Nursing Ausbildung in Germany Guide 2024

Nursing Ausbildung in Germany

Germany has a renowned healthcare system and high-quality nursing education. The nursing Ausbildung (apprenticeship program) offers international students an affordable way to gain specialized hands-on training and internationally recognized qualifications.

Nursing Ausbildung typically lasts 3 years and combines classroom learning with practical training at hospitals or healthcare facilities. Students earn a modest salary as they learn on the job under the supervision of experienced nurses.

Compared to nursing degrees in other countries, the Ausbildung focuses more on practical skills than theory. However, many graduates choose to study further for advanced nursing qualifications.

2. Ausbildung Nursing in Germany Requirements

The key requirements to apply for a nursing Ausbildung in Germany are:

  • Secondary school certificate equating to German Mittlere Reife or Hauptschulabschluss
  • Minimum C1 level fluency in the German language
  • Completed vocational aptitude test relevant to nursing
  • Health insurance coverage
  • No criminal record

In some cases, relevant experience working in healthcare may also be required. Applicants from outside the EU/EEA may also need specific visas or residence permits before starting their training.

3. How Does The Ausbildung Nursing Programme Work?

The dual education system splits training between classrooms at a vocational school and hands-on practice at hospitals, doctor’s offices, senior homes, or rehabilitation centers.

Over the 3 years, students complete:

  • Theoretical modules: Nursing care concepts, anatomy, physiology, psychology, microbiology, pharmacology, medical terminology practical modules: 
  • Patient communication, handling medical equipment, sterile procedures, administering medication, documentation

The apprenticeship equips learners with a wide skill set covering adult, pediatric, geriatric, and psychiatric care.

Students work 35-40 hour weeks alongside regular nurses. They take on more hands-on responsibilities and complicated assignments as their competencies develop.

How to apply for Ausbildung as a nurse in Germany

The nursing Ausbildung application process may seem extensive, but this popular, competitive program must attract far more applicants than training vacancies each intake. Structured preparation and understanding of selection criteria help maximize admission chances.

1. Check Entry Requirements

Research requirements for your target Ausbildung advertiser in detail on their website and factsheet PDFs. Entry criteria commonly include:

  • C1 German certificate from accredited body like Goethe Institut
  • Secondary school diploma equaling German Mittle Reife minimum
  • Completed aptitude diagnostics test provided by the program
  • Health insurance acceptance letter from German insurer

EU citizens can directly apply, while non-EU students need student applicant or work seeker visas first.

2. Prepare Application Documents

  • Cover letter and CV/resume in German
  • High school certificates & transcripts
  • Language certificates, e.g., Goethe B1 exam
  • Passport copy
  • Recent passport photos
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Health check certificate

3. Submit Application

Identify training hospitals with vacancies in your preferred specialization, like geriatric or pediatric care. While a centralized portal exists on the make-it-in-germany portal, always cross-verify current offers directly via hospital websites and apprenticeship databases.

Apply directly to the healthcare provider with the required documents as a single PDF. Meet submission deadlines stated in the vacancy advert. Shortlisted applicants undergo assessments, video interviews, and probation placements before enrollment confirmation.

5. Nursing Ausbildung in Germany Salary

As a nursing apprentice, you are considered a training employee of the hospital or facility. Salaries start at around €1000 per month in the first year, increasing annually.

The total earnings from the 3-year training often cover student living expenses without needing a separate part-time job.

Upon completing the Ausbildung, full-time salaries for nurses range from €2800 to €4000 monthly, depending on seniority and specialization.

6. Apply time

For Ausbildung, beginning in Autumn 2024, applications open in Spring 2023. Places fill up quickly, so prepare documentation well in advance.

The early deadlines are advantageous for international students needing to arrange visas and accommodation before arriving in Germany.

7. Bright future perspective in Germany

Germany’s expanding healthcare sector, combined with its aging population, has created a critical shortage of skilled nurses across the country.

Nursing graduates enjoy very high job placement rates after finishing training. Those meeting language and license requirements can also work quite flexibly across EU countries.

The advanced roles and greater independence of nurses compared to other countries also provide enhanced career development potential.

8. Nursing Ausbildung in Germany 2023 updates/news

With over 23,000 nursing positions vacant country-wide, political initiatives are underway to increase recruitment from both domestic and international talent pools.

Recent policy updates seeking to boost enrolment numbers include:

  • New exam qualifying graduates for bachelor study: Students completing the Nurse Specialist Exam gain academic credits qualifying them for specialized BSc degree programs.
  • Expanded nursing faculties and degree quotas: German states have increased the capacity for bachelor degrees in nursing by over 10% between 2021 and 2023.
  • Funding for bridge training courses: Intensive classes are covering clinical skill gaps helping foreign nurses meet license requirements faster.

9. Shortage of skill categories, so high demand

Germany’s Federal Employment Agency ranks nurses among extreme shortage occupations, with steady demand projected over the next decade.

Specialized senior care nurses are even rarer, fuelled by Germany’s fastest aging population in the EU. Continued digitalization of healthcare services also requires more nurses with solid IT and data skills.

For those who obtain EU licenses, abundant nursing vacancies across member states enable attractive opportunities to relocate easily.

Benefits of Nursing Ausbilding in Germany

The nursing Ausbildung offers unique advantages compared to nursing study paths in other countries:

1. Earn While You Learn

The nursing Ausbildung is an apprenticeship-based training model, which means students formally work for and earn a salary from their assigned healthcare institution for a 3-year duration. This allows learners to gain financial independence during their studies, unlike full-time university education, which can create financial strain. Apprentices enjoy industry minimum wages, which cover living expenses without needing supplemental part-time jobs.

2. Hands-on Training

The dual education methodology intensifies skill-building with at least 50% of training hours spent in hands-on clinical practice. Apprentices rotate through diverse departments, systematically developing competencies in specialized care from anesthesia to geriatrics. Working under the supervision of senior medical staff accelerates the growth of diagnostic, emergency response, therapeutic and interpersonal abilities core to quality nursing practice.

3. Internationally Recognized Qualification

The nursing Ausbildung meets certification standards set by the European Union, enabling direct employment and license registration opportunities across EU/EEA countries after graduation. This flexibility and international mobility empower qualified nurses to launch their careers in Germany as well as relocate to practitioner shortages abroad.

4. High Job Security and Competitive Salaries

Germany’s severe shortage of nursing professionals guarantees apprentices extremely high job placement rates nationally upon qualification. Salaries in nursing have also increased up to 9% above national inflation rates due to tight supply and high demand – especially within specialized care branches. These market conditions reduce anxiety about financial or employment stability after the intense Ausbildung.

5. Personal and Professional Growth

The nursing Ausbildung focuses strongly on self-management by trainees within patient care environments. Guided by senior medical staff, apprentices take on increasing responsibility through the 3 years – making decisions, directing interdisciplinary teams, and handling advanced medical devices independently. This builds leadership skills and the autonomy valued within nursing culture. Pursuing further specialization opens diverse directions from administrative to clinical domains across Germany’s healthcare institutions or abroad.

Cons of Nursing Ausbilding in Germany

However, students considering the Ausbildung pathway should also be aware of the challenges:

1. Demanding Workload

The dual education model packs extensive clinical hours into the training period alongside theory modules – averaging 35-40 hour weeks. Working long active shifts requires physical resilience. Juggling rotating placements while studying can also drain time and mental focus without strict self-care. The intensity and crammed competency targets allow little breathing room. Successfully balancing the workload relies on exceptional commitment, organization, and stamina.

2. Language Barrier

C1 German language skills must be demonstrated before program acceptance. However, medical terminology and niche vocabulary pose continued challenges. Nuanced communication with patients and colleagues cannot risk endangering health outcomes. The climatic language progress expected during the Ausbildung can feel demanding without a natural immersion environment outside work. Ongoing language development efforts are advised even for advanced speakers.

3. Limited Flexibility

The specialized Ausbildung system makes transferring institutions extremely restricted. Students commit to the training hospital or facility for the entire 3 year duration. Program extensions may be mandated if absence duration exceeds specified limits. Prospective students should carefully vet their selected provider’s quality and specialization fit before signing lengthy contracts lacking exit options.

4. Lower Academic Recognition

While the Ausbildung excels at technical capability building, the qualification misses credits associated with advanced tertiary nursing degrees. The curricula focus more narrowly on hands-on skills rather than integrating deeper research methodology or theoretical concepts. This limits prospects for further academic study without bridging qualifications. Students prioritizing higher credentials should consider bachelor program options or plan to supplement the Ausbildung subsequently.


Germany’s rigorous dual training nursing apprenticeship builds expert practitioners coveted internationally. Blending classroom foundations with extensive clinical immersion accelerates hands-on competencies and practical know-how valued by healthcare employers. 

Despite a demanding workload and language barriers, the earn-as-you-learn model and job stability rewards make nursing Ausbildung an advantageous path for compassionate problem-solvers seeking to kickstart fulfilling lifelong careers. 

With strategic preparation and diligence, internationally mobile graduates can leverage nursing shortages across Europe to carve out expansive roles in improving patient outcomes through skilled, dedicated care.

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