Teacher (m/f)

This section contains specific information on procedures and on the relevant legal basis for this occupational group.

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Professional Recognition

DO I NEED TO HAVE MY VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATION RECOGNIZED?

The teaching profession in Germany is regulated by the individual federal states. This means that legal stipulations are in place in each respective federal state which set out certain qualifications and requirements for the commencement or exercising of the occupation of teacher.

If you wish to gain access to the teaching profession by using your teaching qualification obtained abroad as the basis for acquiring qualified teacher status in Germany, equivalence between your qualification and a German teaching qualification will need to be ascertained. The relevant assessment procedures are in this case governed by federal state law.

You can use the Recognition Finder to identify the correct competent authority for your occupation.

Teachers in Germany are generally trained to teach two subjects. The training itself comprises a course of higher education study followed by preparatory service in the form of practically based teacher training. If you have not studied a second subject to degree level abroad, you will normally be required to do so. In some federal states it is also possible to be admitted to preparatory service in so-called “shortage subjects” where there are insufficient numbers of teachers with one subject and a second subject to which reference must be made on your degree certificate. Following completion of preparatory service, which may in some cases be extended to include certain additional training content, you may sit the relevant State Examination and thus acquire qualified teacher status.

It is possible in individual cases to be employed as a teacher at private schools or at state schools on a fixed-term contract basis (e.g. supply teacher) without recognition of your professional teaching qualification. In such circumstances, you should apply directly to the school at which you wish to work or to the education authority.

Information on the procedure

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE PROCEDURE?

All persons who have obtained a professional teaching qualification abroad may apply to the competent body within the respective German federal state for assessment and recognition of such a qualification.

In some federal states, teachers are accorded civil servant status. This means that you will also need to fulfil the prerequisites for professional qualification within the respective federal state.

WHAT FORM DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?

The competent authority will compare your professional teaching qualification with the qualification required for the type of qualified teacher status you are seeking. Depending on the federal state regulations, equivalence will be assessed on the basis of the First State Examination (completion of higher education study) or the entry requirements for preparatory service or on the basis of the Second State Examination, which is taken at the conclusion of preparatory service.

Fees are normally charged for the procedure. The competent body will provide information in this regard.

Qualifications from the EU/EEA/Switzerland

  • If you are in possession of qualified teacher status in your country of origin, the competent body will assess whether there are any substantial differences between your professional teaching qualification and the relevant German qualification (reference qualification). 
  • As well as looking at your training, it will also consider any relevant professional practice you have gained in Germany or abroad. 
  • If there are substantial differences between your qualification and the German reference qualification, you will normally have the opportunity to compensate for any deficits in training identified by taking part in a compensatory measure (adaptation period or aptitude test). The adaptation period is a practically oriented additional teacher training course, which usually takes place in the form of training contract under public law. During this period, participants are entitled to maintenance payments at the same level as the allowance paid to candidates in preparatory service for the type of qualified teacher status sought. 
  • Following the successful completion of a compensatory measure, you will obtain qualified teacher status and may apply for a position in the public school system to the extent that you fulfil the relevant professional prerequisites.

Qualifications from third countries

  • Not all federal states currently have relevant assessment procedures in place for the recognition of teacher qualifications from third countries. 
  • In the federal states which have enacted such regulations, the competent body mostly only assesses the equivalence of  qualifications obtained abroad with the First State Examination or the higher education degree relevant to the qualified teacher status. Once such an assessment has taken place, you may apply for admission to preparatory service and sit the State Examination which will open up access to the profession.
  • Individual federal states stipulate compensatory measures in the event of substantial differences between your qualification and the German professional qualification. 

Federal states
The details of the procedure vary from federal state to federal state. The relevant competent authority will provide information on the process involved.

WHICH DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION PROCESS?

The individual documents required depend on individual federal state law. Ask your competent authority.

The following documentation is usually required in particular.

  • Proof of identity (identity card or passport) 
  • Proof of completion of training 
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience 
  • Evidence of other qualifications (e.g. continuing professional training courses) 

The competent body may require you to submit further evidence insofar as this is necessary for the assessment of equivalence. The competent body will require German translations of individual items of evidence. These translations must be made by interpreters or translators who are publicly authorised or certified in Germany. 

Ehtnic German resettler
If you are a “ehtnic German resettler” (immigrants of German origin from Russia and Eastern Europe), please ask your competent body about any particular characteristics of the procedure which may apply (on the basis of § 10 of the Federal Expellees Act).

Legal basis

In the federal states, regulations regarding the assessment of equivalence of foreign professional teaching qualifications with a relevant German qualification are governed by the respective Teacher Training Law or on the basis of legal ordinances enacted. You will also need to fulfil the relevant professional prerequisites if you wish to apply for a position in the school system.

Information on the regulations regarding recognition for qualified teacher status in your federal state is available here.