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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 5.100 € 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 5.084 € 5.373 € 5.579 € 5.935 € 6.361 € 6.536 €
specialist 6.711 € 7.273 € 7.687 € 7.768 € 8.056 € 8.618 €

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.

Maternity leave

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:

  1. Preparation for the C1 level of General German
  2. Passing the C1 Certificate in General German (Recommended telc or Goethe)
  3. Preparation for the Medical German exam
  4. 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. What to expect from working with inmed

Unlock your future with inmed: Language mastery and no financial worries

Curious about what awaits you when you choose to work with inmed? Let us paint a vibrant picture of the exciting journey that lies ahead, one filled with language mastery and no financial worries.

1. Language mastery: Your key to success

At inmed, we’re committed to helping you achieve language mastery like never before. Our language training is a game-changer, offering the flexibility you need in terms of timing and location. It’s tailor-made to suit your individual learning pace. We blend one-on-one private lessons, group sessions, knowledge sharing with fellow doctors, and self-study modules to ensure you’re impeccably prepared for the General and Medical German exams and your career in Germany. With regular feedback from our expert instructors, we adjust your study plan to match your unique learning rhythm.

Our language preparation program isn’t just beneficial; it’s essential. We recommend starting during your medical studies and continuing until your journey in Germany begins.

2. No financial worries: Our support unleashes your potential

Financial concerns should never hold you back. That’s why we offer a generous scholarship of up to 4,000 €, covering almost the entire cost of your language training (both medical and general German), the approbation process, and your travel expenses for exams and interviews. The best part? There’s NO REPAYMENT OBLIGATION. We earn our commission solely from the clinic where you’ll eventually work. In other words, our services come to you completely free of charge.

3. Personalized guidance: Your success is our priority

We don’t just stop at language training. At inmed, we craft individual plans that cater entirely to your unique situation. We’re your partners every step of the way, from apprenticeships to organizing suitable language training, travel arrangements, and finding accommodations. Your successful move and start in Germany are our top priorities. And even after you’ve begun working in a German clinic, we remain your steadfast allies.

4. Your ideal workplace: We help you land the dream job

Germany has a wealth of opportunities, and we’re here to help you find your ideal workplace. Our extensive network spans clinics across the country. Together, we’ll explore your preferences, market opportunities, positions, clinics, and regions to present you with tailored job offers. To boost your chances of securing your dream position, we assist in crafting your application according to German standards and provide invaluable interview preparation support.

5. Join the inmed family: Your community awaits

When you become part of inmed, you join the inmed family. Here, you’ll connect with fellow doctors who have trodden or are currently navigating the same path as you. We organize regular meetings, both online and in person, where we support each other, learn together, and have fun. This is your chance to forge new friendships in Germany, exchange invaluable insights, and create lasting memories.

V. How to embark on this exciting journey with inmed

Working with us can start during your medical studies. Here are the requirements:

  • Minimum A2 level proficiency in General German
  • A firm decision to specialize in Germany
  • Motivation and a burning desire to excellence

The main factor guiding our selection process for scholarships and assistance is your motivation and determination to achieve excellence. We firmly believe that discipline, hard work, and unwavering commitment are the keys to a successful start and integration in Germany. As your partners in this pivotal life chapter, we give 100%, and we expect nothing less from the clients we work with.

Do you need more information or have questions? We’re eager to assist and provide answers in a free consultation. Book one here:


kind regards,

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.

Contact us


Tel. 49 6131 488 766 0

Tel. +359 878 454 303