Work as doctor in Germany: Start your career as a foreign medical doctor in Germany today! Germany currently lacks around 10,000 medical doctors. Foreigners from all countries have very good career opportunities.
Current situation and what we can do
A third of the German doctors has reached retirement age and will go in the next five years to retirement. The situation is similar with the medical specialists. Life-in-Germany.de helps foreign doctors in finding suitable employers in Germany which respect your personal international background.
In the first quarter 2022 alone we helped five doctors to find a suitable work place in Germany. All of them are currently employed as assistant doctors preparing to get their full German approbation in this year.
About being a medical doctor in Germany
There are so many perks that come with being a medical doctor. They can be found in the job itself, from the help you give to others to the prestige that comes with the job title. And for those who love to travel, the responsibilities of a medical doctor often allow them to have plenty of time off work to explore new places.
One of the main perks is financial. A medical doctor’s salary is often quite large. Their salary is based on education and experience, as well as geographic location and position within an organization. According to payscale, the average annual salary for a medical doctors in Germany is about 25.000€ gross per month, which makes it one of the top paying jobs in Germany and worldwide.
You don’t just get this large paycheck right away, though! You will have to go through at least six to eight years of training before you can practice medicine under your own license.
Being a medical doctor has many additional advantages, such as including stability of income and a fulfilling career.
The last few years have seen a lot of changes in the medical field. With health care reform legislation and new technology, doctors are finding themselves under increasing pressure to follow stricter guidlines by legislation and are confronted with new ways of treatment.
How medical doctors view their work in Germany
In a friendly tone: I’ve been a doctor for a while, and I see the everyday struggles patients face. It’s easy to feel like you’re losing it. But with time, experience, perspective and extra support, you can make it through the day. As a doctor, I know how important it is to have your job be rewarding and fulfilling—but that’s not always the case when you’re working in healthcare. You may be stuck in a room day after day making sure one person is healthy enough to leave the hospital or that another person is healthy enough to stay in the hospital. Some days are great; some are agonizing. Working in healthcare isn’t easy and it doesn’t pay well. But it’s very rewarding if you approach it with an open mind.
I’m a doctor because I admire people who work hard at what they do and care about helping others. And this career is fun because of all of the great moments that come along with it. Like when your patient recovers from their surgery, walks out of the hospital for the first time or sees you for the first time since the accident which nearly took their life.
When you work as a doctor, there are several things to consider. First, your day-to-day life is going to be different from everyone else’s. You’ll never be late for work or have to wait in a crowded waiting room (unless it’s an emergency). You’ll never have to use the bathroom while you’re on the clock, and it’s not a weird thing that other people will look at you like you have no right to be in their space. The hours may seem long, but they are not so long that you end up giving up your family or friends in order to do them. And, if you have kids, they might be able to come with you on some of your nights away.
Work as doctor in Germany – Basics to know
Can I work as a medical doctor in Germany as a foreigner?
Foreigners from EU-countries and non-EU-countries can work as medical doctors in Germany. There are requirements regarding the acknowledgement of the medical degree and the German language skills.
Can my family join me when I work as a medical doctor in Germany?
This depends from many factors, but in general this is possible and foreseen by the law.
Where do medical doctors work in Germany?
In Germany medical doctors work in medical practices and clinics (as well private practices and clinics as state-run practices and clinics), in health centers and rehabilitation centers, in hospices, in service businesses for the elderly and in nursing care, in medical research (pharmaceutical companies, scientific research) and teaching (private or state institutions like universities), in the pharmaceutical industry (research, sales), for health insurance companies and medical associations. A growing field with a high demand of medical doctors is at health authorities, e.g. local state health authorities, the German forces etc.).
How many foreigners work as medical doctors in Germany?
Currently there are about 400,000 physicians working in Germany. About half of all physicians in Germany are employed in the hospital sector (approx. 210,000). The number of physicians in private practice is about 120,000. The number of foreign physicians working in Germany is about 60,000 (15 percent of all docs). In many hospitals in Germany you will find multi-national teams with employers being very open to new foreign applicants. Currently most of the foreign physicians in Germany come from Romania, Russia, Syria, Greece, Austria, Italy, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, Egypt and Iran.
Who has good chances to work as a physician in Germany as a foreigner?
Based on the high demand of medical doctors in Germany foreign medical doctors from any country, any age and any specialization have currently very high chances to start working in Germany – with the option to live permanently in Germany even with the family from abroad.
Which are the requirements to work as a physician in Germany being a foreigner?
There are two fields of requirements: 1) German language and 2) recognition of your foreign degree in Germany by the German authorities.
Which level of German do I need to work as a medical doctor in Germany?
Foreigners need to have at least a B2 command of German. In some situations there might be even the requirement of C1, but with B2 you already have a good basis. Of course it is not only sufficient to have a general B2 with being able to speak about general aspects of live but you must be able to communicate adequate in your profession (‘medical German’). Read about your way to reach this and alternatives if you do not have B2 below.
How does the recognition of my foreign degree in Germany work?
If you are a non-German and want to work as a doctor or specialized doctor in Germany, you need to obtain a German state license. This license to practice medicine in Germany is called ‘Approbation’. The Approbation is an unrestricted professional license for you in Germany. You will need such a license if you want to work as a doctor in a clinic in Germany or if you want to set up your own practice.
Details in this process depend from your citizenship, the degree and specialization. At Life-in-Germany.de you will get a free consultation on this as soon as you speak B1 German.
Which benefits do I have to work in Germany as a foreign physician?
Salaries for physicians in Germany range between 7,000 and 25,000 Euros per month – depending on the field and type of specialization and form of employment. Foreign doctors can get a work and residence permit in Germany with the perspective of becoming a German citizen. A legal relocation of the closest family to Germany is possible even for non-EU citizens in case of successful start as physician.
How to study medicine in Germany to become a medical doctor?
To become a doctor by studying in Germany, you must first study medicine. This is accompanied by the license to practice medicine. Studying medicine in Germany usually takes six years. Many students need a little longer until they receive their starting salary as a doctor.
A medical degree in Germany consists of three elements:
- Practical year
The preclinical part lasts two years and deals with humans and anatomy. In the following six semesters, the clinical part takes place: Here, forms of therapy and diseases of various clinical subjects are taught.
These are, among others, these specialties:
- General Medicine
- internal medicine
In the subsequent practical year, medical students work directly in a clinic or hospital, for example.
Afterwards, the license to practice medicine is granted and you can work as a doctor in a clinic or a practice as well as in many other areas.
How to become a medical doctor in Germany if you have studied medicine abroad
Our recommended steps for you to become a medical doctor in Germany if you are an international applicant:
Check open positions
Send your unsolicited application
If already speak German on level B1 and like to send us your unsolicited application please do so here and we will look for alternative offers for free.
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If you do not yet speak German at least on level B1 check out the alternatives below.
Learn or improve your German
In case you do not want to choose from these alternatives you need to learn German in your home country up to the level B1. We have prepared some information on how to do so here.
Get a consultation
As soon as you have a B1 level please contact us for a free individual consultation.
Work for foreign doctors in Germany – Alternatives if you are a MD
In case you do not have sufficient German language skills and/or in case you want to move to Germany quickly there might be the following alternatives possible for you, especially if you are a career starter:
- Apprenticeship in a field close to your profession
- FSJ in a hospital or health care institution
- Internship in a hospital
- Studies in Germany in English or German language as advanced qualification
With these options you might not earn much or even less than in your home country. However you have excellent opportunities to level up your German to the required level. In addition you can deal with your recognition process more easily since you already would be in Germany.