Recognition of qualifications

RECOGNITION OF FOREIGN ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS

There are a large number of different professional training courses and lots of names for similar professional qualifications. German companies will often not be familiar with your professional qualification. The company will read the name of the qualification in your application, but will not know what you can do and whether you are sufficiently qualified for the job on offer.

Recognition of foreign academic qualifications

Only full qualifications and no part qualifications will be recognised as academic qualifications obtained abroad. Different bodies are responsible depending on what type of qualification you wish to have recognised and for what purpose:

 

  • The 'Zeugnisanerkennungsstelle' is responsible for recognition of your educational qualifications. In the Stuttgart Region, this is the Department of Evaluation and Recognition for Certificates of Education from Abroad and from other German Federal States at the Regierungspräsidium Stuttgart (Regional Council).
  • The international office or the office for student affairs of the target university is responsible for recognition of your foreign higher education entrance qualification for commencing studies in Germany.
  • The international office or the office for student affairs of the target university is responsible for recognition of study and exam credits.
  • The international office of the target university is responsible for admission to master's and doctorate degrees.

Helpful hint: Admission to a study programme and the assessment of study credits by an institute of higher education only entitles you to study at that third-level institution and does not constitute formal legal recognition of your qualification for all German institutes of higher education.

Recognition of professional qualifications

Recognition of a professional qualification means assessing and - if the outcome is positive - confirming the equivalence of a foreign professional qualification with a German qualification.

For some qualifications it is helpful to have the qualification recognised. For others it is a prerequisite in order to be able to work in Germany. This depends on what your profession is.

Regulated professions

You can only work in these professions if you have a very specific qualification. Examples include professions such as doctors, elderly care nurses and lawyers. It also applies to master tradespersons who are self-employed. If you wish to work in a regulated profession, you must have your professional qualification recognised. You can use the Recognition Finder or look under 'Reglementierte Berufe' (Regulated professions) on BerufeNet at the Federal Employment Agency to find out if your profession is regulated. You can found out about the recognition procedure under Recognition procedure.

Unregulated professions

Most professions are unregulated. Examples include business clerks, computer scientists or bakers.

Even if you are not obliged to have your qualification recognised, it may still be helpful to obtain recognition. This is also the case for partial equivalence, i.e. where your profession only corresponds to a German profession in parts. This will let companies know from your application what you can do, leaving a good impression in the application procedure.

Helpful hint: If you want to immigrate to Germany from a country outside of the European Union with your completed professional training, you first have to have this training recognised in order to be able to work in Germany. This recognition is independent of the work permit.

Regulated professions

1. Find out whether or not you have to have your professional qualification recognised! For example, you can get advice from the AWO Stuttgart Anerkennungs- und Qualifizierungsberatung for the recognition of foreign professional qualifications or the Recognition in Germany portal.

2. Find out what authorities or official body you can apply to. This will depend mainly on your profession and on where your job is located. The IHK Fosa is responsible for professions in trade and industry, while the Chamber of Craft Trades (HWK) is responsible for craft trades. The fastest way to find your contact person is using the Recognition Finder.

3. Speak to the authorities responsible before submitting your application. They will provide you with all of the necessary forms. They will also tell you which documents you need for the application and which documents you will have to have translated. Fill in the application forms and send everything to the authorities responsible.

4. You will receive an official notice from the authorities responsible within three months. The notice will tell you whether your foreign professional qualification is equivalent or similar to German professional qualifications. If the authorities find that the qualification is not equivalent, in the case of regulated professions it will list specific measures that you can take to remedy the differences. In the case of unregulated professions, the notice will explain the existing qualifications and the differences from the German reference qualification. This will help you and potential employers to assess your qualification correctly.

 

Who needs to have their foreign professional qualifications recognised? And how does the recognition procedure work? A two-and-a-half minute video on the Recognition in Germany portal answers these questions in a brief and easy-to-understand manner.

The Stuttgart Region Welcome Service is an offering by Stuttgart Region Economic Development Corporation (Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart GmbH) for Stuttgart Region Skilled Specialists Alliance (Fachkräfteallianz Region Stuttgart), funded by Baden-Württemberg’s Ministry of Finance.