Professional Recognition

Engineer on construction area with mobile phone
© contrastwerkstatt / Fotolia

If you wish to work in Germany in the occupation you have learned, this section will enable you to find out in which occupations you need to obtain recognition for your foreign vocational and professional qualifications.

What is professional recognition?

Professional recognition means the evaluation and – in the event of a positive decision – confirmation of the equivalence of foreign professional and vocational qualifications with German qualifications. A formal procedure takes place to consider whether training was equivalent to comparable training in Germany and whether the qualifications can be recognised.

When is recognition of professional and vocational qualifications necessary?

Professional recognition is helpful in many occupations and in some occupations is even a prerequisite for exercising the occupation concerned in Germany. This depends on the occupation.

Regulated professions

In regulated professions, recognition is a precondition for access to the profession as well as for using the job title. Without recognition, persons with professional and vocational qualifications gained abroad may not work in these professions in Germany. Regulated professions in Germany include doctor, nurse, lawyer, teacher, nursery school teacher and engineer. A list of all professions which are regulated in Germany can be found on the “Regulated Occupations Database”.

Non-regulated occupations

Recognition is not an essential precondition for exercising non-regulated occupations. Persons may apply for work directly and work on the labour market in these occupations. An evaluation may, however, be helpful in order to provide employers and companies with a better understanding of your qualification. A qualification which has been recognised as equivalent also opens up access to advanced vocational training. All so-called training occupations, i.e. occupations for which training takes place within the dual system, are non-regulated in Germany. A list of all training occupations in Germany is available here (PDF, 500 KB).

Why professional recognition?

Particular conditions in the academic field

No recognition is required for foreign higher education qualifications which do not lead to a recognised profession (e.g. mathematician, economist, journalist). It is, however, possible to apply for an individual certificate evaluation from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). This may be useful for applications.

If you are commencing a course of higher education study at a German institute of higher education or wish to obtain recognition for higher education or examinations completed abroad (academic recognition), please contact the institute of higher education at which you wish to study

Coronavirus: Fewer recognition services

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some services for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications in Germany are currently not available.

You can learn more about recognition from us whenever you like. Take some time to read our information, available in 11 languages! Then you will be well informed for the next steps.

Via the Recognition Finder you can find out everything about the recognition procedure for your occupation, which documents you need and where you should send your application: › To the Recognition Finder

Our FAQ provide answers to the most common questions about recognition:  › To the FAQs

You can find out which services are not available or only available to a limited extent by checking our information page on the current situation: › To the information page