Become a physiotherapist as an international: In many regions of Germany you currently have good career opportunities as a physiotherapist. In our guide, we describe how you can do Vocational training as a physical therapist in Germany.
What are the positive aspects of working as a physical therapist?
The profession of physical therapist is still a very popular career choice in Germany. For many who choose this profession, it is important to help people so that they can live their lives without pain and discomfort. The satisfaction of helping people is one of the main reasons why people choose this profession.
Those entering the profession also encounter the following benefits:
- Fast hiring, as there is a need everywhere
- Good working conditions
- Chance to become self-employed
- Good development opportunities
It is also advantageous that you can practice this profession in practically any city in Germany: you don’t have to stay in one place for a long time, but can pick your favorite place over time. Since it is a very mobile profession, you can easily move from one place to another.
The nature of the profession also allows you to travel to different places where you can offer your services to patients who need them. For example, imagine that as a physical therapist, you can also work
- On cruise ships around the world,
- in spas and resorts, for example on the North Sea and Baltic Sea,
- in other European countries, for example in Austria, Switzerland or Mallorca.
So with this profession you have maximum flexibility to get around the world and later settle down wherever you like.
What is negative about the profession of a physiotherapist in Germany?
The profession of a physiotherapist can also have negative sides. You have to expect that you will:
- work with people of all ages
- patients can be difficult, rude or uncooperative
- you also have a lot of paperwork to do
- The job can be stressful at times and you will often need to be efficient, fast and friendly at the same time.
- as in other jobs, you sometimes take home impressions and worries
- sometimes even the best therapy doesn’t help and you can’t help your patients. You must be able to deal with this problem and it should not be too much of a psychological burden on you.
Physiotherapist in Germany in high demand
In many regions in Germany there are many vacancies for physiotherapists at the moment. According to all expectations, the demand for personnel as physiotherapists will increase even more in the coming years. This offers great prospects for both German and international individuals.
It doesn’t matter if you come from Germany or abroad: If you want to work as a physical therapist in Germany, you need Vocational training in Germany to do so. You can train as a physical therapist within the framework of a dual vocational training program – regardless of whether you are a German or an international.
During the Vocational training in Germany you are an apprentice. Trainees are people who learn a profession for two to three years. In addition to physiotherapist, you will also learn the following professions as an apprentice, for example:
During their Vocational training in Germany, apprentices are employed full-time by a company and learn the profession in a practical, hands-on way in the company. Part of the training time is spent at a vocational school, where mainly theoretical and general instruction for the work as a physical therapist is offered.
Understanding the German Healthcare System: Opportunities for Physiotherapists
Understanding the German healthcare system is crucial for foreign physiotherapists looking to practice in the country. The healthcare system in Germany is one of the most comprehensive and well-funded in the world. According to the Federal Ministry of Health, Germany spent approximately 11.7% of its GDP on healthcare in 2022, one of the highest rates in the European Union. This significant investment in healthcare translates into a wide range of opportunities for healthcare professionals, including physiotherapists.
The German healthcare system is characterized by its dual public-private structure. Approximately 73% of the population is covered by statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung, or GKV), according to a 2023 report by the Federal Ministry of Health. The remaining population is covered by private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung, or PKV). Both public and private insurance typically cover physiotherapy services, although the specifics can vary depending on the individual’s insurance plan and the nature of the treatment.
Physiotherapists in Germany can work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and home care services. According to the German Federal Statistical Office, as of 2023, there were approximately 58,000 physiotherapy practices in Germany, highlighting the significant role of physiotherapy in the healthcare system. Understanding the structure and workings of the German healthcare system can help foreign physiotherapists navigate their professional landscape and identify the best opportunities for their practice.
Application for Vocational training as a Physical Therapist in Germany
As a German applicant, you can usually start Vocational training in Germany as a physical therapist if you have at least a 9th grade school leaving certificate. Companies and vocational schools may also accept other persons. In addition, employers may apply other criteria. These criteria may include social qualities such as:
- Ability to work in a team
- Strong communication skills
- Interest and enthusiasm for the profession
Professional criteria that employers may also apply to prospective apprentices often include:
- Good school grades.
- In particular, good school grades in mathematics, computer science, and natural sciences (STEM).
Applying for vocational training in Germany as a Physical Therapist as an International
For applicants from other EU countries, the same rules apply as for German applicants: However, German language skills must be at about level B1.
As a non-EU citizen (third-country national), you can obtain a visa for your Vocational training in Germany as soon as a company signs a training contract with you. Vocational training in Germany is open to people from any country. It does not matter which citizenship you have.
For internationals there are the following two formal requirements:
- you speak German (at least German level A2)
- you have a school-leaving certificate (at least 9 grades, also from abroad).
Details about Vocational training as a Physiotherapist in Germany
You can find an apprenticeship as a physical therapist in Germany in every state, including Berlin, Saxony or Saxony-Anhalt. There are also vacant apprenticeship positions as a physiotherapist in practically every district and town in Germany. So you can apply in larger cities like Bochum, Mannheim or Krefeld or in a smaller town.
Your chances of success are often very high: There are many unfilled apprenticeships as a physiotherapist in Germany every year and statistically there is only one applicant for every apprenticeship.
Therefore, there are now new opportunities to start Vocational training as a physiotherapist in Germany.
Become a physical therapist as an international
How do I find an employer as a physical therapist?
We currently have the following opportunities for training positions throughout Germany. If you don’t find a suitable offer here, you can also subscribe to our free newsletter to receive offers by e-mail in the future.
If you are specifically looking for Vocational training as a Physiotherapist and do not find what you are looking for here, you can also apply directly to local employers who are looking for Physiotherapists. You can find suitable employers for your Vocational training as a Physiotherapist in Germany here:
- Yellow Pages of Germany,
- Homepages of the local Chambers of Industry and Commerce, and
- Local and regional job fairs.
You can also find offers for apprenticeships as a physiotherapist online via specialist exchanges, at the employment agency or via private intermediaries.
Navigating the Licensing Process: A Guide for Foreign Physiotherapists in Germany
Navigating the licensing process for foreign physiotherapists in Germany can be a complex task, but it’s an essential step for those looking to practice in the country. Germany has strict regulations and standards for physiotherapy to ensure the highest level of patient care. According to the German Federal Ministry of Health, foreign-trained physiotherapists must have their qualifications recognized by the relevant authorities before they can practice in Germany. This process involves an assessment of the applicant’s training and qualifications to ensure they meet the German standards.
The recognition process can vary depending on the country where the physiotherapist received their training. For those from within the European Union, the process is generally straightforward due to the mutual recognition of professional qualifications among EU countries. However, for those from outside the EU, the process can be more complex. According to a 2022 report by the German Federal Statistical Office, approximately 15% of foreign applications for professional recognition in the health sector were rejected, highlighting the challenges faced by non-EU professionals.
Despite these challenges, the demand for physiotherapists in Germany is high. The German Federal Employment Agency reported in 2023 that there were approximately 10,000 unfilled positions for physiotherapists across the country. This demand, coupled with the potential for a high quality of life in Germany, makes navigating the licensing process a worthwhile endeavor for foreign physiotherapists. With thorough preparation and an understanding of the requirements, foreign-trained physiotherapists can successfully navigate the licensing process and contribute to the German healthcare system.
Questions and answers
How do I become a physiotherapist in Germany?
To become a physiotherapist in Germany, you need to complete a state-approved training program, which typically lasts three years. If youre trained abroad, youll need to have your qualifications recognized by the relevant German authorities.
Are physiotherapists in demand in Germany?
Yes, physiotherapists are in high demand in Germany. The German Federal Employment Agency has reported a significant number of unfilled positions for physiotherapists across the country.
How long does it take to become a physiotherapist in Germany?
It typically takes three years to complete a state-approved training program in physiotherapy in Germany. This includes both theoretical education and practical training.
Do I have to pay for physiotherapy in Germany?
Physiotherapy services are generally covered by both public and private health insurance in Germany. However, the specifics can vary depending on your insurance plan and the nature of the treatment.
Can I work as a physiotherapist in Germany if I dont speak German?
While its possible to work as a physiotherapist in Germany without speaking German, it can be challenging. Most healthcare settings require a good command of the German language to communicate effectively with patients and other healthcare professionals.
What is the average salary for a physiotherapist in Germany?
The average salary for a physiotherapist in Germany can vary widely depending on experience, location, and specialization. However, it typically ranges from €30,000 to €45,000 per year.
Can I open my own physiotherapy practice in Germany?
Yes, physiotherapists in Germany can open their own practices. However, this requires additional administrative steps, including business registration and obtaining the necessary permits and insurance.
Do I need a specific visa to work as a physiotherapist in Germany?
Non-EU citizens typically need a work visa to work in Germany. The specific type of visa required will depend on your circumstances, but often a job seeker visa or a EU Blue Card are necessary.
Can I specialize in a specific area of physiotherapy in Germany?
Yes, physiotherapists in Germany can specialize in areas such as sports physiotherapy, pediatric physiotherapy, or neurological physiotherapy. Specialization often involves additional training and certification.
What are the working conditions for physiotherapists in Germany?
Physiotherapists in Germany typically work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, private practices, and home care services. Working hours can vary, and may include evenings and weekends.