Regulated Professions

The exercise of regulated professions in Germany requires recognition of professional qualifications, regardless of the country of origin. The regulated professions include, for example, qualifications in the areas of health, engineering, legal advice, and state schools.


According to the Federal Employment Agency, the regulated professions are divided into five professional groups and are currently 433 professions.

Regulated Professions
  • There are 45 regulated professions in the apprenticeship trades.
  • There are 154 regulated professions in the university professions.
  • There are 73 regulated professions in civil service careers.
  • There are 54 regulated professions in continuing education professions.
  • There are 42 regulated professions in subjects.
  • There are 65 regulated professions in job opportunities.

Non-Regulated Professions

Non-Regulated Professions
  • Most of the professions in Germany belong to non-regulated professions. For these professions there are no legal regulations for the exercise of the profession, therefore no recognition procedure is required.
  • Qualified job seekers from third countries need the recognition of the foreign professional qualification or the comparability of the university degree in order to be granted a visa.
  • In this case, it is advisable to apply to the ZAB for an individual assessment of the foreign university degree.
  • Unregulated professions are, for example, biologist, physicist, linguist, mathematician, economist, journalist, business economist, computer scientist or baker.

Recognition Process

Recognition of qualification to work in Germany

Recognition of qualifications

  • Vocational training or studies completed abroad need recognition in Germany. On the basis of the necessary recognition procedure, a distinction must be made between regulated and non-regulated professions.
Recognition procedure to work in Germany

Recognition Procedure

  • As part of the recognition procedure, the foreign qualifications, especially those from the regulated professions, are checked by the so-called competent authority in Germany to determine whether they are indifferent to the German qualification. This procedure is also called the equivalence test.
  • The recognition process usually takes between 3 to 4 months and could cost up to 600 euros. For medical qualifications, it could cost up to 1500 euros. Additional costs for translations, procurement of documents, certification, post, etc. should also be considered.
Requirements for recognition to work in Germany

Requirements for the recognition pocedure

The recognition procedure is legally based on the Professional Qualification Assessment Act and federal professional laws as well as corresponding federal state laws.

This procedure requires that the applicant:


  • wants to work in Germany. Here the applicant should show his interest.
  • has acquired a state-recognized professional qualification abroad.
  • proves his professional qualification with a diploma.

The way to recognition

  • Obtaining the documents
  • Translation and legalization of the documents at the German embassy abroad.
  • Find the right accreditation body where you want to work in the future.
  • If necessary, check whether the translation of your documents should be checked by a translator who is recognized in Germany.
  • Submitting applications to the competent authority.
  • Processing of applications. The recognition process could usually take between 3 to 4 months.


Notification (Bescheid). The applicant receives a notification of the recognition procedure from the competent authority.

Notification Bescheid

The notification will indicate whether there is partial or no recognition of equivalence. In the case of partial recognition, after the qualification, compensatory measures or adaptive qualification is necessary.

  • In the case of regulated professions, the competent certification body defines a compensatory measure on how to compensate for the essential differences and achieve equivalence.
  • Compensatory measures are usually an adaptation course, the aptitude test or the knowledge test.
Notifications Bescheid
  • In the case of non-regulated professions, the professional qualification is partially recognized, if not all parts of the qualification are equivalent. The notification describes the main differences to the German reference occupation and which adaptive qualifications are possible to compensate for the main differences. After the adaptation qualification, you can submit a follow-up application in order to receive full recognition of your professional qualification
  • No recognition
  • If there are significant differences to the German reference occupation that cannot be compensated, the foreign qualification will not be recognized