What Is Ausbildung in Germany?

Aug 6, 2020Ausbildung

Ausbildung is also known as vocational training or apprenticeship, is a profession-related education that is leading you towards a certain job. Germany has more than 300 vocational occupations, and for each of these, you can find an Ausbildung program! Every program has different requirements, but it’s possible to find training with any educational background.

Vocational training (apprenticeship) in Germany is called Ausbildung and is a dual training program for non-academic professions. Participants gain theoretical and practical knowledge for their professional activity. At the same time, they receive a monthly salary during the entire program.

If you aren’t looking for a degree and a sedentary job this program will be the right choice for you. Moreover, you don’t need to finance your education, students will get paid! Read all about Ausbildung (vocational training) in Germany in this post.

What is Ausbildung?

Ausbildung is a dual professional training, a combination of theory and practice. It is a common way to receive a qualification in Germany without attending the university, however, jobs are usually trade and craft orientated.

Typical professions include nurses, bakers, merchants, electricians, ambulance workers, doctor assistants, plumbers, masons, painters, hairdressers, as well as gastronomy industry and hotel personnel. But often you will find an Ausbildung profession in almost all fields and industries.

Nevertheless, Ausbildung occupations are lower paid than academic ones and also have limited responsibilities. Although, the increase in both is possible with the experience and further training. Graduates have great job opportunities as vocational professions are in high demand in Germany!

During the Ausbildung, students get to study at vocational school and work in the company. The time load is divided as follows: 50%-70% of the time they spend at work and rest at school. Participants receive salary during the entire time, including time in school and at work.

Therefore, it is a common path for people with fewer years of school, who doesn’t want to study at university and would rather work and earn money right after school.

By the end of the program, students pass the exam and receive a certificate that allows them to work only in the concrete occupation they were trained for. This certificate is also recognized in many other countries including the EU, so you won’t be limited by Germany.

Since graduates are only allowed to complete tasks in their area of expertise, to expand these they need to complete further training and pass additional exams.

One fact you need to keep in mind is that Ausbildung won’t serve you as a ticket to the university, one needs to have Abitur (12-13 years of school) in order to attend a high degree institution. Some foreigners have misconceptions about Ausbilding in Germany, that they can study after, but it’s wrong.

The Purpose of Ausbildung

The main goals of Ausbildung in Germany are:

  • to provide a broad vocational education
  • to provide professional skills and knowledge which are required for a professional activity
  • to obtain the necessary professional experience

The Structure of Ausbildung in Germany

Ausbildung can be in 2 different forms in Germany: dual (duale) and educational (schulische). The first one is much more common than the second.

Dual Ausbildung also provides students with a salary and a lot of hands-on practical experience, when educational programs don’t always compensate participants and are more focused on the theoretical part.

Students of dual Ausbildung spend 3-4 days a week at work and 1-2 days in the professional school. A block system is also possible when they visit a school for some months and some months spend at work.

Although educational programs are more theoretical, some include practical work in companies or organizations as well. If chosen occupation includes practice trainees will attend school and work in blocks, for example, 3 months of school and 2 months of practice. This allows them to fully focus on one activity at the time, whether it’s studies or work.

Some examples of dual Ausbildung will be sale person, mechatronic technician, clerk, industrial clerk, etc. Occupations that logically should include more practice are usually dual and more theoretical once are educational.

However, educational Ausbildung is also possible in fields like technology, foreign languages, health and fitness, design, etc.

Some examples of educational Ausbildung are all medical professions including nurses, educators, speech therapists, physical therapists as well as machine operators, technical assistants for computer science, and others.

The second type of Ausbildung requires you to have practical experience in the fields you want to apply for, but only for some occupations.

Both Ausbildung variations last between 1 and 4 years depending on the program. In most cases, a student receives a salary during the entire time, the size of the salary also ranges widely from occupation to occupation.

Upon completion, participants can continue to work as experts in the company where they did the Ausbildung, as well as to obtain further qualifications (e.g. master craftsman or even a study at university), become self-employed, or return to their home country and work there with the foreign qualification.

Ausbildung in Other Countries

Ausbildung isn’t known worldwide, it is quite a unique program and exists only in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in the same form. In Germany, this educational path is way more popular than in both other countries.

However, similar versions of German Ausbildung are also available in other European countries, including France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain, Luxemburg, Czech Republic, and Poland. Moreover, the graduates from these countries can work in Germany too, as certificates are easily recognized.

There might be significant differences in length, salary, structure, and content of the program in each of these countries.

So You Want to Do Ausbildung in Germany?

After changes in the immigration law of Germany in March 2020, people from non-EU countries have better opportunities in Germany if they have vocational qualifications or want to complete vocational training (Ausbildung). 

Foreigners from all countries in the world can start vocational training in Germany. Graduates have very good career opportunities in Germany based on the current legislation: after the vocational training, foreigners can stay in Germany in order to work in this profession.

After 2 years of work, they will be able to receive a permanent residency for Germany.

Move to Germany as a qualified worker

Firstly if you already have qualifications which can be recognized in Germany as a vocational, you can move to Germany for work. Previously, this was only possible for people with a high degree diploma which is recognized in Germany. 

The reason for this is the shortage of skilled workers in the country. There are plenty of highly educated people who can do academic work and very few qualified workers. 

All occupations have chances in Germany

The second change is that you aren’t restricted by the shortage list anymore! Now you don’t need to receive approval from the employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit). Hence, you can apply for any occupation you are qualified for and receive a visa!

Come to Germany and look for a job

The third charge was made in job-seeking visa: now also holders of lower-tier qualifications (equal to vocational training) from non-EU countries can apply for this visa to seek employment in Germany. Before this opportunity was only available for university graduates. 

Come to Germany and find your Ausbildung place

And lastly, if you want to come to Germany to find a place for Ausbildung, you can do it! No more months-long searches for a place and Skype interviews, get to know your future employer and school personally. Furthermore, you can also work up to 10 hours per week during this time. 

Requirements for an apprenticeship seeking visa:

  • School leaving diploma
  • German language level B1
  • Maximum age 25
  • Financial proof 600-700 EUR for a month
  • Health insurance
  • Accommodation

However, if you are already in Germany it’s not necessary to provide proof of German language proficiency. It is not a requirement for the Ausbildung program.

After you successfully have found a spot in a professional school, you can apply for a visa for Ausbildung from Germany.

Read more in Vocational training for foreigners.

Will You Get Paid?

During most Ausbildung programs (vocational training) a student receives a salary, however, some don’t get paid at all. It’s only typical for educational Ausbildung such as physiotherapists, educators, fitness trainers, and other educational and medical professions (nurses are the exception).

If you choose these programs to be prepared to finance your life on your own, Ausbildung is free itself.

Salary During Vocational Training

The salary strongly ranges between the professions. On average, a trainee earns around 908 EUR gross, which is surely not bad. However, some programs pay only 500 EUR-600 EUR per month. 

The training allowance depends on the occupation, federal state, and employer. In addition, many companies offer their trainees some benefits, such as free transportation tickets, food, discounts, and others.

However, if you are depending on the Ausbildung salary check carefully, 500 EUR won’t be enough to live in Germany. For example, a hairdresser earns only between 340 EUR and 600 EUR per month. Check all salaries on Gehalt.de – the best resource in Germany when it comes to earnings. 

Engineering trainees and nurses earn 1,088 EUR gross on average. The salary you receive as a trainee increases with each year of training you complete. But part of your wage will be deducted for social security contributions and partly for income tax. 

Salary After Vocational Training

After completion of your program, you will be fully qualified and so eligible to work in your profession and earn a GOOD amount of money. 

The average starting salary after the Ausbildung is around 2,000 EUR. The amount is growing with time and obtained further training. Salary very depends on the occupations, nurses start with 2,500 EUR and young chef in the kitchen with 1,600 EUR.

Below you can see average salaries for BEST PAID Ausbildung occupations when working full time:

  • 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
  • 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 Gehalt.de, there you will see exact numbers and not some unreliable and unbelievable amounts. The tool allows you to see the salary according to your experience, location, size of the company and, etc.

If You Already Have Vocational Qualifications

Since 1 April 2012, it became easier to recognize foreign (non-EU) vocational certificates in Germany. Therefore, if you already finished the training you theoretically can work in Germany in the same or similar occupation.

Moreover, qualifications obtained in the EU are automatically recognized in Germany, and to start working candidates need to go through a small bureaucratic process.

Although, the potential employee will be most likely required to have some level of German. Ausbildung in Germany happens in German languages, with some exceptions. Moreover, the work environment for trade people is less international than for academics and requires you to work with Germans.

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