At this point, we have collected and answered the most frequent questions of international doctors. Many of these have been taken up by the website of the “Marburger Bund”.

Which courses are offered by the GPE-Academy?

The GPE Academy provides three different modules. In excellent language courses tought by especially trained teachers we support international health professionals in acquiring the German language. We offer courses for all levels of competence, from A0 to C1. Our medical revision is perfectly adapted to the medical knowledge examination for international doctors. All courses are tought in German language. Finally our certificate study “Health care Management” rounds off the training for a “ready for occupancy” medical doctor. At the GPE-Academy many skills are tought that will make life and work easier for the doctor and that will delight the senior physician. For detailed content of the courses please see our course program.

How long does the training at the GPE-Academy take?

The duration of the training depends on the education modules that are chosen. The language course from A0 level to C1 level completion takes seven months. This involves an extremely good precondition for acquiring language skills and the dedication to understand the training as a full-time job and not simply as an afternoon entertainment “on the job”. The medical revision consists of 22 course-days that will more or less take place at the weekends. Therefor this course is very suitable for employed doctors and medical students. The certificate training lasts about six weeks. In this case the lectures take place during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Could I participate in the language training anytime or are there fixed dates for course beginnings?

This depends on wether you would like to participate in a group course or prefer individual training. Group courses start at A0 level every four month. Mostly in February/March, in June/July and in October/November. Please ask for the specific starting dates for courses via the contact forms on the right or do not hesitate to call us.

What are the costs for a training at the GPE-Academy?

The prices for each course could be found in the course program. A special dicount is available if courses are booked over a period lasting longer than one month and/or if the course is combined with a binding booking of either our medical revision course or the certificate study “Health Care Management”. Please contact us for further information.

How much are the examination fees?

The examination fee for the Telc language exam is 150,00 EUR. If you wish to attend the test for the “lisence to practise medicine” you will have to do a further language test at the Medical Chamber “Ärztekammer”. The fee for this test is 350,00 EUR. The current costs for the actual test for the “lisence to practise medicine” is 500,00 EUR. In the case of successfully passing this test the fee for the issuing of the lisence is 250,00 EUR. Additionally there are costs for travel and accommodation. Should you chose to take part in our medical revision course the costs for travel and accommodation are included. The examination fee for the certificate study “Health Care Management” is covered by the course fee.

Are there any further costs for teaching materials?

No, all teaching materials are included in the course fees.

Will I have to apply for taking part in the examinations on my own?

The organising of the Telc language exam is not very complicated and is managed by us free of charge. Furthermore this exam takes place in our academy. In the case of the application for the examination for the “lisence to practise medicine” you will have to collect certain documents that will have to be translated into German by a sworn translater. We are pleased to offer you the help of our own translation agency that has collected much experience and has already translated hundreds of documents for the Federal Examination Authorities.

How can I apply?

You could apply for our courses anytime via e-mail or fax. Please contact us bevorehand for detailed coordination.

Which organisation is competent for the recognition of foreign medical diplomas?

All foreign physicians who want to work in Germany as physicians must contact the competent Federal State authority to have their medical diplomas (basic medical training) recognised. In some Federal States there is only one registration authority (Approbationsbehörde), whereas other Federal States have several registration authorities for different regions. Competent is the registration authority in which area the physician wants to work (see list: Addresses of Registration Authorities).

The State Chambers of Physicians (Landesärztekammern) are responsible for the recognition of specialist qualifications. The recognition of the specialist diploma is incumbent to the State Chamber of Physicians in which area the physician wants to work (see list: State Chambers of Physicians).

Is it necessary to have a job offer as a physician or reside in Germany before an application for limited registration (Berufserlaubnis) or full registration (Approbation) can be submitted?

You can apply for limited or full registration even though you have not found a position yet and you reside outside Germany. You should submit your application to the registration authority in which area you would like to work.

Can I submit an application for full registration or limited registration to several registration authorities simultaneously?

No! You must decide where you would like to work as a physician and submit then your application to the registration authority in which area you plan to take up a job.

What are the documents to be submitted for the recognition?

The competent registration authority (Approbationsbehörde) provides the information as to which documents must be submitted for the recognition of the medical diploma (see list: Addresses of Registration Authorities).

The competent State Chamber of Physicians provides the information as to which documents must be submitted for the recognition of the medical specialist diploma (see list: State Chambers of Physicians).

What role does the citizenship play regarding the granting of full registration?

Since the taking effect of the so-called recognition law (1 April 2012) the citizenship is irrelevant for getting full registration in Germany.

I have successfully completed my basic medical training in a member state of the European Union (EU), in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland. Will my medical diploma be recognised?

A basic medical training completed successfully in a member state of the European Union will, on request, be automatically recognised in Germany provided that the qualification is listed in the European Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2005/36/EC, Annex V.1.1), that the minimum criteria of the directive are met and that the basic medical training had been started after the specified reference date.

As the EU has passed corresponding treaties with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, similar rules apply for diplomas from these countries.

If all the other requirements are met (knowledge of the German language, health requirements, no criminal record, etc.), the applicant obtains full registration.

I have started my basic medical training in an EU country before the specified reference date (before the EU-entry of the country). Will my medical diploma be recognised?

Medical diplomas from EU countries certifying that the basic medical training was begun before the reference date will be recognised in Germany if the applicant submits in addition to his/her diploma a certificate of conformity. Herewith, the relevant authority of the home member state confirms that the basic medical training of the applicant corresponds to the minimum standards of the European Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications. Alternatively the applicant can submit a certificate from the relevant authority of the home member state (or another EU member state) stating that he/she has been full-time, effectively and lawfully engaged in his profession for at least three consecutive years during the five years preceding the award of the certificate.

I have started my basic medical training at a time when the territory of the current EU country (e.g. Lithuania) belonged to the territory of another state (e.g. the Soviet Union). Will my diploma be recognised?

Such a diploma will only be recognised in Germany if the relevant authority of the home country confirms that the diploma has the same legal validity regarding the access to the profession and to its practice as the diplomas issued currently in the present member state. Additionally there must be an attestation presented that the applicant has been working during the past five years at least for three consecutive years full-time, effectively and lawfully as a physician in the territory of the present member state.

Where do I find the European Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications on the Internet?

The European Directive on the Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2005/36/EC) can be downloaded under the following link:


I have successfully completed my basic medical training in a country outside of the EU, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Will my diploma be recognised?

The competent registration authority (see list: Addresses of Registration Authorities) will assess the equivalence of medical diplomas obtained outside of the European Economic Area/Switzerland compared to medical diplomas from Germany. If the competent registration authority confirms the equivalence of the foreign diploma or concludes that potential differences in the basic medical training can be compensated by pertinent work experience and if all the other requirements are met (knowledge of the German language, health requirements, no criminal record, etc.), the applicant is granted full registration.

If the competent registration authority finds that there are significant differences between the basic medical training of the applicant’s home country and the basic medical training in Germany it may insist on the taking of an examination (knowledge test) provided that the differences in basic medical training cannot be compensated by pertinent professional experience. The professional experience may be obtained around the world.

The assessment of equivalence and the evaluation of professional experience is a case-by-case review conducted by the competent registration authority.

What is a knowledge test?

The knowledge test refers to the substance of basic medical training in Germany. The foreign physician is to demonstrate that he has the knowledge equivalent to the one required by graduates of the medical universities in Germany. According to a regulation, which came into force on 1 January 2014, the emphasis of the knowledge test lays on internal medicine and surgery. In addition questions from the following fields have to be expected: accident & emergency medicine, clinical pharmacology/pharmacotherapy, diagnostic imaging, radiation protection, law on professional practice. Furthermore, the competent authority can inform the candidate in advance that another subject or cross-section will be part of the knowledge test if the authority is of the opinion that there is a major difference in the basic medical training in Germany and in the basic medical training which the examinee underwent.

The knowledge test is a clinical-practical test with patient presentation. It takes between 60 and 90 minutes and can be repeated two times at the most.

When do I have to take the knowledge test?

The specific moment in time when the test can be taken varies between the different Federal States. Thus foreign physicians often obtain a limited registration in order to prepare for the knowledge test (maximum period of 2 years). The completion of this preparatory period is, however, not a guarantee for the successful completion of the knowledge test. Therefore, a thorough theoretical preparation of the test is highly recommended.

The completion of a preparatory period is not a prerequisite for the admission to the knowledge test.

How can I prepare for the knowledge test?

Medi Learn offers medical revision courses for several decades. They refer to exeptional academic lecturers who, in most cases, themselves are examiners in various medical tests. They have detailed knowledge about the requirements needed for achieving the German license for medical practise. In cooperation with the GPE Academy Medi Learn optimised and supplemeted the course content through special online tools.

How expensive is the knowledge test?

The costs of the knowledge test vary between the German states. Currently you need to pay € 74.50 in Bavaria and € 1,100 in Hesse or Rhineland-Palatinate.

How am I getting paid if I work with a limited registration?

The Marburger Bund takes the view that the foreign physician is entitled to be remunerated according to our collective agreements as he is also medically active with a limited registration. De facto such remunerations are not always the case.

What is the maximum period of time a limited registration can be granted for?

Since 1 April 2012 a limited registration can only be granted for a maximum period of 2 years. The granting or extension over this period of time is possible only in individual cases or for reasons of medical care for the population.  And it is only admissible for reasons of medical care if the equivalent level of knowledge has been established. In this case the limited registration will be restricted to the particular speciality.

What language skills are required for full registration (Approbation)?

One of the basic requirements which must be met by foreign physicians intending to work in Germany is the proof of adequate knowledge of the German language. The physician is to contact the registration authority responsible for the geographic area in which he wants to work (see list: Addresses of Registration Authorities). The competent authority decides which level is adequate and which certificates/attestations it recognises.

With the aim to establish a more coherent system the State Ministers of Health agreed on key points for the required German language skills in June 2014. Among other things they came to an understanding that foreign physicians should at least have completed level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) in general German. Additionally, they should also pass a specific Medical German language test (Level C1 of CEFR).

More information about this agreement (in German) can be found on the following websites:

It is worth noting that the key points are legally not binding for the states and that not all states have yet adjusted their rules. An overview of the requirements in the different states can be found here. Please note that the requirements can change anytime. Therefore, the competent registration authority should be contacted before any decision is taken.

What language skills are required for limited registration (Berufserlaubnis)?

In most German states the language skills must be the same irrespective if you apply for full or limited registration (see question 14). Only four states allow lower skills if a physician applies for limited registration. Physicians who apply for limited registration in Brandenburg, Bremen or Hamburg do not need to pass the Medical German language test (Level C1) of the competent State Chamber of Physicians. Also in Hesse the exam B2 (CEFR) from telc or Goethe-Institute suffices for limited registration (see German requirements for limited registration).

Please note that the requirements can change anytime. Therefore, the competent registration authority should be contacted before any decision is taken.

How expensive is the Medical German language exam C1?

The costs of the Medical German language exam vary between the different providers. Currently you need to pay between € 150 for telc-Zertifikat Deutsch B2-C1 Medizin and € 450 for the exam offered by the State Chamber of Physicians Hamburg (see overview: Costs of Medical German Language Exams).

As the costs may change anytime, please contact the relevant provider before you make a decision. Please be reminded that you cannot simply chose a provider but that you have to fulfill the language requirements of the competent registration authority.

Which organisation is responsible for postgraduate medical training?

For all matters regarding postgraduate medical training in view of obtaining the status of a specialist physician the State Chambers of Physicians as public bodies are responsible. For each physician only the regulations for postgraduate medical training issued by the State Chamber of Physicians where he is a member are legally binding.

I am working with a limited registration (Berufserlaubnis) in Germany. Is it possible that later on those times count towards my postgraduate training?

Limited registration will be granted to doctors whose basic medical training shows major differences compared to the German basic medical training or in cases where the assessment of the basic medical training is still in progress. The main purpose of limited registration is the preparation of the knowledge test. Currently, some State Chambers of Physicians count times where doctors held limited registration towards postgraduate training if all other requirements of the postgraduate training curriculum are fulfilled. Other State Chambers of Physicians ask already now for full registration before doctors can enter into postgraduate training. For information about the procedure and transitional arrangements, please contact the competent State Medical Chamber of Physicians.

The directive 20013/55/EU has to be transposed in all the EU member states by 18. January 2015. This directive provides that admission to postgraduate medical training shall be contingent upon completion and validation of a basic medical training programme which consists of at least 5 years and 5,500 hours of theoretical and practical basic medical training. Some State Chambers of Physicians have already announced that from the transposition date of the directive onwards full registration (Approbation) will be necessary in order to commence postgraduate training.

Do I have to register with a State Chamber of Physicians?

Definitely! All physicians working in Germany must be a member of the relevant State Chamber
of Physicians. This applies to physicians during postgraduate medical training as well as to specialists.

What are the income opportunities for physicians and for specialists?

Marburger Bund as the only trade union for physicians in Germany has concluded specific collective agreements with the different hospital operators. Wages and other working conditions (e.g. working hours) slightly vary according to each collective agreement. In communal hospitals physicians currently earn a monthly gross salary between 4,189.71 € (first year of professional experience) and 5,385.57 € (sixth year of professional experience). Monthly gross salaries for specialists are from 5,529.74 € (first year) to 7,101.58 € (from 13th year onwards). These salaries are for a weekly working time of 40 hours. Additional on-call services and overtime are paid extra.

The “Career Entry Brochure” by Marburger Bund offers a thorough overview of the physician working conditions at the different hospital operators.

The Marburger Bund has not yet concluded a collective agreement with practice based physicians (niedergelassene Ärzte) or Healthcare Centres (Medizinische Versorgungszentren). However, our

collective agreements that apply in hospitals should serve as a basis while negotiating wages and other working conditions. The Marburger Bund can provide members with a model employment contract.

What does the job market look like and where do I look for vacancies?

Whereas hospitals in big cities usually have no problems to fill their positions, there is a lack of physicians particularly in the countryside and in small towns. Employment ads may be found e.g. in the following media:

Marburger Bund: http://www.marburger-bund.de/mbz/stellenmarkt
Deutsches Ärzteblatt: www.aerzteblatt.de
Websites of hospitals

Which organisation can advise me in matters pertaining to labour law?

The Marburger Bund offers to all members an examination of their working contract free of charge and provides free counsel in all matters pertaining to labour law. However, the range of services of the Marburger Bund reaches far beyond this offer. You’ll find more details on the advantages of a membership in the Marburger Bund under:

Get in touch with us

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Where to find us

Academy-Address: Stapeltor 8, 47051 Duisburg
Phone: +49 228 228 409736-71