Are you interested to become a nurse in the country with one of the best medicine and health systems in the world? In addition to this German economy is one of the strongest in the world. Therefore you can be sure your work won’t be underpaid.
Working as a nurse it’s one of the popular professions in Germany and interest is growing with salary and conditions for employees. Everyone willing to become a practicing nurse will need to have a corresponding qualification for this.
In this post, I have summarized the most relevant information about how to become a nurse in Germany and more importantly requirements you will need to fulfill.
Related: “How to work as a nurse in Germany”
Requirements to study Nursing in Germany
General requirement to enter the University are:
- University Entry Qualification A level (Matura) or
- Preparation course with additional qualification
- Sufficient German level at least B2
- Financial prove of 10,000 EUR or
- employment contract with a salary above 900 EUR
- Entrance Examination
- After approval are required
- Good health and mental condition
- Proof of current vaccination status
- Criminal record (home country or Germany)
- Relevant professional qualifications if applicable
- Trustworthiness and responsibility
If you are just coming to Germany from abroad to study Nursing you will need to apply for a student visa in your home country. An important aspect of this is financial security. Therefore you will need to prove at least 10,000 EUR on your bank account.
Also, don’t forget to take into account the tuition fee, you will need to pay it as well. It will depend on the university you apply to, usually costs range between 120 – 300 EUR per semester.
After you have considered every aspect up to this point, the next step to study nursing in Germany will be to send your application to the university of your choice.
All documents which aren’t originated in German must be translated, you can order online all kind of translations by using this platform.
It is recommended to send your documents as soon as the application procedure is open, so you will have enough time to prepare your visa. You can do it straight by simply emailing it to your university or through the admission portal www.uni-assist.de.
For your visa application as well as for future stay you will need a German health insurance, check out the best ones out there in this post.
Working as a Nurse in Germany: Overview
A bit of my background: In the past, I attended the Child Nurse Vocational training in Germany and did a practical part in the hospital, however, I left after 4 months. It was completely rights decision to make since the job isn’t for me, but still, I want to share with you information I know and hope it is helpful for your journey to becoming a nurse in Germany.Russianvagabond
As you already know being a nurse in a very popular destiny for many people in Germany, despite their gender. Nevertheless, many women and men have a beautiful and unrealistic image of a nurse’s job and overlook the fact that the job is often stressful and exhausting in practice.
If you are interested in becoming a nurse and fulfill the requirements for this, you probably already know all the duties you have. The main tasks are:
- Accompany and care for patients
- Treat the elderly and sick according to doctors instructions
- Plan care measures, notice and document them
- Serve as a contact person for relatives, doctors, and therapists
The area of responsibility of the certified nurse includes the care of sick people of all ages with physical and mental illnesses, of people with special needs, or seriously ill and dying people. In addition, they provide prevention, health promotion, and health advice.
Besides general tasks, you will face quite a lot of bureaucracy. Everything must be accurately documented – every patch change, every tablet. Computer work often takes up to three hours of a working day. Consequently, this leaves less time for direct contact with patients.
Completing an internship is very recommended, so future nurses at least will see a full picture of the job.
University or Vocational Training in Germany?
There are two main ways to become a nurse in Germany:
- University Degree (3 years)
- Vocational Training (3 years)
I will explain to you the main differences, requirements, advantages, and disadvantages.
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In many other countries, completing a University degree is a classical way to become a nurse. However, in Germany, this system is still new, only in the last 10 years nursing degree programs started to pop up in various universities across the country.
Usually, they are a part of (Dual) cooperation with the hospitals and clinics, so students study and work part-time.
The program lasts for 3 or 4 years and graduates finish with Bachelor of Science in Health + professional qualification in health and nursing or Bachelor of Science in Nursing + Diploma in health and nursing.
Although both a Bachelor’s degree and vocational nursing training allow you to work as a nurse, a University degree, of course, will offer more opportunities for the future career.
And most importantly graduates will climb career latter faster, than training nurses. The second one usually will need a significant amount of experience to be able to move forward.
University graduates can take up more responsible jobs and also more administrative ones, so they even don’t necessarily need to work as practicing nurses.
The most popular path is when after finishing a program they become nurse teachers at vocational schools. But many also combine their nurse job at the hospital with the teaching profession.
Further education is also possible: those who already hold a bachelor in nursing can apply for various Master’s programs to fast forward their knowledge and career.
A qualified nursing student in German is now almost guaranteed a job post once they are enrolled in the program.
What will you learn at University?
The courses at university are adapted to international Standards and include not only nursing aspects but also Psychology, Health Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, and a comprehensive understanding of health and illness.
To be able to communicate with patients in the best possible way, consulting techniques are taught, conversation guidance, but also the important area of the organization as well as law and ethics.
Because in the end, the degree must give you all that nurses need to optimally care for and treat sick people, the training should be comprehensive so it also prepares for the higher job positions with more responsibility.
The University course covers all of the skills taught under the vocational training program and also takes into account the ever more complex needs of persons in need of care.
The study at University include:
- General medical basics
- Basics of nursing
- Theories and concepts in professional care
- Profession, law, and economy
- Scientific Work
- Social communication skills and self competences
- Pathology and diagnostics
- Health Sciences
- Special health and nursing care
In addition to the courses at University, a big focus is placed on the practical part of the study program. The length depends on the University, on average about half of the study program will be dedicated to the practical experience.
This is the perfect way for students to gain an insight into working life, implement knowledge and gain qualifications and competencies.
Everyone must accomplish the theoretical and practical part of the degree, in order to be graduated from University.
In the practical part, students go through classic nursing fields such as long-term care, acute care, or mobile care. In general, they complete internships in all areas of care, for example in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, in-home nursing, or in long-term care houses.
Apart from the health insurance you also need a banking account. Our recommendation is DKB, they have special deals for students and trainees. Setting up an account doesn’t take long, they work fully online. For more information read this post about the best banking accounts for students in Germany.
What is a Vocational Training for Nursing?
Vocational training is also known as the Nursing Apprenticeship program, it’s a very popular way to become a nurse in Germany. The program was made for people who are interested in pursuing a nurse career in Germany but don’t have the required education.
Basically, the training takes place at a nursing school, which has the necessary state recognition. It usually lasts for 3 years and ends with the state examination.
After successfully passing the exam, students qualified as Registered Nurse which enables them to immediately start working accordingly profession.
The training as a nurse is organized in schools, with the students later attached to the various hospitals and departments where they gather practical experience. During the three-year training, 2,100 hours must be invested in theory and 2,500 hours in practice.
Notice that the same as the university practical experience is obligatory while taking vocational training!
In both cases, while studying at university and completing the vocational training students receive a monthly salary, the amount depending on organization and year of education (see more details down below).
The content of the training is tightly organized and structured, it includes not only courses on health and nursing care, but nursing and health sciences, as well as scientific and medical basics, development of nursing all these, are relevant knowledge from the humanities and Social Sciences.
The training prozess is usually divided into six-week blocks sometimes longer. Especially in the first year, students learn a lot of theory and clearly, it’s important for future internships.
The practical lessons at school include the following subjects:
- Body care
- Associations create and change
- Prevention and care of pressure ulcers
- General Wound Care
- Administration of medication
As a part of the internships students will need to work in ALL departments:
- General Internal Medicine
- Obstetrics (women doctor)
- Maternity and newborn care
- Ambulatory care
So after completing vocational training, they become general professionals and are able to work in all areas of medical care.
!Nursing has a high demand in developed countries and is considered to be one of the demanded jobs at the moment, Germany has opened its door to Non-European applicants a long time ago, so they can come to pursue Vocational Training and work afterward.
The advantages of attending either University or vocational school and becoming a nurse in Germany are :
- Financial independence – Individuals don’t have to depend on their parents for their living expenses or education. They earn enough to support themselves.
- Career Opportunities – A straightforward way to the job right after completing the training or university.
- Practical and Theoretical training – Both programs cover practical and theoretical parts, which helps nurses to have a wider understanding of the role and helps in their professional growth.
But there are also some disadvantages:
- High intensity – Studies and vocational training are loaded with exams and tasks.
- Hard work – Especially during the internships hard, dirty or noncompetence required work often deligated to the young nurses.
- Shift work hours– Even during the internships you will have to work in shifts most of the time, however, this usually doesn’t include many night shifts.
Requirements for a Nursing Vocational School
- Sufficient German level at least B2
- School-leaving Qualification which is equivalent to the German
- The minimum age is 17 years and successful completion of 10 school levels or
- 18 years and corresponding additional education
- Physical and mental health and fitness
- Trustworthiness and responsibility
No matter whether you want to study at a university or vocational school applicants need to bring several key skills to the job. They need to be diligent, emphatic, responsible, emotionally stable, and in good physical shape in order to meet the wide range of tasks, they will be faced with.
To apply for the vocational school you will need to reach hospitals because they usually post job ads and hire for this position. Each such a hospital has a vocational school where you will have a theoretical part.
Therefore you will be employed in this hospital and its partners during the practical part.
After you have sent the application, cv, and cover letter to the, you will generally be invited for an interview, sometimes first by telephone.
Usually, you will hear from them in a couple of days or weeks if you are accepted for vocational training or not. If yes hurry up to apply for an apprenticeship visa.
You can either do it from the home country or already in Germany. Logically, in Germany, this process will be way easier and faster and you can start working and attending school with the couple of days.
For an exact packet of documents check out the website of your local immigration office or german embassy in your home country.
Apply for a job or vocational training in Germany
If you want to apply for a job or vocational training in Germany, but struggling with the lengthy application process, now you can use a special template provided by a professional firm in Germany. They know how your CV, the motivational letter should look like. Vorlagen-Center has hundreds of different templates carefully crafted for a particular job profile.
They also provide documents for trainees, interns, and working students. You will just need to fill in your personal information and apply for a dream job in Germany!
Which Career Opportunities You Can Expect as a Qualified Nurse?
There are so many ways with a nursing university degree or vocational training that it is hard to notice all of them. Most important is to choose a specialization you want to work in.
Since the german medicine industry is very diverse and specialized. Most of the nurses choose one direction and work there all life.
In general, there are the following specializations to choose from:
- regular nurses
- geriatric (gerontological nurse)
- paediatric (child nurse)
- The first category is for general nurses which are working with adults in different departments.
- The second is a type of nurse that helps care for aging and elderly individuals. They can complete special training that helps them better understand the special needs of many elderly people.
- The last type is children’s nurse, they care for sick, injured or disabled children and young people but also the infants.
Normally when you apply either for university or vocational training you can already choose your direction. In apprenticeship, you can also decide on the 3rd year of training, because usually, the first 2 years will provide you with general knowledge.
In addition to the standard 3 years’ education, nurses can take additional courses to specialize in the following fields:
- Anesthesia and intensive care
- Operations and endoscopy service
- Clinical geriatrics
- Rehabilitation and long-term care
- Palliative and hospice care
- Psychiatric care
Potential employers are hospitals and nursing homes, but also, depending on the type of training completed, ambulatory care, residential homes for the elderly, home care, children’s hospitals, and many more.
Some popular places for work as a nurse are:
- Specialist practices
- Health centers
- Old people’s homes and nursing homes
- Dormitories for people with disabilities
- Outpatient social services
- Insurance Companies
How Much Do Nurses Earn in Germany?
When I googled this question, I found really surprising information about salaries in nursing. As you can see on the graphic the lowest salary is 6,280 EUR which is absolutely insane. This salary might earn an experienced CEO, or leading engineer, but not a nurse.
Related: “How much nurses earn in Germany?”
So don’t trust all the information out there, the true salary is between 1,000 – 1,200 EUR during the vocational training and 2,500 EUR while working as a qualified nurse full time.
The best and trustworthy source to check the salary of a particular profession in Germany is Gehalt.de.
There you can even calculate the exact amount which finally lands on your bank account (brutto/netto). Usually, other resources share only the gross salary.
The tool also allows comparing your salary with other nurses in different departments/hospitals. Here are more exact numbers on salary during the vocational training: in the 1st year you will earn about 1,100 EUR, in the 2nd year about 1,200 EUR, and in the 3rd year about 1,300 EUR.
The amount varies slightly from one state to another. Be aware that is it the gross salary, without the tax, it will be around 200-300 EUR less.
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Check out absolutely transparent salaries of nurses in Germany on the Gehalt.de.