Pharmacist with training from third countries, professional qualification recognised
The profession of pharmacist is regulated in Germany. This means that in order for you to be able to work as a pharmacist in Germany without restriction, you need a license to practice medicine. The license to practice medicine is the state admission to the profession. This means that you are not allowed to work independently as a pharmacist without a license to practice medicine.
Even with a professional qualification from a so-called third country, you can obtain a license to practice medicine 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 license to practice medicine, 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 granting of the license to practice medicine.
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, other regulations apply.
You can also apply for the procedure from abroad.
You submit an application for a licence to practise medicine as a pharmacist 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. The competent authority will then check whether your training corresponds to the German training and whether all other requirements are met. The license to practice medicine can only be granted if your training from a third country is equivalent to the German training.
Examination of equivalence
The competent authority compares your professional qualification from abroad with the German professional qualification. The competent authority will check whether your professional qualification is equivalent. 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 authority can confirm the result to you in writing. You still have to meet the other requirements and prove your language skills. Then you will be granted a license to practice medicine as a pharmacist.
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. The competent authority will tell you the main differences and why you cannot compensate for the essential differences through your professional practice.
The decision of the competent authority also states the level of your training and the level required in Germany. You will then not be allowed to work as a pharmacist in Germany.
If your professional qualification is not equivalent and you cannot compensate for the differences, you can take a knowledge test. The knowledge test is based on the final examination as a pharmacist in Germany. The knowledge test is an oral examination.
If you pass the knowledge test and meet all other requirements, you will receive a license to practice medicine as a pharmacist.
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 a pharmacist from a third country
- You want to work as a pharmacist in Germany.
- Personal suitability: You are reliable for working as a pharmacist and have no criminal record.
- Health suitability: You can work mentally and physically as a pharmacist.
- You have German language skills at the required language level. As a rule, these are general language skills at level B2 according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and medical language skills at level C1.
Which documents are required?
The competent authority will inform you which documents you need to submit. Important documents are generally:
- Proof of identity (e.g. passport or ID card)
- Marriage certificate (if your name has changed due to marriage)
- Curriculum vitae
- Proof of your professional qualification (e.g. certificates, professional certificate)
- Proof of content and duration of your education (e.g. Diploma Supplement, Transcript of Records)
- Proof of your relevant professional experience as a pharmacist (e.g. job references)
- Information as to whether you have already applied for a licence to practise medicine in Germany
- You must prove that you are allowed to work in the profession in your country of training.
- 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 prerequisite for the license to practice medicine is general German language skills at level B2. You can also submit the required proof of language proficiency during the licensing procedure. In addition, you must take a medical language test at level C1 during the licensing procedure.
The competent authority will tell you which documents you need to submit as a simple copy, as a certified copy or in the original.
If your documents are not available in German, you must submit German translations of your documents. Translations must be carried out by translators who are publicly appointed or authorised.
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 arise (e.g. for translations or certifications). 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. As a result, the procedure may be prolonged.
Processing Time: 4 MonthsAfter a maximum of one month, the competent authority will confirm that your application and documents have arrived. The competent authority will inform you if documents are missing. If the documents are complete, the procedure will take a maximum of 4 months.
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?
With the so-called professional permit, you can work for a limited period of time without a license to practice medicine. With the professional license, you are allowed to work under the supervision of a person with a license to practice medicine. Perhaps you will only be allowed to carry out activities in a certain area of work. You must meet the following requirements for the professional license:
- Proof of your professional qualification
- Health suitability
- Personal suitability
- German language skills: You must prove language skills at level B2 and take a technical language test at level C1
You can apply for the professional permit at the competent authority.
Notice of equivalence
In the licensing procedure, the equivalence of your training is 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