Lehrer in classroom with pupils
© lev dolgachov / Fotolia 


Occupational profile and tasks

There are many different sorts of teacher (for example driving teachers, language teachers and dance teachers). Within this context, we make reference only to teachers at state schools. In order to perform this job, it is necessary to obtain recognition of professional qualifications acquired abroad.

The task of teachers is to prepare and deliver lessons at various types of school.

  • At primary schools or at primary level
  • At secondary schools or at secondary level (lower and upper)
  • At upper secondary schools
  • At vocational schools
  • In special education at schools for pupils with learning difficulties

Types of school may have different names or be divided up differently depending on the federal state.

How is training structured? What qualifications are there?

Teachers in Germany firstly require a higher education degree from a university or from a University of Education. Such a programme of study is referred to in general terms as “teacher training”. It leads to the higher education qualification of “Master of Education” or to completion of the so-called 1st state examination. Two subjects are normally studied. Teachers also need to complete a period of teaching practice after gaining their higher education qualification. This combines practical training at a school combined with attendance at seminars. Teaching practice lasts between 18 and 24 months depending on the federal state. It concludes with the 2nd state examination. It is subsequently possible to work as a teacher at a state school, either as a salaried employee or with civil servant status.

Only studied one subject? Any other substantial differences? What should you do now?

If you have not studied a 2nd subject in your country of training, you will usually need to do so in Germany. Shortage subjects are not affected by this rule. A shortage subject is a subject for which there are too few teachers. In certain subjects, it may be possible to work as a teacher whilst only offering one subject. If substantial differences are identified in the recognition procedure, you may undertake compensation measures or return to higher education to complete the parts of the study programme not covered by your own training. You may also be required to undertake the period of teaching practice. This frequently applies in the case of professional qualifications from third countries.

Working without recognition

Teachers cannot gain civil servant status without completing the 2nd state examination. It is, however, possible to teach at private or public schools as a salaried employee. Recognition is not always mandatory in such cases. Some federal states have particular regulations for teachers entering the profession laterally. These may allow you to work as a teacher without completing a period of teaching practice or a degree in education. You will usually attend parallel courses. Lateral entry to the profession is normally only possible if a subject has too few teachers (shortage subject). Further prerequisites are governed individually in the various federal states. More information can be obtained directly from the school at which you wish to work, from your local education authority or from the websites of the ministries of education and cultural affairs.

It is not always easy to obtain recognition as a teacher in Germany. There may be other options you could pursue. These include working as an education professional in another area or as an adult education tutor. Your IQ counselling centre will be able to provide further guidance.

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