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Foreign professional qualification Recognition as a social worker

If you want to work in Germany as a social pedagogue (B.A.) / social pedagogue (B.A.) or as a social worker (B.A.) / social worker (B.A.), you usually need the corresponding state recognition in the form of the authorization to use the professional title "State-approved social pedagogue (B.A.)" or "State-approved social pedagogue (B.A.) / "State-approved social worker (B.A.)".

Social work is a regulated profession. Even with a relevant undergraduate university degree obtained abroad, you can apply for state recognition in Germany.

Process flow

For state recognition, the competent authority will check on the basis of your submitted documents whether and to what extent your foreign qualification is a German qualification for the profession of social pedagogue (B.A.) /the social pedagogue (B.A.) or the social worker (B.A.) /of the social worker (B.A.). This review is based on defined formal and content-related criteria, such as the content and duration of university studies. Your relevant professional experience will be taken into account as well as other relevant qualifications.

Important note: For academic qualifications, you can apply for a basic assessment of your university degree by the Central Office for Foreign Education (ZAB). The assessment by the ZAB does not replace the procedure for state recognition to be applied for here (content review by a competent university).

Further information can be found on the "Recognition in Germany" portal. This internet portal provides quick and easy answers to questions about recognition, for example:

  • Do I have to have my professional qualification recognised?
  • Is the recognition worth it for me?
  • May I submit the application? Do I have a formal right to it?
  • Who should I contact?
  • What does the procedure look like?
  • What documents are required? What form do the documents have to have?
  • How long does the procedure take?
  • How much does the procedure cost?
  • Which laws are relevant to my case?

Who should I contact?

The responsibility lies with the universities in Lower Saxony that offer a B.A. course in the field of social work in accordance with § 1 SozHeilKindVO:

  • University of Applied Sciences Emden / Leer
  • Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts
  • University of Applied Sciences HAWK Hildesheim / Holzminden / Göttingen
  • University of Hildesheim
  • University of Lüneburg
  • Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences
  • Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences
  • University of Vechta

Which documents are required?

You will need the following documents:

  • Tabular list of your completed courses of study and gainful employment
  • Indication of your contact details (address, current place of residence / e-mail)
  • Proof of identity
  • Certified university degree or bachelor's degree certificate including an overview of subjects and grades or other evidence of competence and training / transcript of records / Diploma Supplement on studying abroad
  • Certificate of authorization to practice the profession
  • Proof of relevant professional experience (e.g. employment contracts, internship certificates, job references) with information on the regular weekly working hours, the areas of activity completed, assessments of the activities and the respective total duration of the professional activities, or other evidence of competence, insofar as these are necessary to determine equivalence
  • Explanation of whether and to which body you have already submitted an application for a determination of equivalence and, if applicable, a decision on the determination of equivalence
  • A current, extended certificate of good conduct or proof that an extended certificate of good conduct in accordance with § 30a of the Federal Central Register has been applied for at the registration office for submission to the university

All documents must be submitted in the original or as a certified copy and in German. If the documents are written in another language, you may also need a translation by a publicly appointed translator.

Additional documentation may be required. At the time of application, knowledge of the German language at least at language level B2 is recommended.

What are the fees?

Fees may apply, please contact the competent authority.

What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?

There are no deadlines to be observed. The deadline for submitting the application begins with the confirmation of the competent authority that the required documents are complete.

Legal basis

The decision is made in accordance with §§ 1 - 3 dof the Ordinance on the State Recognition of Professional Qualifications in the Field of Social Work, Curative Education and Education in Childhood (SozHeilKindVO) of 17 May 2017 (Nds. GVBl. p. 155), last amended by Ordinance of 20 March 2018 (Nds. GVBl. p. 42 ).

Applications / forms

Online service for Lower Saxony: yes


The decision can be appealed.

Supporting institutions

The service centres of the "Integration through Qualification" network (IQ Network) will be happy to advise and support you before, during and after the recognition procedure.

Technically approved by

Ministry of Science and Culture of the State of Lower Saxony and Recognition Finder Germany


The text was automatically translated based on the German content.

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