An offer from the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

What is professional recognition?

Have you trained for a profession or studied? And would you like to work in your profession in Germany? Recognition is essential in Germany for certain professions. For other professions, professional recognition is voluntary. This also applies to professions for which a higher education qualification is required.

Answers to the following questions are provided here:

  • What does professional recognition mean?
  • Which requirements do I have to meet?
  • When do I need recognition?
  • What does the recognition cost?


Professional recognition means:

A foreign professional qualification is legally equivalent to a German professional qualification. You need to complete the recognition procedure for professional recognition. At the end you receive an official notice. This states whether your professional qualification is recognised in Germany.

The recognition is always based on a specific German occupation, the so-called reference occupation.

You have the right to a recognition procedure in Germany. The basis for this is the Federal Recognition Act and the laws in the federal states. You can also apply for recognition from abroad.


The requirements for a recognition procedure are:

The recognition procedure is carried out by the so-called competent authority. The competent authority compares your professional qualification with the German professional qualification. When doing so, it takes into account your professional experience and other qualifications.

Are you not able to provide a final certificate?

You may still apply for recognition. You can then provide evidence of your professional qualification by means, for example, of a work sample. Find out more on the website “How do I get recognition”.


Use the guidance services!

We recommend that you use the guidance services before you apply for recognition. A counselling specialist will help to ensure your documents are as well prepared as possible.

You can also make use of counselling if your application for recognition has been rejected. You can find out, for example, whether you might be able to complete training. In many cases you might still be able to receive full recognition by doing this.

Answers to the following questions are provided here.


When do I need recognition of my professional qualification?

Recognition is essential in Germany for certain professions. For other professions, recognition is voluntary. You have the following advantages with voluntary recognition: You receive an official notice in German from the competent authority. This is helpful when applying for jobs: Employers are able to identify your knowledge and skills immediately. The notice is also helpful when negotiating salaries or if you wish to change jobs and apply for other positions.

When is recognition essential? When is it voluntary? This depends on how your profession is regulated and on your country of origin.

Regulated occupations

Recognition is essential for regulated professions. For these professions you must have a specific professional qualification and potentially meet further requirements. There is a legal regulation governing this. This applies primarily to professions in the health, safety and social services sectors. Regulated professions include medical practitioners and teachers. A protected job title such as engineer is also a form of regulation.

Exception: If you are legally resident in another EU country, you may be permitted in some instances to work even without recognition in Germany. However, you must report this beforehand to the competent authority.

Non-regulated occupations

You can work without recognition in a non-regulated profession. Non-regulated professions are not legally protected. These include, for example, training occupations such as motor vehicle mechatronics technician or office manager.

Do you come from a third country?

The recognition is necessary if you want to enter Germany to work from a third country In this case you must apply for recognition while still in your country of origin.

In order for you to be able to work in Germany, you must meet one of the following requirements:

  • You have received recognition of your professional qualification
  • Your higher education qualification is recognised in Germany as comparable.
  • You have a statement of compatibility for your higher education qualification.

Are you already living in Germany?

In this case you may need recognition to be allowed to work in a regulated profession.

You must also meet further requirements for entry. Find out more about this on the “immigration” page.


What does the recognition cost?


The recognition procedure can cost up to €600, and in individual cases more. In addition, there are often costs for translations, certifications, compensation measures and refresher training. There may also be costs of travel if you need to collect your documents in person from your country of origin.

You may be able to receive financial assistance. The following assistance options are available:

  • Assistance from the Federal Employment Agency
  • Assistance via the Federal Government recognition grant.
  • Assistance in the federal state of Hamburg