How to Become a Nurse in Germany (Guide for Foreign Nurses)


An Overview of Nursing in Germany:

1. The Career Pathway
2. Salary of Nurses in Germany
3. Working Conditions
4. Nurse Application in Germany
5. FAQs

Nursing is a highly regarded profession in Germany, and regardless of the country's economic status, nurses will always have work. In Germany, everyone who works has access to social security and its benefits, such as unemployment insurance, health insurance, and retirement insurance.
Our team at 1NURSE.com has compiled all of the information needed for international nurses interested in working and living in Germany. To realize your dreams, all you need is a smidgeon of courage and a gallon of patience. To find out more, continue reading this article.

If you're an international nurse looking to work in Germany, you must have/be:

  • Educational qualification
  • Your home country's registered nurse license.
  • Good command of the German language
  • Healthy both physically and mentally
  • No criminal record

Section A: The Career Pathway

Different regulations apply to all other nurses with non-EU/EEA certificates: they must still have their qualifications recognized, but it will be more difficult and time-consuming. The full process can take up to a year, although you can usually work as a nursing assistant in the meantime.

1. Nursing Apprenticeship
You can always begin vocational training in Germany to become a nurse if you do not have a nursing qualification. Your country has no bearing on this decision; rather, your language skills and high school diploma do.

Nursing apprenticeships, also known as vocational training, are a common route to becoming a nurse in Germany. The program is designed for persons who want to work as a nurse in Germany but lack the necessary qualifications.

2. Registered Nurses
Nurses who are registered in Germany are known as Gesundheits- and Krankenpfleger (health- and sickness carer). Previously, a nurse's formal title in Germany was Krankenschwester (female) or Krankenpfleger (male) (male). 
Hospitals and clinics, as well as nursing homes, handicapped people's dormitories, outpatient social services, rehabilitation centers, and even vocational schools, are all seeking for qualified nurses from other countries. Nurses with advanced degrees will always be in high demand.

Section B: Salary of Nurses in Germany

According to Salaryexplorer.com, in Germany, nurse salaries range from 1,340 EUR per month (lowest income) to 4,620 EUR per month (highest compensation) (maximum salary). The median monthly pay for Nurse(s) is 3,140 EUR, which means that half of those employed as Nurse(s) make less than 3,140 EUR, and the other half earn more than 3,140 EUR. 

Just like in any profession, the longer you work, the more money you will make. A nurse with less than two years of experience earns around 1,520 EUR per month on average.

Someone with two to five years of experience may expect to earn 2,020 EUR per month, which is 34% more than someone with less than two years of experience.

Moving further, someone with five to ten years of experience earns 2,990 EUR per month, which is 48 percent more than someone with two to five years of experience.

Section C: Working Conditions

  • Nurse-Patient Ratio: In the German RN4Cast hospitals studied, the patient-to-nurse ratio was on average 10:1.
  • Hospital Equipment: Expats coming to Germany will be pleased to learn that the country has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, as well as some of the best hospitals. There are just under 2,000 hospitals in Germany, divided into three categories: public, private, and non-profit.
  • Working Atmosphere: Long hours and working on holidays are regular experiences for most nurses, in addition to an incredibly hectic daily existence. Germany has the most regulated yet flexible working hours of any country in the world. Some hospitals and in-home care organizations, for example, provide the option of working six-night shifts followed by six days off.
  • Shifting: In Germany, nurses often work 38-40 hours a week, split into 7-9 hour shifts. They will most likely work shifts at night, on weekends, and on holidays, but no more than 5 days a week.
  • Patient Safety: The German healthcare system is Europe's oldest, having been established in the 1880s as a dual public-private system. It now has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, thanks to its doctors, specialists, and facilities. Over the last decade, patient safety has become a prominent focus of German sociopolitical awareness. The number of people working to improve patient safety has increased.

Section D: Nurse Application in Germany

The most important factors in determining your prospects of working as a nurse in Germany are your nationality, country of residency, and country where you earned your nursing degree.

In general, all European people have it easy, while others will have to work hard to find work and come to Germany.

Bosnians, Serbs, Tunisians, Filipinos, and Vietnamese
These lucky nurses (with the exception of Vietnam*) are eligible for the government-sponsored TripleWin foreign nurse recruitment program. The government will assist you in finding nursing employment in Germany, as well as applying for and receiving a residency visa. Before enrolling in the program, nurses from Vietnam must have at least three years of experience.

Nursing is one of Germany's most regulated professions, hence the government has established some specific standards. It also implies that foreign nurses will have to deal with rigid rules and inflexibility.


A nursing degree is preferred, however, if you are from a non-EU nation, a university degree with at least three years of study is required.

Good command of the German Language

You’ll need a certificate of German language skills at level B1 or B2 from GOETHE/TELC/OSD. Foreign nurses face a greater language barrier as well. After all, as a nurse, you must care for people who, in many cases, only speak German.

Certified Nurses must also keep track of their efforts in daily health reports for each patient. This necessitates excellent linguistic abilities. It could take you a year to learn to speak at the appropriate level.

Qualification Review

Different regulations apply to all other nurses with non-EU/EEA certificates: they must still have their qualifications recognized, but it will be more difficult and time-consuming. The full process can take up to a year, although you can usually work as a nursing assistant in the meantime.

Foreign nurses must submit their degrees and qualifications to the appropriate authorities of the federal state in which they stay as soon as they receive a work offer or arrive in Germany. You can, however, ask for recognition even if you don't have a job.

Section E: Visa Type

Only once you have been recognized will you be granted a visa to work as a qualified nurse; however, you can enter Germany with another sort of visa beforehand. However, as soon as feasible, submit all essential documents to the recognized authority. Remember that a German language level of B2 is necessary.

A qualified foreign nurse from a non-EU nation can normally work and live in Germany for four years, after which they can apply for an extension or even a permanent work and residence permit. An application for German citizenship can be filed after a total of 8 years.

However, it is possible that a foreign nurse's professional degree/qualifications will not be acknowledged or entirely recognized, and hence they will not be granted permission to practice nursing in Germany.

In this situation, people can take additional courses in Germany and pass the relevant tests to make up for their lack of academic or practical knowledge.

Section F: Examination

German Language Exam

To be considered for assessment by the German Nursing Council, a nurse must complete the B1 level in the German language. To work as a Registered Nurse, however, you must complete the B2 level. In Germany, nurses can complete the B2 level.

Section F: FAQs

Is it possible for me to work as a nurse in Germany if I am over 40 years old?

Yes! There are no restrictions on age. Interested foreigners can apply at any age, as long as they meet the primary criteria of speaking German at a B1 or B2 level. To work as a nurse directly, one must have studied nursing abroad. Even if one has not studied nursing, he or she can begin an apprenticeship in Germany, even if they are 40 years old or older.

To get a job in Germany, which exam do I have to pass? 

In order to submit an application for assessment to the German Nursing Council, a nurse must complete the B1 level of the German language. You must, however, complete the B2 level to work as a Registered Nurse. In Germany, nurses can earn a B2 diploma.


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