For Medical Professionals
Approbation – general information for potential applicants
In Germany, Approbation (from the Latin approbatio “recognition”, “approval”) (as a doctor, dentist, psychotherapist, child and adolescent psychotherapist, pharmacist (pharmacist) or veterinarian) means receiving a state permission/admission to engage/practice in the relevant profession independently assuming personal responsibility.
The permission is issued by the competent authority of the federal state in which the foreign applicant plans to carry out professional activities.
Each of the above professions has its own regulatory rules:
- For physicians: Federal Medical Practice Regulation (BÄO)
- For dentists: Dental Practice Act (ZHG) and Dental Practice Ordinance (ZÄprO)
- For veterinarians: Federal Regulation on Veterinary Practice (BTÄO) and Regulation on Approval for Veterinary Practice (TAppV)
- For pharmacists: BApO and Pharmaceutical Approval Ordinance (AAppO)
- For psychologists and psychotherapists: the Law on the professions of psychologist-psychotherapist and child and adolescent psychotherapist (PsychThG) and the Regulation on the procedure for the training and certification of psychologists-psychotherapists (PsychTh-APrV).
Depending on where you received your medical education, namely:
- member states of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA)
- other countries (so called “third countries”)
you can obtain a permit (admission) in Germany on the basis of:
- completed medical education at a German university (at least 5500 hours, at least 6 years) and passed the state exam, OR
- confirmation of the equivalence of medical education (in the case of medical education abroad), OR
- testing for missing subjects (in medical education took place abroad), OR
- complete testing (in the case of medical education abroad).
Any foreign doctor has the right, independently or through a representative, to submit an application to the appropriate German authority for a permit (admission) to engage in a medical practice. Such permit can be issued subject to the equivalence of foreign education OR the applicant’s successful passing of the additional tests.
According to par. 3, para. 3 of the federal regulation on the procedure for the practice of a medical profession (BÄO), an applicant from a third country submits medical education documents that are equivalent (comparable) to a similar education in Germany, he/she will receive a permit to practice medicine in Germany. The requirements for the contents of a medical education are set out in the federal regulation (BÄO).
Education in a third country is equivalent (comparable) if it does not differ substantially from education in Germany (par. 3, para. 2, item 2 BÄO).
If significant differences are present, they can be fully or partially offset by the knowledge that the applicant has acquired in the course of his professional medical practice. It does not matter in which country the applicant worked (par. 3, paragraph 2, item 5 BÄO). If there is no experience in medical practice, the applicant must pass an additional test to prove that he/she has the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in the medical practice (par. 3, paragraph 2, item 6 BÄO). This exam is similar to the German graduate testing.
- A foreign applicant studied at a medical school for a term that is at least one year shorter than the same period of study in Germany, OR
- the disciplines that the foreign applicant studied differ significantly from the German studies, OR
- The medical profession in Germany includes activities that are not part of the medical profession in the country of the foreign applicant, and this difference lies in the special training required in Germany and concerns disciplines that differ significantly from the subjects in the educational documents submitted by the applicant (par. 3, paragraph 2, item 3 BÄO)
Disciplines differ significantly if knowledge of them is an important prerequisite for medical practice and the training of the foreign applicant differs significantly from the German training in terms of duration or contents (par. 3 para. 2 p. 4 BÄO).
Please note that the applicant may be required to pass an additional test even if the verification of his application calls for an unjustified amount of time or financial costs.
Landesprüfungsamt für Medizin und Pharmazie
Bavaria / Upper Bavaria
Regierung von Oberbayern
Bavaria / Lower Franconia
Regierung von Unterfranken
Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales
Landesamt für Arbeitsschutz, Verbraucherschutz und Gesundheit
Die Senatorin für Wissenschaft, Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz
Behörde für Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz
Hessisches Landesprüfungs- und Untersuchungsamt im Gesundheitswesen
Landesamt für Gesundheit und Soziales
Niedersächsischer Zweckverband zur Approbationserteilung (NiZza)
Landesamt für Soziales, Jugend und Versorgung
Landesamt für Soziales Zentralstelle für Gesundheitsberufe und Landesprüfungsamt