An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Professional recognition

With recognition, a foreign professional qualification is made legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. Recognition is necessary for certain occupations and professions, for others it is an advantage.

Answers to the following questions are provided here:

  • What does professional Recognition mean?
  • When is recognition necessary or useful?
  • What are regulated and Non-regulated professions?

Video on recognition

The video explains clearly how the recognition of foreign professional qualifications works. “Make it in Germany” and “Anerkennung in Deutschland” worked together to produce the video.

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What does professional recognition mean?

A foreign professional qualification is recognised in Germany if it is equivalent to a German Professional qualification. In Regulated professions further criteria for authorisation to practise must also be met. Upon application, both are checked in the recognition procedure and information regarding the outcome is provided in a notice. With recognition applicants receive the same professional rights as persons with a German professional qualification. In Germany, professional recognition is regulated by the Federal Professional Qualifications Assessment Act (BQFG) and the sectoral laws under legislation relating to occupations and by the relevant federal state legislation.

When is recognition necessary or useful?

Recognition is necessary for foreign Skilled workers if they want to work in Germany in a regulated profession. The only exception to this is skilled workers from the EU/EEA/Switzerland who only occasionally practise their occupation or profession in Germany. The so-called Freedom to provide services is regulated in the EU Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications.

Recognition is not required for non-regulated professions, but it is useful. It is an advantage when applying for a job, when changing job or when negotiating salaries. The Recognition notice in German enables companies to immediately identify the skills and knowledge of foreign skilled workers.

Skilled workers from third countries seeking qualified Employment in Germany need recognition of their professional qualification for entry. Skilled workers with academic training in a non-regulated profession such as physicist or linguist require a higher education qualification which is recognised as comparable. This normally means they have to apply for a Statement of comparability for foreign higher education qualifications. The only current exception to this is IT specialists: They can also enter without recognition and practise their profession in Germany.

What are regulated and non-regulated professions?

Regulated professions are professions in which the activities are legally protected. In addition to a specific professional qualification, additional requirements are often necessary for these professions for authorisation to practise. This applies primarily to professions in the health, safety and social services sectors such as medical practitioner or teacher. Other forms of regulation are a protected professional title such as engineer, certificates and certificates of competence for some independent activities and trades and businesses, and Advanced training qualifications such as Master craftsperson or specialist.

Non-regulated professions are not legally protected. These include the Training occupations in the dual system (approx. 330 in total) such as motor vehicle mechatronics technician and office manager, and many academic occupations such as chemist or mathematician. Whether or not a profession or occupation is regulated in Germany can be found out using the Profi-Filter.