Permission to use the professional title of occupational therapist in the case of professional qualifications from third countries Granting
The profession of occupational therapist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work as an occupational therapist in Germany, you need a state permit. With this permit, you may use the professional title "occupational therapist" and work in the profession.
Even with a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain state permission 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 recognized.
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 meet other requirements for the granting 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.
You submit an application for permission to use the professional title "occupational therapist" to the competent authority. You can submit the application with the documents to the competent authority or send it by post. Do not send originals. Sometimes you can also send the application electronically. The competent authority will inform you.
Examination of equivalence
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 test
If your professional qualification is equivalent, your foreign professional qualification will be recognised. The competent authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements. Then you will receive 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 prove that you have 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 be that the essential differences cannot be compensated for 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 essential differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice.
In most cases, you can make a compensatory measure. This allows you to compensate for the significant differences.
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 includes 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 receive permission to use the professional title "occupational therapist".
Who should I contact?
Let an IQ counselling centre advise you personally on this procedure and your qualifications. The advisors will also help you with your documents before submitting your application. The consultation is free of charge.
You can also call the hotline of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The hotline will answer your questions on the subject of "Working and living in Germany". Phone number: +49 30 1815-1111 Office hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 – 18:00 (CET)
If you are abroad: You can also reach the Central Service Centre for Professional Recognition (ZSBA) via the hotline. This offers you in-depth advice and support in the recognition procedure and carries out a location consultation.
- 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 for working 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 language level. This is usually the 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 generally:
- Proof of identity (ID card or passport)
- Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
- Curriculum vitae
- Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
- Proof of training
- Proof of your relevant professional experience as an occupational therapist
- Proof of further relevant knowledge for working as an occupational therapist
- You don't live or work in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland yet? Then you have to prove that you want to work in the profession in Germany. Evidence can be: applications for a job, proof of your application for an entry visa for gainful employment, or personal statement
You usually hand in 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 fitness: 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 tell 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 effort required for processing.
In addition, additional costs may be incurred (e.g. for translations, certifications or compensatory measures). These costs vary from person to person.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
Sometimes documents are still missing in the procedure. The competent authority will then inform you by when you have to submit the documents.
You can take legal action against the decision of the competent authority within a certain period of time (e.g. file an objection). The decision will then be reviewed. Details 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?
Notice of equivalence
In the approval procedure, the equivalence is also checked (recognition procedure). You can apply for a separate notification for the result of the examination.
Procedure for ethnic German repatriates
As a late repatriate, you can go through the recognition procedure either according to the laws mentioned here or according to the Federal Expellees Act. You can decide for yourself. 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
The text was automatically translated based on the German content.