There are advanced training occupations in many branches in Germany. Examples of qualifications included in the advanced training sector are various master craftsman level qualifications (e.g. master craftsman qualification in one of the craft trades or in industry or agriculture), certified advisor, certified senior clerk, specialist commercial clerk or business economist.
Advanced training occupations
- Professional recognition
DO I NEED TO HAVE MY VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATION RECOGNIZED?
Most advanced training occupations in Germany are not regulated. This means that you may exercise such occupations without a state licence and without obtaining recognition for your foreign professional or vocational qualification.
You also, however, have the option of having your qualification assessed for equivalence with a German advanced training qualification.
This delivers benefits
- The notice of equivalence you will receive is an official and legally secure document which confirms equivalence of the foreign qualification with the relevant German reference qualification and confers the same legal rights as a German qualification.
- Regardless of whether you obtain full or partial equivalence for your vocational qualification, the procedure will make it easier for employers to evaluate your qualification. This will increase your chances on the jobs market.
- The assessment notice will assist you in making progress within your occupation.
Particular circumstance in the craft trades sector
Registration with the Register of Crafts and Trades is mandatory if you wish to become self-employed in a craft trades occupation in which an official licence is required. Your foreign qualification will need to be deemed equivalent to the German master craftsman qualification. In such a case, therefore, you are required to obtain recognition for your certificate. Further information is available here.
You may become self-employed in craft trades occupations for which no official licence is required or in crafts or trades considered to be similar to craft trades without any requirement to demonstrate that you are in possession of certain qualifications and therefore do not need to obtain recognition for your foreign qualification in such cases. A list of craft trades occupations for which no official licence is required and crafts or trades considered to be similar to craft trades is available here.
- Information on the procedure
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEDURE?
You may apply for a procedure to investigate the equivalence of your vocational qualification if:
- you are able to show that you have completed a professional or vocational qualification which was not obtained in Germany and
- you wish to work in Germany.
It is not necessary to hold German citizenship or a residence permit for Germany in order to obtain recognition of your professional or vocational qualification. There is also no need for you to be resident in Germany at the time when you apply. You may submit your application before entering the country from abroad.
For interested parties abroad
Before commencing a recognition procedure, you should, however, clarify whether you are entitled to migrate to Germany in order to work here. You can use Migration Check to verify your status. Further information on starting work is available here.
Application forms for a recognition procedure are available on the Internet sites of the responsible authorities or by direct enquiry to the responsible authorities themselves.
If you are a “late resettler” (immigrants of German origin from Russia and Eastern Europe, you may choose between the new procedure in accordance with the Professional and Vocational Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG) or the recognition procedure pursuant to the Federal Expellees Act (BVFG). More information is available here. Your responsible authority will advise you on the details of the procedure.
WHAT FORM DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
- Your foreign professional or vocational qualification is compared with the German advanced training qualification.
- The responsible authority examines whether there are significant differences between your foreign vocational qualification and the German advanced training qualification.
- As well as looking at your professional or vocational qualification, it will also consider the occupational practice and other qualifications you have gained in Germany or abroad.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE OUTCOMES?
- If your vocational qualification is recognised as possessing full equivalence, you will enjoy the same rights as holders of the relevant German reference qualification.
- The partial equivalence of your qualification will be certified if there are significant differences between your qualification and the German reference qualification. The assessment notice issued by the responsible authority includes a detailed description of your existing professional or vocational skills and of the knowledge which is missing. This is of assistance on the jobs market, facilitates targeted continuing training or second-chance qualification and enables a new application to be made at a later point if appropriate.
WHICH DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
- Tabular summary in German of the training you have completed, including any continuing training courses and previous occupational activity if relevant
- Proof of identity (identity card or passport)
- Proof of professional or vocational qualification
- Proof of your relevant occupational experience
- Evidence of other qualifications (e.g. continuing vocational training courses)
- A declaration that you have not previously submitted an application for assessment of equivalence
- Evidence of intention to work in Germany (does not apply to nationals of the EU/EEA/Switzerland and to persons resident in the EU/EEA/Switzerland)
The responsible authority may require certified copies of documents or the original documents themselves. Simple copies of your documents may also suffice in some cases. Ask your responsible authority.
You should submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be made by interpreters or translators who are publicly authorised or certified in Germany or abroad. The responsible authority may also decide that no translations are needed. Ask your responsible authority.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
- The responsible authority will begin the equivalence assessment procedure when all documents have been received in completed form.
- A decision will be made within 3 months of receipt of all documentation. The decision deadline may be extended on a single occasion in difficult cases.
WHAT IS THE COST OF THE PROCEDURE?
- The procedure is subject to a charge. The actual amount of the fee payable is based on the amount of time and expense incurred. This may vary from occupation to occupation and from federal state to federal state. Ask your responsible authority.
- Costs of fees and other costs such as translation and certification of documents must in all cases be borne by the applicants themselves. In some circumstances and on an individual case basis, these fees may be paid by other bodies (e.g. German Social Security Code II and III).
- If the required evidence cannot be submitted, it is possible for a skills analysis to be carried out (§ 14 BQFG) for the purpose of ascertaining occupational competences (e.g. via a specialist oral examination or work sample). In such cases, an applicant may incur further costs.
- The responsible authority may require fees to be paid in advance. Ask your responsible authority.
- Prior to submitting an application, unemployed applicants or applicants registered as job seekers should seek clarification from their local Employment Office or Job Centre whether the labour administration authorities will meet the costs of the procedure. The labour administration authorities will only provide such support if it is of the view that recognition of a foreign training qualification is necessary in order for the holder to be integrated into the labour market. Adaptation measures such as continuing training courses or examination preparations may also be funded in these cases.
- Financial support for continuing training that can be completed on a full-time or in-service basis may be available via the so-called Upgrading Training Assistance Act (“Meister-BAföG”).
- Legal basis