One female and two male engineers work on a machine model together
© YakobchukOlena / Fotolia

Engineering

Do you have a technical or engineering qualification? If you wish to work in this sector in Germany and use the title of engineer, you will need to complete a recognition procedure for your non-German professional qualification.

How is training structured? What qualifications are there?

In Germany, professional qualifications are obtained at universities, Universities of Applied Sciences or Universities of Cooperative Education. A course of higher education study takes at least three years and leads to the qualifications of Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Bachelor of Engineering or Master of Engineering. Previously, longer programmes of study in engineering also existed in Germany after which a “Diploma” (Dipl.-Ing) was obtained.

What specialisms are there?

Engineers mainly work in the following specialist areas.

  • Civil engineering
  • Electrical engineering
  • Information technology
  • Engineering
  • Business administration and engineering
  • Process technology

There are also many other specialisations. These differ within the federal states and at the universities.

Tasks

In accordance with the specialisms stated above, engineers may work in a number of different areas.

Their professional activities are highly diverse. Engineers advise on, develop, plan or support technical projects in the fields of science and business. They also supervise and monitor these undertakings. Tasks may further include acting as expert appraisers or the pursuit of research activities. They fulfil other roles relating to the preparation, management and billing of engineering services.

How does the recognition procedure work, and what do I need to take into account.

“Engineer” is a protected professional title. It may only be used by persons whose professional qualification is recognised in Germany. The recognition procedure takes place at the Chamber of Engineers of the federal state in wish you later wish to work. In this case, the Chamber of Engineers acts as the so-called competent body. You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the right chamber.

Authorisation is required to use the professional title. Simply working within the profession is, however, generally permitted. This means that you may apply for jobs on the German labour market even if you have not obtained recognition. You could, for example, work for an engineering firm as a salaried employee. In such as case, however, you are not permitted to refer to yourself as an “engineer”.

AuEven though you are permitted to work in the field of engineering without the official professional title of “engineer”, recognition and professional title will offer many benefits in terms of the opportunities you will enjoy on the labour market.

Why can it be important to be able to use the professional title of “engineer”?

Employers in Germany attach great importance to outstanding professional qualifications which offer both scope and quality and meet the stipulated standards. Recognition of your higher education qualification and addition of the professional title of “engineer” will immediately make this visible. In certain specialist areas of engineering, there are still certain tasks governed by statutory stipulations which you are only permitted to perform if you are registered as an engineer with the relevant Chamber of Engineers. Only registered engineers, for example, have the “authorisation to present building documents”. This permits you to sign off plans for buildings awaiting approval.

The designation “consulting engineer” is a protected professional title that represents a particular seal of quality. “Consulting engineers” work independently and on their own authority. Operating on your own authority means that you work for clients. You are self-employed and issue your own invoices. Working independently means that you have no vested or external interests in assignments and are not permitted to accept commission payments, discounts or other perks. Consulting engineers must not exercise any other commercial activity. They may not, for example, run a construction company at the same time. “Consulting engineers” are specialists who work in an analytical way and are able to offer a high degree of professional competence. In order to work as a “consulting engineer”, you will need to demonstrate a certain period of professional experience in the engineering sector. The usual requirement is 2 or 3 years. In addition to this, you will need to have authorisation to use the professional title of “engineer” in most federal states. Consulting engineers are listed in special registries which are managed by the Chambers of Engineers in the federal states.

Temporary provision of services

Temporary provision of services

If you are legally established as an engineer in another EU country and only wish to offer your services in Germany on an occasional and temporary basis, freedom of services usually means that you will not need to seek recognition of your professional qualification. You will, however, be required to provide advanced notice of your activities in writing to the competent body (Chamber of Engineers).

Legal foundations

The profession of engineer is regulated in the Engineer Laws of the individual federal states. It is, therefore, a profession which is governed by federal state law.

Which service is offered by the Chambers of Engineers?

The Chambers of Engineers of the federal states act as the competent bodies for the profession. They offer the following services.

  • Guidance on legal issues and self-employment
  • Continuing training
  • Placement of engineers and expert appraisers