Ausbildung in Germany and Accommodation: How To Manage Living Expenses?

If you are considering doing Ausbildung or vocational training in Germany, details like salary or accommodation are essential to know. Generally, vocational schools and companies where you can do Ausbildung in Germany don’t provide housing for trainees. Yet, most of them pay a monthly salary that you can spend as you wish.

Ausbildung in Germany doesn’t cover your accommodation expenses and doesn’t provide housing benefits. In 2023, you will receive at least a minimum salary of 620 EUR in your first year of training. Besides, there are several funding options available for students and trainees.

Read this article to learn how you can cover your living, e.g., housing expenses, while doing an Ausbildung in Germany in 2023.

Check out the best paid Ausbildung programs.

Does Ausbildung in Germany provide accommodation?

During Ausbildung (vocational training), trainees receive a salary that they are free to spend as they want, including the rent. On the other hand, Ausbildung schools don’t provide accommodation as a matter of fact.

That said, many trainees in Germany live with their parents. Hence, they don’t need much money to support themselves, and the salary is more than enough to cover basic expenses.

If the salary you receive during Ausbildung isn’t enough to cover your living expenses, e.g., accommodation, food, etc., there is some financial support available.

The German government provides various subsidies to students and trainees, which can be up to 858 EUR per month.

However, to receive a stipend, you must have a German or European passport or a residency in Germany. Here are the main financing options in addition to your Ausbildung salary.

BAföG

BAföG is state funding for students and trainees. Only applicants under 45 years of age can qualify. It also must be your first application, hence, you can’t receive a BAföG twice. You can find more information on how to apply on the official website.

The maximum amount a trainee can receive as a part of this program is 632 EUR, and the money doesn’t have to be returned to the state. Therefore, it’s totally free for students and trainees.

If you are in a school-based Ausbildung program, e.g., nursing, you aren’t entitled to BAB. However, in order to receive financial support during your training, you can apply for benefits from the Federal Training Assistance Act (Bundesausbildungsförderungsgesetz, BAföG).

Each BAföG grant is calculated individually. There are several factors that influence the amount, including your income and the income of your parents.

BAföG for foreigners

Generally, only German citizens can receive a BAföG without many additional conditions. Citizens of the European Union, migrants, and refugees living in Germany can also qualify for BAföG.

However, they need to meet certain requirements, including having a permanent residence permit in Germany or the EU. Refugees can apply for BAföG as recognized persons entitled to asylum, recognized refugees according to the Geneva Refugee Convention, or persons entitled to subsidiary protection.

Refugees must be residing in Germany for at least 15 months before they can apply for BAföG.

EU/EEA citizens

Citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland, or Norway are eligible for BAföG assuming they meet one of the following requirements:

  • They have been living legally in Germany for at least five years.
  • They have a permanent residence permit.
  • A parent or the spouse or life partner is permanently living in Germany as an employee or self-employed person.
  • They have worked in Germany before the start of the training (usually at least 6 months) and their job was related to Ausbildung they do.
  • The same applies to citizens of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Iceland or Norway.

Non-EU/EEA citizens

The situation is a bit more difficult for non-EU/EEA citizens who complete their Ausbildung in Germany and want to receive BAföG. Only the following candidates can apply for a BAföG:

  1. Foreigners with German PR
  2. Foreigners with a German residence permit
  • Foreigners with a German residence permit

Even if you have a German residence permit, it doesn’t guarantee you will get a BAföG 100%. There are further requirements apply:

  • You are married to an EU citizen who lives in Germany as an employee, as a self-employed person, to look for work or for vocational training, and you accompany them.
  • Your mother or father is a citizen of the EU country who lives in Germany as an employee, as a self-employed person, or is looking for a job.
  • You are in possession of a settlement permit or a permanent residence permit according to the Residence Act.
  • You have your habitual residence in Germany, are recognized as a refugee outside Germany, and are entitled to stay in Germany.
  • You belong to the group of homeless foreigners.

For all other residency types, it’s harder to say whether you can qualify for a BAföG.

That said, if your sole purpose was to come to Germany to start an Ausbildung, you aren’t entitled to BAföG.

This is because the state only wants to support foreigners with an existing residence permit and if they have been living in Germany for a long time.

Generally, you must have been living in Germany for at least 15 months before you apply for a BAföG.

The essential requirement in both cases is also that you have your residency in Germany. It’s hard to say whether your case makes you qualified for funding. Read more details on this website.

You need to be of a particular age

BAföG is an age-bonded grand. Students and trainees must start their education before reaching the age of 45 to qualify.

BAB – Vocational training allowance

Another option to finance your Ausbildung in Germany is a vocational training allowance (BAB or Berufsausbildungsbeihilfe).

This monthly financial support is provided by the Employment Agency. The main requirement is that you don’t live with your parents during Ausbildung.

Generally, trainees are entitled to BAB if their training salary isn’t enough to cover living expenses. The maximum amount you can receive from the state is 781 EUR in 2023.

The final amount is calculated based on your earnings, the earnings of your parents, or your partner.

The prerequisite for BAB is also state-recognized dual training; thus, participants of school-based programs like nursing aren’t entitled to BAB.

All EU/EEA citizens can apply for BAB in Germany

The good news is that EU/EEA citizens can qualify for BAB. Moreover, non-EU trainees with a certain residence status can apply as well.

For further information, it’s good to contact your local employment agency. They are present in most German cities.

Requirements

To qualify for BAB, one of the following cases must apply to you:

  • You are taking part in a vocational preparation program (Berufsvorbereitende Bildungsmaßnahme, BvB) or you are preparing for a secondary school leaving certificate or equivalent school leaving certificate.
  • You are undergoing in-company or external vocational training in a recognized training occupation – Ausbildung and one of the following applies:
  1. A company where you do the training s too far away from your parents to stay at home (for people with parents in Germany).
  2. You are over 18 years old or married or live with your partner.
  3. You have at least one child and do not live with your parents.
  4. You are in the training preparation phase of an assisted training program (AsA)

Documents

Here are the main documents you need for the BAB application:

  • Ausbildung contract
  • A document stating your salary during Ausbildung
  • The tax assessment or the documents showing the annual salary for the last calendar year of your parents or your spouse or partner.

After you apply for a BAB grant, the Employment Agency will check whether you meet the requirements. You will receive their decision by mail (via letter). If you qualify for BAB, the money will be transferred to your bank account every month.

Read more here.

Rent subsidies (Wohngeld)

Rent support or Wohngeld is also a popular way of financing accommodation as a trainee in Germany. The average rent support people receive in Germany is about 370 EUR per month. The exact amount will depend on your salary and the salary of your parents/partner.

The biggest advantage of rent support is that you don’t have to pay it back. However, you can only qualify for Wohngeld if you don’t receive below mentioned grants.

Also, the good news is that foreigners can qualify for rent support too. For instance, there are no further requirements for EU/EEA citizens. Non-EU applicants must have a German residence permit and indicate how long they have lived in Germany.

To receive this funding, you must prove that you no longer live with your parents and have to pay for your own rent. Yet, if you are a non-EU foreigner and depend on your residence permit in Germany, it’s not advisable to apply for rent support.

The reason is that Germany wants to see you able to maintain your lifestyle fully without any state help. If they realize you receive funds from the government, they may question the next renewal of your residence permit.

Loan

The last option you have is to apply for a loan of student credit. If no fundings mentioned above and grants are accessible to you, a loan can be a feasible solution.

There are several types of loans you can choose from in Germany. The main categories are a student and personal loans. KfW is the most popular student credit and so-called education loan. Yet, there are different requirements for this type of financing.

For instance, trainees can qualify for a KfW loan only at the end of their training – in the last 24 months. Moreover, applicants must be at least 18 years old but no more than 36. The amount of financing varies from 100 EUR and 650 EUR per month.

The main advantage of education loans is that they are granted more flexibly and independently of your or your parent’s income.

Learn more about loans for students.

Living in Germany: types of accommodation

So you are starting Ausbildung in Germany and looking for a place to live? Luckily there are few options available.

Apartment

Renting an apartment is less common among trainees due to their low income. Students also are less likely to rent a whole place. Flats can be pricey in cities like Munich, Berlin, and Hamburg. So one bedroom outside Munich’s city center will cost you 1,023 EUR plus bills.

Besides, a deposit of two to three rents is typical when renting an entire apartment.

Generally, a typical rent price of a one-bedroom apartment is between 650 and 1,000 EUR per month, while you can get a studio for about 550 – 650 EUR, depending on the location.

Room in a shared apartment

If you don’t mind sharing space with others, a shared flat called WG in Germany is a great budget option. You will have your own bedroom and share the kitchen, living room, and bathroom with roommates.

A typical rent for a room in a shared apartment is between 350 EUR and 550 EUR. Prices vary significantly depending on the size of the room and the city.

You also will sign a rental contract, in most cases, with an individual renting the room instead of the owner of the apartment. And contracts for TV, internet, and telephone are shared between tenants.

A deposit of one to two rent is common when renting a room. A shared apartment is definitely cheaper, but it can be difficult to live with people that you don’t know.

Dormitory

Another option is a room in a dormitory. They are also called youth hostels. There you will share with others not only a space like a living room but your bedroom too.

A dormitory can cost you anything from 150 EUR to 650 EUR per month, depending on the accommodation type. There are shared rooms, private rooms, and studios available, hence, studios are more pricey.

For trainees, a dormitory is the cheapest way to live in Germany, but it’s hard to find. There aren’t many of them across the country. Plus, you will have almost no privacy; it will feel pretty much like in a youth hostel.

Cost of living in Germany as a trainee

How much money do you need to live comfortably as a trainee in Germany? The recommended threshold is 1,100 EUR per month. This includes rent, food, clothing, leisure, liability insurance, and phone/internet.

With this amount, you can rent a room in most cities and have enough to cover living expenses plus to go on some trips. To live in the apartment, you should have at least 1,500 EUR per month since rents in 2023 have increased significantly.

It’s less likely to find a furnished apartment for under 900 EUR. For example, a one-bedroom flat in the suburbs of Berlin costs 912 EUR per month plus about 100 EUR for utilities.

You might spend about 300 EUR on food, which includes weekly groceries and occasional eating out. Liability insurance is a must-have in Germany (especially when renting) and will cost you less than 3 EUR per month.

As a trainee, you will get a discount for a monthly travel pass, yet, expect to pay about 50 EUR in total.

Similarly to a university student, a trainee gets several discounts, including traveling and for some cultural activities, e.g., museums or theaters.

Ausbildung salary in 2023

There is a minimum salary for Ausbildung in Germany. In 2023, it’s at least 620 EUR gross per month in the first year of training. With each year, the salary increases.

So, in the second year of training, the salary rises to 732 EUR. In the third year, trainees earn at least 837 EUR, and in the fourth year, 868 EUR.

That said, the official minimum wage in Germany in 2023 is 12,00 EUR per hour. That brings about 2,080 EUR per month for a full-time worker. However, it doesn’t apply to Ausbildung. As you can see, the minimum salary for Ausbildung is lower than the standard rate.

However, the minimum compensation during Ausbildung doesn’t apply to all professions or industries. For instance, nursing is an exemption. This is because this Ausbildung program is regulated by the Nursing Professions Act.

The minimum salary also doesn’t apply to school-based vocational training, e.g., physiotherapists, speech therapists, or occupational therapists.

Also, programs regulated by collective wage agreements have different limits. Nonetheless, they are highest than the set minimum wage of 600 EUR. Here are some examples of gross salaries across various Ausbildung programs in Germany:

Occupation1 year2 years3rd yearFull-time worker
Merchant (Kaufmann)€890€920€1,020€3,052
Specialist in driving operations€877€920€1,000€2,400
Tool mechanic (Werkzeugmechaniker)€980€1,020€1,095€2,500
IT specialist (Fachinformatiker) in digital networking€883€1,065€1,150€2,000
IT specialist in data and process analysis€1,011€1,065€1,150€2,854
IT specialist in system integration€883€1,065€1,150€2,967
IT specialist in application development€883€1,065€1,150€2,844
IT specialist€952€1,020€1,120€2,100
Klerk Bundesbank (Beamter)€1,269€1,265€2,450
Information electronics engineer€746€800€880.00€3,000

Also read: Best paid Ausbildung programs in Germany.

Some of the well-paid yet common Ausbildung occupations are:

  • Bricklayers: 1,159 EUR
  • Mechatronics technicians: 1,088 EUR
  • Industrial mechanics: 1,082 EUR
  • Industrial clerks: 1,047 EUR
  • Insurance and finance clerks: 1,035 EUR

The five lowest-paid vocational training are:

  • Chimney sweeps: 518 EUR
  • Hairdressers: 584 EUR
  • Florists: 617 EUR
  • Bakers: 678 EUR
  • Painters: 718 EUR

Can you work part-time while doing Ausbildung in Germany?

If, after all the options we listed in this article, your salary during Ausbildung is still insufficient, the last option is to find one more job. But can you do it? Despite full-time occupancy, trainees are allowed to work part-time.

However, they may earn a maximum of 450 EUR per month. To do it lawfully, a trainee must inform a training company before they sign the contract with the employer.

An Ausbildung place has a right to refuse your new job if you want to work for a competitor company or if your performance in training suffers as a result.

In any case, you shouldn’t work more hours than the law allows. Moreover, with the income increase, you may lose entitlement to grants we mentioned previously, e.g., BAföG, BAB, or rent support.

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Nicholas

Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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