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Learning German

Speaking good German is an advantage in everyday life and at work. Specific knowledge of German is often required for some occupations and professions and for entry into Germany.

Answers to the following questions are provided here:

  • Who needs knowledge of German and who will find it useful?
  • Which types of language courses are there?

 

Who needs knowledge of German and who will find it useful?

In many regulated occupations such as medical practitioner or nurse, specific knowledge of German is necessary for authorisation to practise and therefore for Recognition The language level required is generally determined by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF) in which there are a total of 6 different levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2. You can find out from the Recognition Finder whether a language level is necessary for an occupation and which level this is.

In most occupations, no specific language skills are required for recognition of the Professional qualification. However, good knowledge of German is certainly helpful—whether it’s for seeking work, dealing with the authorities or in everyday life.

Regardless of recognition, German language skills are often required for an entry visa from third countries. For example, Skilled workers wishing to enter Germany to search for qualified Employment must therefore generally provide evidence of German language skills at least at level B1. Those wishing to enter Germany for a job training scheme as part of recognition need to have at least sufficient knowledge of German, this is usually at level A2. Those interested in recognition abroad should seek information regarding this from the counselling centres locally or from the hotline “Working and Living in Germany”. The Federal Foreign Office (AA) provides up-to-date information about the language requirements for a visa.

 

Auswärtiges Amt – Federal Foreign Office: Knowledge of German for a visa (English)  

 

Which types of language courses are there?

If you want to learn German, you can obviously do this yourself. However, the traditional route is via a language course with a final examination. Most language course providers issue a Language certificate at the end which serves as evidence of a specific language level. Different types of language courses and their providers are introduced below.

German courses

The Goethe-Institut provides German courses in Germany and abroad at 157 locations for all language levels. Adult education institutions and many other telc-certified institutes offer German courses and language certificates which are accepted as proof of language skills, e.g. for a visa.

 

Integration courses

German is also taught in so-called integration courses. Throughout Germany, around 1700 language schools offer integration courses funded by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The language course teaches German up to language level B1 and covers everyday topics such as shopping, living in Germany, health, childcare, but also mobility, use of media as well as work and training. At the end, participants take the “German Test for Immigrants” (Deutschtest für Zuwanderer, DTZ). The implementation and assessment of this is standardized across Germany. Specific initial orientation courses are aimed at asylum applicants for whom it is unclear whether they will be granted permanent residency in Germany, and teach the German skills that will help in everyday life.

 

 

Language courses for work purposes

The language courses for work purposes build on the integration course and teach the German skills you need in the world of work: Basic courses cover general German skills, special courses cover specialist German for specific occupations, and are delivered at different levels. The language courses for work purposes are part of the Federal Government’s job-related German language support (DeuFöV) and are offered nationwide via the BAMF. Migrants, EU citizens and Germans with a migration background are able to participate in this if they have either completed the integration course or have achieved language-level B1. Those who are already working in Germany or who have applied for Recognition here can directly contact the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in the relevant federal state. Job seekers should approach the Employment agency or the job centre about language courses for work purposes. Further information is available on the “Learn German for the workplace” webpage of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs’ (BMAS).

In addition to the language courses for work purposes, the Network “Integration through Qualification” (IQ) offers job-related language courses for educational occupations as well as training and bridging measures in many other occupational fields.

 

Online offers

As an alternative to traditional classroom-based courses, there are plenty of free learning programmes on the internet provided by well-known institutions. These range from tests for determining your level, via materials and exercises through to online courses for various language levels.