Doctors Residency

Specialist – What is it?


A specialist is a doctor who after his approval has completed several years of medical training which ends with a specialist exam.


Doctor’s residency


Specialist training in medicine usually takes five to six years and takes place in university hospitals or other facilities that are allowed to train. The regulations for specialist training are not uniform throughout Germany. The responsibility lies with the regional medical associations of 17 German states. Prerequisite is the proof of very good knowledge of German language at least at the level B2 of the European reference framework (for example the certificate "Deutsch für den Beruf"), and a license as a practicing physician, the approbation.




After successfully completing medical studies, training as a specialist in an elective subject can be added. This training lasts five to six years. There are 30 different subject areas, i.a. Surgery, ear-nose-throat specialist or dermatology. There is a defined task catalog for the training. At the end of the training the specialist exam has to be passed. The training as a specialist is not a course of study and does not take place at the university. During the training the trainee works full-time as an employed physician for example in a doctor's office, a university clinic, a university center or another approved institution of the medical care. The occupation as a resident physician is remunerated.


The “Approbation”, admission to medical practice in Germany


Practicing as a doctor in Germany requires a state permit: the "admission to medical practice in Germany", the license to practice. This is requested from the Supreme State Health Authority. First, the degree must be checked for equivalence (knowledge check). If no equivalency can be stated, a temporary work permit will be issued for a maximum of two years. Within this time, the equivalence check must be filed. After passing successfully, the German approbation is usually issued.

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