Ausbildung in Germany: Requirements in 2023

Ausbildung, also known as vocational training or apprenticeship, is a common educational and professional path in Germany. It’s profession-related training that leads you towards a certain job. Germany has more than 300 vocational occupations. Every program has different requirements, but it’s possible to find training with almost any educational background!

Requirements for Ausbildung in Germany in 2023:

  • Sufficient knowledge of the German language (at least level B1)
  • A school leaving certificate which is equivalent to the German (at least 9 school years)

Ausbildung or apprenticeship is a great way to get a professional education without paying any tuition fees. Furthermore, trainees get paid during the entire program. Sounds good? Read in this article what requirements foreign citizens should expect when applying for Ausbildung in Germany.

Requirements for Ausbildung (vocational training) in Germany 2023

Currently, many businesses in Germany are having difficulty finding trade professionals with special qualifications. Consequently, you have excellent chances of receiving an Ausbildung place.

Nonetheless, some basic requirements must be fulfilled by foreigners (and locals). Luckily apprenticeship programs in Germany have very few admission requirements, unlike programs for higher education.

A glance at requirements for vocational training (Ausbildung):

  • Sufficient knowledge of the German language (at least level B1)
  • A school leaving certificate which is equivalent to the German (at least 9 school years)

First and most important, you will need a good level of German to apply for and complete an apprenticeship in Germany. The lessons are given in German and work happens in German too. So far, there aren’t many English Ausbildung programs available in Germany.

There is no age limit. However, the minimum age is 17. Are there any age restrictions for Ausbildung in Germany? Read in this article.

Requirements for the Ausbildung visa

If you are a non-EU citizen, you must apply for a visa at the German embassy in your country or the immigration office if already in Germany. To be granted an apprentice visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

Professional (Dual) vs School-Based Ausbildung

Germany has two main types of Ausbildung programs, professional and school-based.

Professional (Dual) Ausbildung

The professional type of the Ausbildung takes place in a company. During the theoretical training, participants attend vocational school. This provides you with theoretical and practical knowledge about your profession.

Professional (dual) occupations in Germany

The typical trade jobs in Germany include handicrafts, nurses, bakers, merchants, electricians, ambulance workers, plumbers, masons, painters, hairdressers, etc.

Application requirements

For educational background, both junior high school (Realschule) and secondary school (Hauptschule) leaving certificates are accepted. Also, high school graduates can apply for professional vocational training.

Before starting your training, you will sign a training contract with your future training company. This contract specifies in writing, for example, your training allowance, vacation days, working hours, and the duration of your training.

For Ausbildung in Germany, applicants don’t need a specific school-leaving diploma to start a professional training program. In general, most educational backgrounds are accepted.

Besides, that companies can also determine which school-leaving qualifications they require from their future trainees. As a rule, at least a secondary school leaving certificate is expected. Even a start without a school-leaving diploma is possible but not easy.

Theory part during professional training

Classes at the vocational school take place either regularly, once or twice a week, or as a block of several weeks. During the theoretical phase, you will gain technical knowledge and the necessary skills for your future profession.

Practical part during professional training

The practical phase of the dual training takes place in the company where you are employed. Depending on the firm’s size, trainees usually go through various departments to gain experience.

This gives them a comprehensive insight into how the company functions and the different job responsibilities.

Duration of the professional Ausbildung

The duration of such training in Germany is between 2 and 3,5 years. Depending on your school leaving certificate, the period can also be reduced.

Salary during professional training

Trainees receive salary during professional Ausbildung. The amount varies depending on the occupation. For example, nurses get paid between 800 EUR and 1,000 EUR per month.

Read more about salaries for nurses in Germany.

However, on average, a trainee earns 908 EUR per month in Germany.

School-based Ausbildung

School-based Ausbildung is different from professional ones. During school-based training, you will have full-time classes and additionally several internships.

These training programs are more theory-heavy since students need more extensive theoretical knowledge for their future job. They occur in vocational schools, colleges, technical academies, and other schools.

Internships can take place either on certain days per week or as a block over a longer period of time. During training to become a food technology assistant, for example, you spend some time in laboratories to gain practical experience.

School-based professions in Germany

School-based Ausbildung includes many interesting occupations. They can be commercial, social, or technical. You can become a physiotherapist in the healthcare sector or an IT assistant in the technical field. Moreover, creative professions are available too, such as in design or media.

What are the best paid Ausbildung programs in Germany? Read here.

Application requirements

The schools will determine which requirements apply to future trainees. They also vary depending on the federal state and occupation.

Commonly one needs to complete junior high school (Realschule). However, some programs might be available just with a secondary school (Hauptschule) leaving certificate.

Most vocational schools have a minimum age requirement, which is usually between 16 and 18.

Duration of the school-based Ausbildung

School-based training usually lasts between one and four years. The duration depends on the respective occupation and your educational background.

Salary during school-based training

In contrast to professional training, trainees don’t receive an income during the school-based Ausbildung. You may even pay tuition if you decide to study at a private vocational school.

Read more about vocational training in Germany for non-EU citizens.

School leaving certificate for Ausbildung

A school leaving certificate is the main requirement when you apply for an Ausbildung in Germany.

To determine whether you meet the requirements for a specific vocational training program, you should get your school-leaving certificate recognized in Germany.

Hence, if you have completed foreign school in a non-EU country, you must get an Apostle on it so it can be recognized in Germany. After getting an apostle, an applicant must send a school certificate to the local recognition organization in Germany.

The recognition process isn’t complicated; you just send your translated documents to the responsible authorities in Germany.

On this platform, you can see how your diploma is acknowledged in Germany and who is responsible for recognizing your school certificates. Other (EU) school-leaving diplomas must be just translated into the German language.

Hauptschulabschluss (secondary school)

A secondary school leaving certificate is the lowest certificate you can get in Germany and other countries. It takes 9 years of school education to receive the certificate.

With a secondary school diploma, you can apply for various Ausbildung in Germany, including commercial and technical programs.

Realschulabschluss (junior high school)

“Real Schule” is the second stage of the school system in Germany. One gets a Realschulabschluss after completing 10 years of schooling. An application with a Realschulabschluss (junior high school) is accepted in almost every industry.

You have many possibilities in Germany from the automotive industry to gastronomy and trade to the social field.

(Technical) high school diploma

In Germany, high school certificates are divided into ordinary (general) and technical. They both have the same importance for vocational training.

With a high school diploma, all Ausbildung programs are available for you. Besides, you can apply to the German university or university of applied science.

However, the advantages of Ausbildung over studying at university are apparent: you will earn a good salary instead of paying tuition fees while getting your education.

Financial proof for Ausbildung

If you don’t receive a salary during the Ausbildung program in Germany, you must show financial proof when applying for a visa or residence permit.

It can be provided in different ways:

  • Working contract if you receive salary OR
  • Funds on the banking account of at least 600-700 EUR per month *12 (for a year)

What are the best paid Ausbildung programs in Germany? Read here.

Language certificate for Ausbildung in Germany

The last requirement for foreign applicants is the ability to speak and write in German because there are no English apprenticeships in Germany.

There is no legal requirement for a specific language certificate. The company or school will determine what they want to see. But as a general rule, these certificates are widely accepted in Germany:

  • German language certificate of at least level B1: Goethe, telC, TestDaF, German Language Test for University Admission.

Learn German first with the best online classes on the web.

The application process for Ausbildung

As a foreigner, you need to plan ahead when applying for Ausbildung in Germany. Some companies look for trainees as early as one year before the program starts.

In order to receive a spot in a vocational school, you need to apply and fulfill specific requirements (not many).

Your application must be compelling, in German, and addressed to the particular school. Companies often start looking for trainees a year before a program begins. So apply as soon as possible.

Your application should contain a CV, motivation letter, school, and German certificates. The motivation letter is very important and must emphasize why you want to pursue this profession at this particular school and employer.

  • Prepare your application documents

Since you have a different school-leaving diploma, and it’s in another language, you need to get it recognized and translate it to the German language.

The recognition process happens in Germany; you will be required to send your documents to one of the regional departments where you want to live in. Read more about it here.

  • Find and apply for an Ausbildung place

There are two main ways to find a place for Ausbildung in Germany.

  1. To apply from the home country and pass the interviews via Skype
  2. Or come to Germany on a special visa to seek an Ausbildung and find a desirable place (read more below)
  • Interview

If the HR department likes your profile, they will invite you to the interview, in person or via Skype/phone. The company may ask you to work for a trial period or complete a short internship. In this case, you can apply for a job seeker visa to come to Germany.

  • Apply for an Ausbildung visa

After receiving the contract with the school/employer, you can apply for a visa at the German embassy in your country or in Germany if you are already there. The visa costs 60 EUR.

Want to get a job in Germany? Start learning German today with the biggest online platform for languages – Lingoda.

What is Ausbildung?

Ausbildung is a dual vocational training (apprenticeship) for non-academic professions, where participants receive the necessary skills and knowledge for their professional activity.

The dual system means that participants spend about 50–70% of their time in companies and the rest in special schools.

This way, they have on-the-job training and work experience. Vocational training is a popular path to start working right after school. They work and study simultaneously while receiving a monthly salary during the entire program.

Depending on the profession, trainees may work for three to four days a week in the company/factory/firm/shop, and another part will be spent learning at Berufsschule (professional school).

This is usually the case for trade and craft occupations. Other professions, such as nurses, have block systems: 1-2 months of school followed by the same amount of practice.

Read more about Ausbildung in Germany here.

The typical programs usually last between 2 and 3 years. Upon completion, you can continue to work as an expert in the company, obtain further qualifications (e.g., master craftsman or even a study at university), become self-employed, or return to the home country to work here with the foreign qualification.

Especially Ausbildung in nursing has a high demand in Germany and is considered one of the demanded jobs at the moment.

Come to Germany to find an Ausbildung place

If you are currently abroad and want to complete Ausbildung in Germany, you can apply for a special visa to find a place. Hence, you can get to know your future employer and school personally. Furthermore, you can work for up to 10 hours per week.

Requirements for an apprenticeship seeking visa:

  • School leaving certificate
  • German language level B1
  • Maximum age 25
  • Financial proof 600 EUR – 700 EUR for a month
  • German health insurance
  • Accommodations in Germany

With the Ausbildung seeking visa, you are allowed to stay in Germany for up to 6 months, look for vocational training, and, if needed, do internships in potential companies of employment.

After successfully finding a place in the company, you can apply for an Ausbildung visa within Germany.

Check all salaries on – the best resource in Germany when it comes to earnings. 

Apply for an Ausbildung visa

After receiving a place for vocational training, you will need to apply for a visa to come to Germany and do your training.

However, citizens of Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, and the United States of America can travel to Germany visa-free and apply for a residency permit after arrival.

You should submit your application with all the required documents. Including:

  • Passport
  • Ausbildung contract
  • Financial proof: salary during the Ausbildung, funds on the banking account, or letter of commitment from a German resident
  • *Language certificate for nurses

The visa costs 100 EUR.

An employer is responsible for checking your language sufficiency; there is no language requirement for the Ausbildung visa. Nevertheless, applicants for nursing Ausbildung are obligated to have at least a B2 German language certificate. Is it possible to do Ausblidung in English? Read here.

*This rule was introduced on 1 January 2020 and took place in March 2020. All foreigners who want to do vocational training in the health care field will need to prove their language skills in order to get a visa.

What are the most demanded jobs in Germany in 2023? Read in this article.

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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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