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Nursing in Germany

May 31, 2024


Anpassungslehrgang Vs Kenntnisprüfung: Know The Differences

Do you want to work in a foreign country as a nurse? But can you also not decide where to work? We suggest Germany. 

The German healthcare system is always on the lookout for nursing professionals. Due to the growing ageing population and increased life expectancy, the country has a high demand for nursing personnel in hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities. 

To become a nurse in Germany, there are a series of steps required like getting a nursing qualification, proof of German language proficiency and translating documents at the embassy. After completing these steps, you need to get your documents recognized by the competent authority. 

The recognition process assesses if a foreign professional qualification is equivalent to a German professional qualification. The equivalence assessment is conducted by the competent authority. After the assessment, they provide a notice that says if your qualification is fully recognized or partially recognised. In the latter’s case, you can make up for the difference with a compensatory measure. 

In this blog, we help you understand the difference between the two compensatory measures: Anpassungslehrgang (adaptation course) and Kenntnisprüfung (Knowledge test).

But first, for those who are new to the recognition process, let’s understand it better. 

The Recognition Process: A Brief Overview

The recognition process helps the German authorities establish whether the qualification you earned in your country is the same as the qualification provided to their local nurses. This process helps them determine that you possess genuine skills and qualifications that will help you deliver the highest quality of care to patients. 

Here is the process of getting your nursing degree recognized in Germany:

Step 1: Apply Online

The process starts with the online application to the competent authority, which can be done from anywhere in the world. 

The competent authority differs according to the profession and your desired work location. You can use this link to find a location that suits your preferences. It will require you to enter a town name or postcode. Answer all the questions mentioned. 

In the end, there will be a question that says, “Do you want advice?”. If you select “No”, the page will direct you to an information page of your desired location. If you select “Yes”, then the page redirects you to a free counselling session for the recognition procedure. 

This page mentions all the details regarding the recognition process for your location, including the required documents, translation, and links to the online application, along with the contact details and location of the competent authority. 

During the online application, you will be required to upload documents as proof of your qualifications and training, which are:

  1. Proof of identity
  2. CV or resume
  3. Evidence of professional qualification
  4. Evidence of content and duration of your training
  5. Evidence of any professional experience
  6. Certificate of good standing
  7. Marriage certificate (in case of name change)

Some additional documents, like evidence of German language proficiency, personal aptitude and medical fitness, may also be required. The competent authority will inform you if these need to be submitted. 

Step 2: Equivalence Check

Within one month of submitting your documents, the competent authority will inform you that they have received all your documents. They will also be informing you if any further documents are required to be submitted.  

The equivalence assessment by the authority can take up to 4 months

Step 3: Possible Outcomes

After the competent authority has finished its equivalence assessment, it will communicate its decision in a notice. The notice will state whether you have received direct partial or no recognition. 

1)   Direct Recognition (Vollanerkennung)

In this outcome, your professional qualifications are equivalent to the German professional qualification. This means that you are granted the same rights as your German peers and can start working as a registered nurse after entering the country.

2)   Partial Qualification Recognition (Defizitbescheid)

In this case, your qualifications do not completely meet the requirements. You are given a deficiency notice or Defizitbescheid, which will list the requirements that must be fulfilled to receive full recognition. There are generally two compensatory measures: Anpassungslehrgang and Kenntnisprüfung. We will provide more details on this in our next section. 

3) No Recognition

In this case, your foreign professional qualification is not recognized due to the substantial differences that exist compared to the German qualification. 


The recognition process explained 

What is the difference between Anpassungslehrgang and Kenntnisprüfung?

There are two types of compensatory measures for nurses who receive partial recognition; Anpassungslehrgang (adaptation course) and Kenntnisprüfung (knowledge test). 

Anpassungslehrgang (adaptation course)

The Anpassungslehrgang or adaptation course is essentially a long internship in different departments of a hospital or healthcare institution. During the course, you will practise and learn the missing knowledge and skills that were identified in your recognition notice.

It consists of a practical part and a final interview. The practical part is overseen by a qualified professional. The course ends with an oral exam or a final interview undertaken by the employer.

The duration of the recognition process can last 4 to 12 months, depending on the needs identified in the notice.

The adaptation course is only offered at selected healthcare institutions, as they require a corresponding training infrastructure. 

Kenntnisprüfung (knowledge test)

The Kenntnisprüfung or knowledge test route involves taking a theoretical and practical exam at a German nursing school. Before the exam, you will be required to undertake a preparatory course that will prepare you for everything that will be tested. The course is generally implemented with an educational partner.

The preparatory course can be taken virtually while you are working for an employer. Alternatively, you can also take the course in a nursing school.

The preparatory course combined with the theoretical and practical exam can take between 6 to 9 months. 


Anpassungslehrgang Vs Kenntnisprufung 

The compensatory measures can be completed in Germany. To do that, you need a German visa. The process of getting the visa is explained in the next section. 

What is a Visa for recognition of foreign professional qualifications?

Germany offers an option to obtain a visa for recognition of professional qualifications that allows you to complete the compensatory requirements in the country itself. The visa grants you a residence permit of up to 24 months

This can be renewed for 12 months in case you have to retake an examination or there is a delay in issuing the certificate.

The requirements to apply for the visa are:

  1. Proof of partial recognition: You need to present your recognition notice, which proves that the competent authority in Germany has identified that you lack the knowledge/skills for full recognition of your qualification.
  2. Proof of language proficiency: You need to demonstrate that you have knowledge of the German Language. Since nursing professions require at least a B2 level, we recommend achieving that.
  3. Confirmation of registration to a qualification measure: You need to show that you have successfully registered to a qualification measure, which you will be completing during your stay in Germany.
  4. Proof of finance: You will also be required to show that you can cover your cost of living during your entire stay in Germany.

The visa also permits you to work up to 20 hours a week in a part-time position that is independent of the qualification measure. It means that you can work part-time at a different healthcare institution than the location of your compensatory measure. 

Next steps!

After completing the compensation measure, you will be granted a certificate. The certificate can be submitted to the competent authority, who will check the certificate and all the other requirements.

If you meet the requirements, you will be granted a direct recognition that gives you the same rights as someone with a German professional qualification.

TERN: Your partner in overseas healthcare recruitment 

TERN is a full-stack upskilling, global migration and placement platform. We have been successful in simplifying the complex process of searching for jobs and moving abroad. 

For Indian nurses wanting to secure a job in Germany, our assigned dedicated counsellors are there with you through every step. 

Our process begins by helping you set up a profile that highlights your experiences, qualifications, language proficiencies and achievements. We take the time to understand your interests and specialisations and use that to match with jobs across 16 German States. From helping you prepare for the interview to scheduling it and getting an offer, we ensure a seamless and hassle-free experience throughout.

After accepting the offer, we also help you with the logistics associated with relocating to Germany by connecting you to the local guardian, airport pick-up service, finding accommodation and more.

Are you ready to begin your nursing journey in Germany? Book a consultation with our team

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