How to Become a Nurse: Requirements to Study Nursing in Germany

Get Started, Become a Nurse, Study in Germany

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.

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University or Vocational Training in Germany?

There are two main ways to become a nurse in Germany:

  1. University Degree (3 years)
  2. Vocational Training (3 years)

I will explain to you the main differences, requirements, advantages, and disadvantages.

Whatever you want to study nursing in Germany or work as a qualified nurse you need to translate all your documents if they aren’t on English or German originally. Lingoking is a German translation company which will help you to prepare all the necessary documents in the right way! Moreover, they also offer very affordable prices and super easy online platform where you can order your translation inclusive notarization! without any hustle and time-wasting.

University

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 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, University degree, of course, will offer more opportunities for 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 once, so they even don’t necessarily need to work as a practicing nurse.

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 also possible: who already holds a bachelor in nursing can apply for various Master programs to fast forward their knowledge and career.

A qualified nursing student in German is now almost guaranteed of 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.

University course covers all of the skills taught under the vocational training program and also take 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 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 competences.

Everyone must accomplish theoretical and practical part of the degree, in order to be graduated from University.

It 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, in rehabilitation centers, in-home nursing or in long-term care houses.

GERMAN-STUDENT-INSURANCE

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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.

Vocational Training

What is a Vocational Training for Nursing?

Vocational training also known as the Nursing Apprenticeship program, its a very popular way to become a nurse in Germany. 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 a 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:

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics
  • General Internal Medicine
  • Geriatric
  • Obstetrics (women doctor)
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • Psychiatric
  • Maternity and newborn care
  • Ambulatory care

So after completing vocational training, they become general professionals and able to work in all areas of medical care.

!Nursing has a high demand in developed countries and 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 :

  1. Financial independence – Individuals don’t have to depend on their parents for their living expenses or education. They earn enough to support themselves.
  2. Career Opportunities – A straightforward way to the job right after completing the training or university.
  3. 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:

  1. High intensity – Studies and vocational training are loaded with exams and tasks.
  2. Hard work – Especially during the internships hard, dirty or noncompetence required work often deligated to the young nurses.
  3. 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.

Read more about vocational training (Ausbildung) in Germany in these articles: What is Ausbildung? and Vocational training for foreigners in Germany.

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 university ot 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 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 their 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 the 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.

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)
  1. The first category is for general nurses which are working with adults in different departments.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 in the 3th year of training, because usually, the first 2 years will provide you with general knowledge.

In addition to the standard 3 years’s education, nurses can take additional courses to specialize in following fields:

  • Anesthesia and intensive care
  • Operations and endoscopy service
  • Oncology
  • Clinical geriatrics
  • Rehabilitation and long-term care
  • Palliative and hospice care
  • Hygiene
  • Nephrology
  • 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

For more information and assistance write us an email on [email protected]

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 it 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?”

Source: Salaryexplorer.com

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: the 1st year you will earn about 1,100 EUR, in the 2nd year about 1,200 EUR, and 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.

Recommended products and services in Germany:

Check out absolutely transparent salaries of nurses in Germany on the Gehalt.de.

This post contains affiliate links. The affiliate link means I may earn an advertising/referral fee if you make a purchase through my link, without extra cost to you. It helps to keep this blog afloat. Thanks for your support. 

34 Comments

  1. Hi,

    thanks for your Informations, It was very helpful for me to answer some of my queries. But I still have few more… I am living in Germany almost 9yrs and I have my permanent job and permanent residence permit. I would like to have my younger brother here to Study Nursing. He will finish this year High School and He is 19yrs. Which here in Germany the 12.Klasse. Now, It is possible that He will take first the German Language here until B2 or He must learn it before coming here? Should I start looking for School and Partner Company for the Ausblidung before preparing all the documents we needed for his Study? Our country is Philippines. Thank you so much!

    Best Regards

    Reply
  2. Hello Anna,
    I am Priyanka Karki.I am 25 years old. I came to Germany to study a Bachelor in Gender and Diversity. But I lost my interest to continue my field of studies. I had a dream to become a Nurse and help others, unfortunately I was not able to study because of my family’s economic condition. These days, I am doing my language class but not able to get the exact idea of admission criteria for nursing study. I am writing to you with my high expectation of getting guidelines from you. Thank you

    With regards
    Priyanka Karki

    Reply
    • I have also completed my bachelor in environmental science with 50.05% and now i also want to study nursing.. Is there any possibility that I can study nursing in germany?Mam please reply..

      Reply
      • Hi, pls can a 40 year old person with accounting background go for vocational nursing or university nursing in Germany and pls how can one go about it

        Reply
        • Hello, my name is ABANDA CLAUDE FONKWA. I am a Cameroonians age 31years . I am a certified nursing homes currently working and I would like to further my studies in Nursing. I would like you to help me get there thank you.

          Reply
          • Hello my name is Natasha aged 18 in Zimbabwe can I apply for nursing in Germany with only my ordinary level qualifications

  3. I’m 20 yrs old . Can I study nursing in Germany if I’m having a commerce background?

    Reply
  4. There are many things to learn, so much info on it.
    King regards,
    Dinesen Zacho

    Reply
    • You are welcome:)

      Reply
    • Now I’m 34 years old can I study nursing course in jermany?

      Reply
      • Minimum plus Two percentage to study nursing in Germany?

        Reply
  5. I’m extremely inspired along with your writing talents and also with the structure to your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is rare to peer a nice weblog like this one these days.

    Reply
  6. Please which is advisable to go for the vocational training or university

    Reply
    • Hi,
      I am 31 years old ow from India. I want to do nursing vocational training. Can I get admission into any university or college based on my age? Thank you

      Reply
      • Hi Siram, sure, there is no age limit.

        Reply
        • Please I want to study nursing in a vocational school in Germany am from Cameroon. How do I go about it. Besides,. I don’t even have a school in mind .could u please help me . Thanks so much

          Reply
        • Hi. Thanks for the elaborate explanation. Pls can a person who is 40 years old with accounting background go for vocational nursing or university nursing in Germany and pls how do one go about it

          Reply
    • I am 19 years old now from Zimbabwe I want to do nursing vocational training will I get any admission at any college or university

      Reply
      • Depends on your background, how many years you went to school.

        Reply
      • Hi

        Reply
    • Minimum plus Two percentage to study nursing in Germany?

      Reply
  7. Thanks alot, my daughter is doing bio medical, diploma in Kenya metical training college.. Can she be able to do nursing in vocational, as that was her dream to be a nurse..

    Reply
    • Thank you, Salina. If she can speak German or ready to learn it, sure! In fact, one of my classmates in nursing school was from Kenya!

      Reply
      • Hi
        I did A1 German and completed it
        I want to do vocational training in nursing
        How do I start the application process
        I’m currently doing online diploma courses in Nursing and various areas in the field

        Reply
        • Hello Ceemee,
          you need to have at least a B1 level of German to be able to apply.

          Best wishes
          Anna

          Reply
      • This was really helpful, I plan on going for a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

        Reply
        • Thank you, Joshua, and wish you the best in your nursing studies!

          Reply
    • Nursing student Visa for Germany

      Reply
      • Hello , i have a diploma in nursing ( 2 and half year ) and working in operation theatre as a scrub nurse since 5 years
        I was wondering if i want to apply for a nursing university in Germany , do i have to go to studienkolleg first ? Since last time i applied for a bachelor degree in chemistry in Germany ZaB informed me that my nursing certificate is not sufficient to get me into university
        To be mentioned i have a B2 certificate from Goethe institute too
        Thank you in advance for your reply

        Reply
        • Hi Reny,

          It very depends on your nationality and country where you graduate/received a diploma. Usually, yes if you don’t have an equal to German school leaving diploma you need to attend studienkolleg, the nursing certificate doesn’t help.

          Hope this helps.
          Best wishes,
          Anna

          Reply
          • Hello sir ,mem
            My wife done Ganral midwifery nursing {GNM} diploma in India with Deutsch language B1 . can she apply in your university . If yes , which course can apply please tell me, thanks

          • Hi!
            I am 30 years old and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.I really want to become a nurse and study in Germany.
            My question is,Can I study vocational school even though am 30?

          • Sure, there is no age limit.

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