Advice on recognition of my qualifications

Do you have a foreign professional qualification that you want to get recognised?

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Information on recognition of qualifications

For some (but not all) professions, if you gained your qualification in another country, you need to get your qualification formally recognised before you can work in Germany.

The first step in the process is identifying the German profession that corresponds to the qualification you gained abroad. This is known as the reference profession.

Then the foreign qualification is assessed to see how far it corresponds to the content of training for that profession in Germany.
If there are significant differences between the qualifications, professional experience may compensate for them.
Different bodies are responsible for the recognition process depending on the profession concerned. Anyone wanting their qualifications to be recognised can apply to them. These bodies also set the fees for the process.

If you want to know which body is responsible for the recognition process for your profession, or you are not sure whether recognition is required for your profession, please contact one of our information centres.

Which documents do I need for the recognition process?

In most cases, you will need the following documents:

  • An application – a specific form is not required
  • A CV in German (in table format) including documents about key professional experience, activities and training
  • Your professional qualification with a list of grades and the subjects studied
  • Proof of your professional experience (where applicable or available)
  • Proof of your identity (your passport or ID card)

Please note: different documents may be required by different recognition processes.
We recommend you visit one of the recognition information centres in the IQ Network Brandenburg to get personal advice.

 


Questions and answers about recognition - FAQ

Why is it important to obtain recognition for a professional qualification?

The aim of recognising foreign qualifications is to improve access to the education system and labour market in Germany for people who hold foreign qualifications.

During the recognition procedure, the content, form and duration of training and qualifications are verified and, if recognition is obtained, they are given equivalent status to that of a German qualification.

Obtaining formal recognition is a mandatory requirement for practising a regulated profession. When you apply for a job in an unregulated profession, recognition is not required. However, doing so increases clarity as to the applicant’s existing professional skills, which enables employers in Germany to gain a better understanding of them. This means that recognition of qualifications can also improve access to the labour market for people in unregulated professions.

What is the procedure for obtaining professional recognition of a professional qualification?

Please seek individual advice from an IQ advisory centre.

The following documentation is generally required when applying to a competent body to obtain recognition:

  • Proof of identity (e.g. ID card or passport)
  • Certified copies of original certificates
  • Certified translations of original certificates
  • A CV in German (set out in table format) including documents about relevant professional experience, professional activities and training
  • A completed application form for the relevant competent body
  • A declaration as to whether an application has already been submitted (including in a different German state)
  • For regulated professions: written confirmation of the right to practise the profession in the country of origin

Please note: The documents required may vary according to the recognition authority / procedure in question (e.g. BVFG – The Federal Displaced Persons Act, BQFG – The Professional Qualifications Assessment Act, or underlying legal principles governing a regulated profession).

Following submission of an application, the competent body will acknowledge receipt of the application no later than one month after submission and will inform the applicant of any further documentation that may be required. Once all documentation is complete, the recognition procedure will take no longer than three months.

If, for good reason, the required evidence cannot be submitted or can only be submitted in part, the competent body will use other appropriate methods for assessing equivalence for unregulated professions, such as work samples, technical discussions, practical and theoretical tests or the opinion of experts.

What are the possible outcomes of a professional recognition procedure?

The equivalence assessment will result in one of the following outcomes:

 1. No significant differences

Full equivalence will be certified (notice of equivalence). This confirms legal equivalence to the corresponding German professional qualification.

 2. Significant differences

In this case, professional experience or additional training is not sufficient to offset the differences identified.
For unregulated professions, this will result in a notice of partial equivalence. This outlines the existing qualifications and how they differ from the German qualifications. When seeking employment, the notice provides greater clarity about the qualifications already acquired and enables the applicant to pursue further appropriate qualifications.

For regulated professions, this will result in the granting of a conditional professional licence, i.e. the applicant needs to take further action in order to meet the requirements for practising the profession in question (such as a proficiency test, a theoretical examination or a training course designed to bring skills and knowledge in line with German standards, in accordance with the laws governing the profession in question).

3. No equivalence

Recognition will not be granted if there is no equivalence between a foreign and a German qualification.
In the case of unregulated professions, the applicant may need to obtain further qualifications before working in the profession in question. In the case of regulated professions, further qualifications will be mandatory.

Which qualifications can be recognised?

  • Recognition of academic qualifications

The purpose of academic recognition is to align foreign examination certificates and academic courses of study with the German education system. For example, it may be necessary to obtain recognition in order to gain admission onto a course of studies or vocational training. The recognition authority in Brandenburg is the State Education Authority in Cottbus. For further information, go to: http://www.schulaemter.brandenburg.de/sixcms/detail.php/bb2.c.457919.de 

Universities are responsible for recognising foreign courses of study that have already been taken.

  • Recognition of professional qualifications

In the field of professional qualifications, a distinction is made between regulated and unregulated professions. Applications to obtain recognition of professional qualifications in the unregulated sector are usually made to the relevant chamber (the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Chamber of Skilled Crafts, the Chamber of Agriculture, etc.). In the case of regulated professions, applications should be made to the competent body responsible for granting authorisation to enter or practise a profession.

Regulated means that a person needs to hold specific professional qualifications before they can enter or practise the profession in question. To practise a regulated profession, it is mandatory to obtain recognition of the corresponding professional qualifications. Regulated professions include healthcare occupations, such as doctors, and educational occupations, such as teachers.

There are approximately 350 skilled occupations in the unregulated sector and 180 training qualifications in the dual sector. It is not strictly necessary to obtain recognition for these occupations, i.e. a direct application for a job can be made without a formal recognition procedure. However, it can be useful to do so, because it provides greater clarity about the foreign qualifications held.

It is not necessary to obtain formal recognition for unregulated university degrees, such as economics, biology, languages, IT, etc. However, to work in these professions, the applicant must be able to evidence the knowledge and skills acquired during the course of study by means of an official higher education certificate. To make it easier for the employer to compare foreign qualifications, you may apply for a certificate assessment from the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). This provides a comparison rather than a formal recognition of the qualification. The ZAB’s certificate assessment describes the foreign higher education qualifications held and indicates how these could be used professionally and academically.

For further information, go to: https://www.kmk.org/zab/zentralstelle-fuer-auslaendisches-bildungswesen/zeugnisbewertung-fuer-auslaendische-hochschulqualifikationen.html

The most important laws governing recognition of qualifications

 

Where can I get advice and support for questions relating to the recognition of professional qualifications?

You can get individual advice from IQ Network Brandenburg recognition advisory centres.

Where do I need to submit my application for recognition?

There is no overarching recognition authority for all professions.
The chambers are usually responsible for recognising skilled occupations in the dual system:

  • Industrial, technical and commercial professions: IHK-FOSA Nuremberg (Chamber of Industry and Commerce), point of contact for the whole of Germany
  • Skilled trades and crafts: HWK (Chambers of Skilled Crafts) in Frankfurt (Oder), Cottbus, Potsdam

Regulated professions: In Brandenburg, the state authorities are responsible for granting authorisation to enter or practise a profession:

  • Healthcare professions (including nurses, nursing auxiliaries, occupational health nurses, midwives, physiotherapists): State Office for Occupational Safety, Consumer Protection and Health (LAVG)
  • Medical professions (doctors, dentists, pharmacists, psychotherapists): State Office for Occupational Safety, Consumer Protection and Health (LAVG)
  • Geriatric nurses: Brandenburg State Office for Social Affairs and Patient Care (LASV)
  • Teachers: Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MBJS)
  • Engineers: Brandenburg Chamber of Engineers (BBIK)
  • Childcare professionals: State Education Authority Cottbus
  • Social education workers and social workers: Brandenburg State Office for Social Affairs and Patient Care (LASV)

How much does the recognition procedure cost?

You usually have to pay a fee for recognition procedures. Fees are determined according to the competent body’s charging system and are dependent on the specific costs incurred when carrying out the procedure.

Current fees range from € 25 to € 1,000, depending on the type of qualification and the competent body.

IHK FOSA and the Chambers of Crafts and Trades charge between € 100 and € 600, depending on the requirements of the procedure. The fee payable for a notice of rejection is between € 100 and € 200.

The Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB), which assesses unregulated academic professions, charges € 200 for an individual certificate assessment.

Further costs may be incurred for authentication, translation or copying services.

 

What are the sources of financial assistance available for those seeking recognition?

The applicant must initially pay all costs resulting from the recognition procedure. However, financial help may be available:

  • For employment agency and Job Centre clients, if it can be demonstrated that obtaining recognition will assist the applicant to enter the labour market. You can access further information about this from employment service specialists at Job Centres and employment agencies. There is also further information at: https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/de/foerderung_nach_sgb_II_sgb_III.php
  • People with limited financial resources, especially those who are employed in occupations below their qualification level, can take advantage of financial assistance for the recognition procedure. Advisory centres that advise applicants seeking recognition of their qualifications and/or which verify the recognition procedure can forward the application for financial assistance to the central funding agency. For further information, go to: https://www.anerkennung-in-deutschland.de/html/de/anerkennungszuschuss.php

 

As an employer, where can I go to obtain information and advice about the recognition procedure?

You can get individual advice from IQ Network Brandenburg recognition advisory centres.

As an employment services advisor, where can I go to obtain information and advice about the recognition procedure?

You can get individual advice from IQ Network Brandenburg recognition advisory centres.

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