Medical residency for doctors in Germany – is it worth it and what to expect
I. The benefits of medical specialization in Germany
The shortage of doctors in Germany is high. For this reason, the chances of foreign doctors specializing in them are quite good. But what makes Germany so attractive for foreign doctors?
1. High level of specialization education
Compared to other countries, the level of specialization in Germany is very high and you can specialize in almost all fields. All clinics, including clinics in small towns, are equipped with very modern medical equipment and offer a wide range of examinations and manipulations, complementary training, and specialization with specialists of high rank.
2. No long waiting times for a specialization position
Unlike in Austria or Switzerland, for example, there are no long waiting periods for a place to specialize in Germany. This is because specialization is offered not only in university clinics, but in many different clinics, both for emergency care and rehabilitation.
In Germany, there are several types of clinics, depending on who owns them.
– State clinics – run by the state, city, or federal government.
– Non-profit clinics – run by a non-profit organization, e.g., church organizations.
– Private clinics – those that are privately owned, e.g., Helios, Asclepios, Ameos, etc.
All these three types of clinics offer similar working conditions, and you can specialize in all three types. The more open you are at the start to different opportunities, the better your chances are.
2. Flexibility during specialization
During your specialization in Germany, you are allowed to change clinics without losing time from your specialization.
You can also change your specialty. Up to 1 year spent in one specialty is recognized for almost all other specialties.
4. No examinations for obtaining a specialization place
Unlike some other countries, in Germany you don’t need to take equivalence or other medical exams if you want to specialize in a particular field. The only exams you have to take are language exams – in general and medical German at C1 level.
5. The salary is equally high regardless of the clinic and you get paid from the first day of your specialization
From the first day of your specialization, you get an employment contract with a basic salary and payment of all social security contributions. The salary starts at 4.800 € gross in the first year of specialization and increases with each subsequent year. This corresponds to a net salary of around 3.300 € (net salary, of course, depends on many individual factors, such as being single/married or having children). After a few months, when you start taking on on-call duties, you get paid extra for them. In the attached sheet you will see the current gross salaries of resident doctors and specialists in the state clinics according to years of experience. In other clinics (private and non-profit clinics) the salaries are also close to these.
|Position||1st year||2nd year||3rd year||4th year||5th yeas||6th year|
|resident||4.852 €||5.127 €||5.323 €||5.663 €||6.069 €||6.236 €|
|specialist||6.403 €||6.940 €||7.412 €||7.687 €||7.955 €||8.224 €|
6. In Germany, employees are very well protected by law
Protection from contract termination
The German law protects employees to a high legal degree. For example, after the trial period (the first 6 months after starting a new job), your employer cannot terminate your contract just like that unless there is reasonable cause and prior notice. The valid reasons allowing termination are extremely limited and regulated by law.
In Germany, you get paid maternity leave (Mutterschutz) for a total of 14 weeks – up to 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after giving birth. During maternity leave, you receive 100% of your salary.
In addition, you are entitled to so-called “parental leave” for up to 2 years per child. During this time, your employer is obliged to keep your place of work and you have the security that you can return to work after this “parental leave”, the so-called Elternzeit. Both parents of a child are entitled to parental leave. This applies regardless of whether the other parent also has to be on parental leave at the time. This regulation does not only apply to the child’s biological parents but covers a variety of family situations.
During parental leave, you will not receive a salary from your employer. However, you can apply for parental pay. This is financial help from the state to compensate you if you temporarily work less or not at all during parental leave. The amount you get can be up to 65% of your basic salary.
II. Conditions of life in Germany
Germany is a very highly developed country where order and punctuality are of great importance. Advantages of living in Germany are:
1. The German social security system
The German health and insurance system is one of the strongest in the world. As an employee, you insure yourself entirely through your employer, and for people in financial hardship, the state provides solid support, both financially and through housing.
2. A good lifestyle
Life in Germany is not cheap, but the medical profession is one of the best paid. So, your salary (even as a specialist) will allow you to lead a very good lifestyle and afford everything you need.
Here is an example summary of the average cost of living in Germany for one person. These approximate costs are based on data from the Federal Statistical Agency in Germany and concern a single household. Of course, for families, some of the costs overlap. Please note that they are very dependent on the region and individual situation.
|Housing (rent or loan payment, energy costs, utilities, appliances, etc.)||1.000 € monthly|
|Food and beverages||402 € monthly|
|Clothing||100 € monthly|
|Cosmetic supplies||120 € monthly|
|Transportation costs||300 € monthly|
|Free time and cultural||250 – 300 € monthly|
|Communications (phone, internet etc.)||70 € monthly|
3. Good chances for integration
The Germans have a high acceptance of foreigners, they offer different programs and courses and if you have the desire to live and integrate there, all doors are open to you.
III. How and where can I learn German language?
If you have decided that Germany is the right country for your career, learning German at a high level is key to achieving your goal. To assist you in this quest, we have put together some important tips to help you.
What level of German do you need to specialize as a doctor in Germany?
In order to work as a doctor in Germany, you need to have a certificate in General German for at least B2 level and also pass an exam in Medical German in Germany at C1 level. Since the Medical German exam requires a C1 level of General German, which is also necessary for communication in the clinic when starting work, it is advisable to anticipate the following stages:
- Preparation for the C1 level of General German
- Passing the C1 Certificate in General German (Recommended telc or Goethe)
- Preparation for the Medical German exam
- Passing the Medical German exam
In this way you will be able to prepare yourself gradually and optimally, both for the exams and for the work and life that await you in Germany.
In addition, a good command of German and possession of the relevant certificates will significantly increase your chances of obtaining a good specialization place and make your profile more competitive compared to doctors with a lower level of German.
How long does it take to learn General German at C1 level?
This depends largely on the following factors:
– How much time can you spend learning German per day/week?
– How do you study – on your own, with a group, with a private teacher?
– Do you know another foreign language?
Considering these individual factors, you can also predict the following about learning German. To cover the different levels, you need an average of:
A0 – A1: 60 -100 study hours
A1 – A2: 90 – 100 study hours
A2 – B1: 130 -150 study hours
B1 – B2: 180 – 200 study hours
B2 – C1: 150 – 200 study hours
Keep in mind that you can cover these study hours with a course, private tutoring, or self-study.
Group course or individual tuition?
For beginner levels: up to B1 we recommend taking a group course. As the prices for individual lessons are high and it is important to establish the general basics of the language at the beginning, group courses are more suitable for these levels.
At higher language levels, it is essential to anticipate the following factors:
- Active speaking practice is important.
- It is important to iron out individual mistakes left over from previous levels.
Therefore, for levels B1, B2 and C1, preparation with a private teacher (individual or in small groups) is recommended, in combination with self-study and optionally in addition with a group course.
How long does it take to learn medical German?
This also depends a lot on the type of preparation. The Medical German exam consists of the following components:
– Taking a patient history (actor)
– Preparation of medical documentation (epacrises)
– Presentation of a medical case to a chief physician
Depending on the federal province and the committee, the following components may also be present:
– Verbally providing information about a particular manipulation or surgery and obtaining informed consent
– Discussion/transfer of patient to another department or clinic
– Translation of medical terms
Medical case studies are from the areas of General Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Neurology, Orthopedics and Trauma.
The diseases falling on the exam are over 100.
Preparation requires a high level of general German and proficiency in medical terminology, both in Latin terms and in terms understandable to the patient.
To prepare well for this exam, you need at least 3 months after achieving C1 level in General German.
In addition, to practice the medical profession in Germany you need a broader knowledge than just that required by the exam. These are for example:
– Communication with patients and relatives
– Communication with colleagues of different ranks
– Rights and duties of doctors in Germany
– Communication with other related institutions
– Ability to react in various critical situations
That is why the right medical German training to get you off to the best possible start should include all these components and prepare you for a variety of situations.
In order to have time to prepare for this, it is advisable to start your preparation early – ideally, during your medical studies.
IV. How inmed personal can help me on my way to work in Germany
At inmed personal we aim to provide you with comprehensive support to ensure you get the best possible start and integration in Germany. The development and implementation of an individual plan tailored to your personal situation as well as a high level of preparation are essential for our mutual work.
Here is what our support includes:
Individual language preparation
Our language training is flexible in terms of time and location and tailored entirely to your personal learning pace. The combination of individual and group private lessons, knowledge and experience exchange with fellow doctors and additional self-study modules provides you with the most effective preparation for the General and Medical German exams and working in Germany. With regular feedback from our teachers, we can always adapt your study plan to your personal pace of learning.
Our language preparation allows you (and it is also recommendable) to start during your medical studies and continue until you start working in Germany.
Personal advice and support
We draw up individual plans tailored entirely to your personal situation. We will support you every step of the way. This includes apprenticeships, organizing appropriate language training, travel, finding accommodation and everything else you need for your successful move and start in Germany. We remain your partner after you start working in a German clinic.
Scholarship up to 4.000 €
We provide a scholarship of up to 4.000 €, which covers almost the entire cost of your language training (in medical German and part of general German), your approbation and your travel to Germany for exams and interviews. NO REPAYMENT OBLIGATION. We receive our commission only from the clinic where you will start working. Our services are therefore completely free of charge for you.
We work with different types of clinics throughout Germany. Together we will discuss your preferences as well as the market opportunities regarding position, clinic and region and provide you with suitable job offers.
To give you a good chance of winning the position you want, we will help you to prepare your application according to the German standard as well as to prepare for the job interviews.
When you work with us, you become part of our inmedfamily. At inmedfamily you will meet other doctors who have walked or are walking the same path as you. We organize regular meetings – online and in person, support each other, learn, and have fun together. Here you have the opportunity to make new friends in Germany and exchange valuable information and experiences.
V. How can I apply for a work placement with inmed personal
Working with us can start during your medical studies. The requirements to start working with us are as follows:
– A minimum of A2-B1 level in General German
– Final decision to specialize in Germany
– Motivation and desire to achieve high results
The main and most crucial factor in selecting the candidates to whom we provide scholarships and assistance is motivation and the desire to achieve high results. We strongly believe that the key for a successful start and integration in Germany is a high level of discipline, hard work, and determination. As an agency and partner in this very important part of your life, we give 100% in every respect and expect the same from the clients we work with.
You need more information and have questions? We will be happy to answer them in a free consultation. Book one here:
the team of inmed personal
Welcome to our #inmedfamily
In the inmedfamily, you’ll meet other doctors who are in a similar situation. We meet regularly – online and in person, learn together, support each other and have a lot of fun together.
Tel. 49 6131 488 766 0
Tel. +359 878 454 303