How to Get a Job in Germany Without a Degree?

Work in Germany, Get Started

If you are a foreigner, who doesn’t have a degree and looking for a job in Germany, it can be difficult to know where to start and if it makes sense an all. Especially if you are from a Non-European country or don’t speak any german.

However, if you have some qualifications or work experience and basic knowledge of German, you have good chances of finding a job in Germany, especially in certain sectors with German worker shortages.

Depending on your nationality getting a job in Germany without a degree can be easy or hard. People from the EU/EEA can take any employment without restrictions. Citizens of Non-EU/EEA eligible to receive a job if they have some experience/qualifications for this job category in Germany.

There are many factors are playing an important role in getting a job in Germany. Such as your place of origin, is it Europe or maybe Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the US?

If it’s third country – non-EU/EEA, and not mentioned above, you will need to put more effort into receiving a job in Germany. This post explains everything you need to work in Germany without a university degree.

Getting Job in Germany Without a University Degree

Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. There are plenty of jobs for skilled professions as well as for casual workers without a degree. Although Germany is a degree-focussed country and obsessed with qualifications, they even have a school for waiters.

If you aren’t speaking German, finding a job will be more complicated. For native or fluent English speakers it is possible to find English-speaking jobs.

If you’re a citizen of an EU/EEA country you can easily move to Germany and start your job search without a university degree, since you don’t need a work permit.

You can choose from a wide range of jobs for unqualified workers in all sectors, depending on your goals and interests. Some can actually offer you a career, some are without any perspective and suit more to work occasionally.

For non-EU/EEA citizens, the process of finding a job without a university degree in Germany is not easy. Here main options if you fall into this category:

  • International developers can apply for EU Blue Card if they demonstrate at least 5 years relevant professional experience
  • If you find a job from shortage occupations list you can apply for a work visa in Germany
  • Apply for apprenticeship (Ausbildung) in Germany
  • Get a degree in Germany, you will be able to work and study at the same time and after graduation apply for the EU Blue Card

To employ non-EU/EEA citizens companies need to prove the reason why they don’t hire german or someone from the European Union. That’s why shortage occupations work in this case, there is simply not enough workers.

Nowadays companies slowly change their approach to hiring people. They start to employ more people without a traditional degree but with experience and knowledge instead.

These changes open new opportunities for foreigners to come to Germany and find work. For example, your chances to get a job without a degree are very high in the tech sector.

To find a job you need to have experience or expertise in that field. If you can convince the employer and he can justify his choice to hire you over a local applicant, you are likely eligible for this working visa.

Most people stay and work in Germany on the EU Blue Card, however, a university degree is compulsory. With exception for developers, they can receive it by having 5 years of experience.

Apply for apprenticeship (Ausbildung) in Germany

First and most important you will need good level of German to complete an apprenticeship in Germany. Reason for this organisation of most apprenticeships, they involve classroom-based training at a vocational school, where the lessons are given in German.

The good news is that Germany is highly demanding for skilled people, so the chances of finding a position as an apprentice are quite good. This training lasts for 2-3 years with 50% of your time at school and 50% at work. You will receive a monthly salary for all 3 years ( average 600-1,200 EUR).

After completing apprenticeship you will be eligible to work in your field and apply for a residence permit together with work permission. The highest-paid apprenticeship you can see under Best Non-Degree Jobs in Germany in this post.

There are separate apprenticeship training in Germany for each job from this list. But you can also gain qualifications in your country prior moving to Germany. Some jobs are not requiring any certification.

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Understand the Job Market in Germany

Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU, reaching a record low of 3.1% in October 2019. In some parts of Germany, it will be easier to find a job in some – harder.

For example, in the south of the country, the labor market is thriving, at the same time the eastern part experience some financial problems.

The German labor shortage is growing each year. As a foreigner willing to work without a degree, you need to understand which professions are in high demand. The so-called shortage list will give you an idea about the chances of receiving a job in Germany.

Many of shortage occupations do not require a degree, but some qualifications or experience in that area are necessary. In this official document, you can see all these professions or professions groups.

The aging population and a shortage of engineers, IT specialists, and healthcare staff, have become major challenges in the country.

If you fall into this category go ahead with job search, write companies if needed go through interviews (many employers are open to do it via Skype). Expect detailed questions on your job offer, your chosen field of employment, your current occupation, your desired salary, and so on.

And finally apply for your working permit at the German Embassy, or immigration office, in case you are already in Germany.

Of course, it relates only to Non-EU/EEA citizens, Europeans can just start working without permission, and they also can choose jobs outside of shortage list.

To make it clear: shortage occupations list was made especially for people from third countries (Non-EU/EEA, and Non-Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the US) to fulfill lack of labor in Germany.

Shortage Occupations in Germany

For many years Germany experiences a shortage of skilled workers in certain professions, where foreigners can get a job without a degree easier.

These include workers in mechanical, automotive, electrical and building industry, IT specialists (especially developers), health and social workers and certain manufacturing positions.

Professionals with vocational qualifications (Ausbildung) are also in demand. Due to an increasingly older population – workers in the geriatric, health and nursing professions are in the shortage list. English teaching, casual work, and hospitality jobs are also available for foreigners with language knowledge.

Occupations in shortage professions (2020):

  • Special(ist) power engineers (Techniker für Starkstromtechnik)
  • Metal turners (Dreher)
  • Black toppers (Schwarzdecker)
  • Milling machinists (Fräser)
  • Welders, cutting torch operators (Schweißer, Schneidbrenner)
  • Specialist technicians for mechanical engineering (Techniker für Maschinenbau)
  • Electrical installers, electrical fitters (Elektroinstallateure/Elektroinstallateur, Elektromonteure/Elektromonteur)
  • Special fitters (Schlosser)
  • Motor Mechanics (Kraftfahrzeugmechaniker)
  • Roofers (Dachdecker)
  • Construction joiners (Bautischler)
  • Cost accountant (Kalkulant)
  • Concrete fitters (Betonbauer)
  • Pipe installers, pipefitters (Rohrinstallateure/Rohrinstallateur, Rohrmonteure/Rohrmonteur)
  • Blacksmith and carriage builder (Huf- und Wagenschmiede/Huf- und Wagenschmiedinnen)
  • Special fitters (Spengler)
  • Train driver, stoker (Lokomotivführer)
  • Varnishers (Lackierer)
  • Carpenters (Zimmerer)
  • Special technicians for low voltage engineering and communication engineering (TechnikerInnen für Schwachstrom- und Nachrichtentechnik)
  • Floor and Wall Tilers (Platten-, Fliesenleger)
  • Ophthalmic opticians (Augenoptiker)
  • Nurses (Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger)
  • Auto body tinsmiths and radiator tinsmiths (Karosserie-, Kühlerspengler)
  • Pavers (Pflasterer/Pflaster)
  • Die makers, cutter makers and punch makers (Werkzeug, Schnitt- und Stanzenmacher)
  • Machine fitters (Maschinenschlosser)
  • Building fitters, sheet metal fitters, construction fitters (Bau-, Blech-, Konstruktionsschlosser)
  • Special technicians (Sonstige Techniker)
  • Retailer and seller of iron and metal goods, machines, household and kitchen appliances (HändlerInnen und VerkäuferInnen von Eisen- und Metallwaren, Maschinen, Hauhalts- und Küchengeräte)
  • Payroll accountants (Lohn-, Gehaltsverrechner)
  • Restaurant chefs (Gaststättenköche)
  • Construction and furniture joiners (Bau- und Möbeltischler)
  • Special coarse mechanics (Sonstige Grobmechaniker)
  • Special floor layers (Bodenleger)
  • Plastics processors (Kunststoffverarbeiter)
  • Special(ist) technicians for data processing (Techniker für Datenverarbeitung)
  • Wood machine workers (Holzmaschinenarbeiter)
  • Building plumbers (Bauspengler)
  • Special technicians in business administration (Techniker für Wirtschaftswesen)
  • Special medical-technical specialists (Medizinisch-technische Fachkräfte)
  • Electrical mechanics (Elektromechaniker)
  • Florist (Naturblumenbinder)
  • Bricklayers (Maurer)
  • Special technicians for civil engineering (Sechniker für Bauwesen)
  • Healthcare assistant (Pflegeassistenten/Pflegeassistentinnen)
  • Nurse (Krankenschwester)
  • Qualified healthcare assistant (Pflegefachassistenten)

Getting a Job Without Speaking German

To find a job without speaking German is possible, but difficult and options are limited. Answer this question before to start your job search:

Do you have skills that no one else has? Skills that will get you hired even without German?

Probably your English exceptionally good if you started thinking about working in Germany. Otherwise think once again. Also, make sure your qualifications and experience are relevant to the German labor market. Your target zone most probably will be larger international companies or multicultural startups.

Be aware of visa requirements, for non-EU/EEA citizens there are EU Blue Card and German working visa available.

Nationalities of Canada, the US, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea can come to Germany without a visa and start a job search. After receiving a job offer they also must apply for a residence permit with the ability to work (EU Blue Card or German working visa).

Europeans (EU/EEA) can just come to Germany and start working, no bureaucracy work is required.

In most cases, there’s no need to worry about the local language if these criteria can apply to you or your plans in Germany:

  • Highly Skilled Professional
  • Teaching English
  • Tutorial teaching of English subject at university
  • IT
  • Tourism
  • Gastronomy
  • Job in International Company

Well, if you want to fully integrate into your new country, make strong friendships, you’ll need to learn the local language.

Related: Working as a freelancer or be self-employed in Germany

Applying for a Work Permit & Visa in Germany

Your specific work permit requirements for Germany are strongly depend on your nationality. If you’re a citizen of an EU/EEA member state, you don’t need to apply for one.

Citizens of other states excluding Australia, Israel, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea, the US, need to apply for a visa and work permit from their home country. In case you need to apply for a German Employment visa.

IT developers can apply for EU Blue Card after demonstrating 5 years of experience and a minimum annual salary of 40,560 EUR since they fall into the shortage category.

Citizens of Canada, the US, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea can enter Germany without a visa and remain for up to three months. After receiving a job they can apply for residency and working permit within Germany.

Once you applied in your home country, the German diplomatic mission will contact the immigration department (Ausländerbehörde) in Germany. This office works together with the Federal Employment Agency, in the end, they decide if you receive a permit or not.

Details regarding the visa application process may vary according to your country of origin. Please contact your local German Embassy to check the exact work visa requirements.

If you have a higher education qualification that is recognized in Germany, you can receive a six-month visa to look for a job (German Job Sekeer Visa).

The probability of receiving a residence permit in order to work in Germany depends on your qualifications and the field you want to work in. As we spoke before professions from the shortage list will give you better chances, otherwise, the employer will have to justify why they choose you over other potential workers in Germany and the EU.

Best Non-Degree Jobs in Germany

Get a well paid and perspective job without a degree isn’t an easy task. German salaries are one of the highest in the world, although the employer will try to save some money on poorly qualified workers. To increase your chances get some qualifications and gain experience, so you can require a higher wage.

All of these professions don’t require a degree, but for most of them, you need qualifications, which can be completed either in Germany or your home country. Here is the list of best paid NON-DEGREE JOBS and average starting salary:

  • Dental Hygienists – 3,300 EUR
  • Real Estate Agents – 3,000 EUR
  • Nurse – 2,900 EUR
  • Truck Driver – 2,500 EUR
  • Air traffic controller – between 6,000 and 8,000 EUR
  • Aircraft mechanic – 3,100 EUR
  • Bank clerk – between 2,500 and 2,900 EUR
  • Policeman – 3,300 EUR
  • Ship mechanic – 2,700 EUR
  • Biologielaborant – 2,700 EUR
  • Senior caregiver – 2,640 EUR
  • Mason – 2,400 EUR
  • IT specialist – 2,400 EUR
  • Investment fund manager –  between 2,300 and 2,500 EUR
  • A merchant insurance and Finance – 2,400 EUR
  • Media technologist – 2,800 EUR
  • Technical system planner and product designer – between 1,600 and 2,900 EUR
  • Social Security Specialist –  2,000 and 2,500 EUR
  • Physics laboratory technician –  2,200 EUR
  • Mechatronic – between 2,000 and 2,900 EUR
  • Administrative specialist – 2,000 EUR
  • Undertaker – between 1,900 and 2,200 EUR
  • Electronics Technician – between 1,600 and 2,000 EUR
  • Civil Servant (Bundesbank) – between 1,800 and 2,200 EUR

The best platform to check salaries in Germany is, there you will see exact numbers and not some unreliable and unbelievable amounts. The tool allows you to see the salary with filters that influence the numbers such as experience, location, size of the company and etc.

Finding Jobs in Germany

The most important step in this process it’s actually to find a job. Here I collected resources that you need to find a desirable position.
Almost all jobs in Germany could be found at recruitment websites (Jobbörsen), or on companies’ websites. If the company language is German it will be described in German, if English accordingly in English.

Most popular websites:

Other helpful resources:

English-speaking jobs in Germany:

For people with a high degree:

  • Academics  – academic and research jobs
  • Jobware – management and specialist
  • Staufenbiel – internships and graduate jobs
  • Stepstone – includes internships and graduate positions


Recommended products and services in Germany:

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  1. Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article. I like to write a little comment to support you.

  2. I do not have Degree But Abitur and 14 Years Experience in the IT field. I am offered job by a company. Will I be able to get a work Visa/Work Permit?
    I am from Non-EU. But I am having Long-term Resident -EU status. will it change something?
    Looking for your advice.

    • Hi Amit,

      it’s hard to tell, if you don’t have any recognized in Germany qualifications. The decision will be most likely depend on the German Authorities. You might have luck.
      Better you write an email or call to the German embassy in your country.

      Best wishes


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