspapers, and university housing offices can be valuable resources in your search.
Consider factors such as proximity to your workplace or training center, access to public transportation, and local amenities when selecting your accommodation. Keep in mind that living in Germany often involves additional costs, such as utility bills, internet access, and public transportation fees, so be sure to budget accordingly.
Checklist for apprenticeship in Germany: More questions and answers
Do I need to speak German for an Ausbildung in Germany?
Yes. You only can start your Ausbildung with a level B1 at minimum. You may apply with an A2 level, but before you can get a visa in order to travel to Germany and start your Ausbildung you need to reach B1.
How do I find a German employer for an Ausbildung contract?
You may directly search on company’s websites or you may use the free services of platforms like Life-in-Germany.de. At Life-in-Germany.de you register for our free newsletter, you get concrete vacancy listings and you can apply for free online.
How to I get a visa for an Ausbildung in Germany?
Your first step is to find an employer in Germany who provides you with a contract for Ausbildung. Only after this you need to take care about any visa questions. German B1 knowledge and the Ausbildung contract are the main requirements for visa. Questions like blocked account etc. will be handled during your application process once you are selected by a company. You do not need to worry about this question in advance.
When do I need to apply for an Ausbildung?
You should apply as soon as you have a solid A2 level of German. You may apply at any time during the year – but not later than May. Ausbildung starts only once a year in August or September. There is no option to start at any other time.
Which documents do I need to apply for Ausbildung?
Applying for an apprenticeship is easy. You need a tabular curriculum vitae (Europass Format is one of the options), a cover letter, language certificates and school leaving certificates. It does not require much effort to put together such an application. In the first phase of your application you do not need to worry about any visa questions – there questions will be handled once you are selected by a company.
Do I need to have any special knowledge in order to start an Ausbildung?
No. All Ausbildung require no special knowledge but all what you have learnt at school. It does not matter if you want to start in IT, cleaning, office, or as a craftsman: All you need are good marks in your final school exam.
Which costs do I need to consider for Ausbildung in Germany?
Applicants from abroad do not pay placement fees for training courses. Trainees do not pay anything for the training courses themselves – they are free of charge even for foreigners. Since you get a monthly salary during the Ausbildung you can cover from it your payments for housing, food, clothes, insurances, transportation and taxes.
When will I know about my acceptance for Ausbildung?
You will learn about your acceptance for Ausbildung 1 to 3 weeks after your interview with your German employer.
Will I get reimbursement for my travel to Germany?
In most cases not. However we of Life-in-Germany.de do everything to make this moving for you as affordable as possible. For this we discuss with your employer and try to cinvince him to reimburse you for your flight to Germany.
Can I start Ausbildung in Germany together with my family?
Close family members may join trainees once they have started their Ausbildung in Germany. We of Life-in-Germany.de try to make it possible, for example, that apprenticeship places for spouses or partners are found and the training is completed together. It is also possible that your children may join you for Germany.