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Authorisation to use the professional title of occupational therapist in the case of professional qualification from third countries

The profession of occupational therapist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order to work as an occupational therapist in Germany, you need a state permit. With this permit, you are allowed to use the professional title "occupational therapist" and work in the profession.

Even if you have a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain a state permit from the competent authority in Germany. Third countries are all countries that do not belong to the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.

In order to obtain the permit, you must have your foreign professional qualification recognised.

In the recognition procedure, the competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification and checks its equivalence. The equivalence of the professional qualification is an important prerequisite for the issuance of the state permit.

In addition to the equivalence of the professional qualification, you must also meet other requirements for the issuance of the permit. Other requirements are, for example, sufficient German language skills and health suitability.

If your professional qualification comes from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, different regulations apply.

You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.

Process flow

Application

You submit an application to the competent authority for permission to use the professional title "occupational therapist" or "occupational therapist". You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not ship originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The competent authority will inform you.
 

Equivalence test

The competent authority will then check whether you meet all the requirements. An important prerequisite is the equivalence of your professional qualification. The competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification as an occupational therapist. The professional qualification is equivalent if there are no significant differences between your foreign professional qualification and the German professional qualification.
 

Possible results of the exam

If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The competent authority can confirm the result in writing. You also have to meet the other requirements. Then you will be granted permission to use the professional title "Occupational Therapist".

Are there any significant differences between your professional qualification and the German professional qualification? Perhaps you can compensate for the differences through your professional practice, other knowledge or skills (lifelong learning). You must provide proof of professional experience. Knowledge and skills must be certified by an authority of the state in which you acquired the knowledge or skills.

However, it may not be possible to compensate for the essential differences by this knowledge. In this case, your foreign professional qualification will not be recognised. You are then not allowed to work as an occupational therapist in Germany.

However, the competent authority will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the significant differences through your professional practice.

In most cases, you can take a compensatory action. This allows you to compensate for the essential differences.
 

Compensatory measures

There are various compensatory measures:

  • Adaptation period: The adaptation period lasts a maximum of three years.
  • Knowledge test: The knowledge test tests your knowledge in specific subjects and areas. The knowledge test consists of an oral and practical part.

You can choose between an adaptation period or a knowledge test.

If you successfully complete the compensatory measure and meet all other requirements, you will be granted permission to use the professional title "occupational therapist".

Requirements

  • You have a professional qualification as an occupational therapist from a third country.
  • You want to work as an occupational therapist in Germany.
  • Personal suitability: You are reliable to work as an occupational therapist and have no criminal record.
  • Health suitability: You can work mentally and physically as an occupational therapist.
  • You have German language skills at the required level. This is usually language level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).

Which documents are required?

The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are in general:

  • Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
  • Marriage certificate (if your name has changed as a result of marriage)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
  • Proof of education
  • Proof of your relevant professional experience as an occupational therapist
  • Proof of other relevant knowledge for working as an occupational therapist
  • Do you not yet live or work in the EU, EEA or Switzerland? Then you have to prove that you want to work in the profession in Germany. Evidence can be: job applications, proof of your application for an entry visa for employment or personal statement
     

You will usually submit these documents later. The competent authority will inform you when you should hand in the documents:

  • Proof of your personal suitability: extract from the criminal record or certificate of good conduct from your country of origin. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your health suitability: Medical certificate. The proof must be no more than 3 months old at the time of application.
  • Proof of your German language skills: Language certificate
     

The competent authority will inform you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.

What are the fees?

The competent authority will inform you about the costs. The costs generally depend on the amount of work involved.

In addition, there may be additional costs (e.g. for translations, certifications or compensatory measures). These costs vary from person to person.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

None.

Sometimes documents are still missing from the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents.

Appeal

You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. file an appeal). The decision will then be reviewed. Details on this can be found in the information on legal remedies at the end of your decision. We recommend that you first talk to the competent authority before taking legal action against the decision.

What else should I know?

Certificate of equivalence

In the licensing procedure, equivalence is also checked (recognition procedure). You can apply for a separate decision for the result of the examination.
 

Procedure for ethnic German repatriates

As a late repatriate, you can either go through the recognition procedure in accordance with the laws mentioned here or in accordance with the Federal Expellees Act. This is up to you. The competent authority will advise you on which procedure is right for you.

Technically approved by

Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training

Federal Ministry of Health

Professionally released on

07.12.2021

Author

The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

competent Bodies

Niedersächsisches Landesamt für Soziales, Jugend und Familie - Außenstelle Lüneburg
Address: Auf der Hude 2 , 21339 Lüneburg
Timetable
Telephone: 04131 15-0
Fax: 04131 15-3295
Building Access:
elevator available : yes
wheelchair-accessible : yes
Address: Friedrichswall 1 , 30159 Hannover
Timetable
Telephone: 0800 818-8100
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown

Data protection information

Stadt Hannover - 18.DSB - Datenschutzbeauftragte/r f. d. Stadtverw. Hannover
Address: Breite Str. 10, 30159 Hannover
Timetable
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown
Landesbeauftragte für den Datenschutz Niedersachsen
Address: Prinzenstraße 5, 30159 Hannover
Timetable
Telephone: +49 511 12045-00
Fax: +49 511 12045-99
Building Access:
elevator available : unknown
wheelchair-accessible : unknown

Source: Serviceportal Niedersachsen (Portalverbund des Bundes und der Länder)