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Nursing in Germany

May 15, 2024

13 Min Read

7 Benefits of Working as a Nurse in Germany

Being a nurse is a career path fueled by a genuine desire to help others. You dedicate years to rigorous studies and then hours, often beyond your shift into caring for patients. Yet, the compensation rarely reflects the immense value nurses bring to the healthcare system. However, the winds are now changing. 

The healthcare industry has been witnessing unprecedented growth, especially after the pandemic. This surge in demand extends to all healthcare professionals, and nurses, as the backbone of patient care, are experiencing a particularly high demand. This, in turn, has created better work opportunities for qualified nurses, especially in developed countries. 

Now, why should you look for career opportunities in these countries? The answers are quite obvious—the jobs come with better pay, good opportunities, higher salaries, splendid exposure, family benefits, and many more. 

One such country that stands out of the crowd is Germany. 
Germany is one of the top 10 highest-paying countries for nurses. What sets it apart are the facilities, comfort, support, and, most importantly, surplus demand. The increased prevalence of chronic illnesses and ageing populations are a few factors behind the demand, which is in the millions and is expected to keep on increasing over the years. As a result, German health authorities are actively recruiting nurses from overseas, offering a chance for qualified Indian nurses to build fulfilling careers abroad.

The process of getting your dream job is quite easy too. Here’s a sneak peak - 

Process of becoming a nurse in Germany 

However, moving to a new country seems quite daunting, right? You want to weigh the pros and cons and get into all the details to make an informed decision. So, here is our exclusive piece helping you with the benefits of working as a nurse in Germany.

Benefit # 1: High demand and guaranteed work placement

In Germany, the demand for nurses is high, creating ample opportunities for you to get your dream job. You can apply for the position of a registered nurse called Gesundheits- und Krankenpfleger in your firm of choice, including hospitals, elderly care homes, rehabilitation centres, specialised clinics, or home care services.

The best part is that the German government is taking every necessary step to make the recruitment and moving process as simple and efficient as possible. For example, the government has streamlined the visa application process and has recognised foreign qualifications, making Germany a more welcoming destination for Indian talent.

Working in Germany requires learning the German language. Ensuring this is not a hurdle for the foreign nurses, the government, along with recognised platforms like TERN, offers language courses specifically tailored for medical professionals. 

While we are at it, TERN’s courses are designed to help nurses reach the required B2 level of German language proficiency efficiently. The icing on the cake is that once you secure a job offer through TERN, your entire course fee will be refunded. This special programme comes with super special perks as well. 

TERN’S German language program designed for nurses

Benefit # 2: Higher salary for nurses

As a newly graduated nurse, you can expect to start with an average annual gross salary of around €2,8000. This figure can vary depending on factors like region and employer type. Public hospitals and healthcare facilities tend to offer slightly higher starting salaries compared to private clinics and care homes.

As a certified nurse with 1-4 years of experience, you can typically earn an average of €2,500 per month. Nurses with 5-9 years of experience can expect an average monthly salary of around €3,050.

As an experienced nurse with specialised skills, your earning potential increases. Salaries for experienced nurses in Germany typically range between €4,000 and €5,000 per month. Specialised roles requiring advanced certifications and skills naturally command higher wages reflecting their critical responsibilities.

Registered Nurse Salary In Germany


However, it is important to note a few points:

  • Salary changes based on region. For example, you might earn more in locations like Berlin. However, living expenses will also vary.
  • Compensation can also be observed based on sectors. For example, the public sector is often reported as paying more than the private sector. Even the job security and benefits are better in this case.
  • With higher education, your salary increases too. A nurse with a Bachelor's or Master's degree in Nursing might earn more than one holding a diploma.

Benefit# 3: Additional social benefits 

A nursing career in Germany offers a significant improvement in social and financial security. Unlike India, where health insurance might be limited or not readily available for all, Germany boasts a universal healthcare system. In India, you might need to pay out of pocket for medical expenses or rely on limited insurance coverage. In contrast, in Germany, as a nurse, like all residents, you get automatically covered for medical expenses through mandatory health insurance contributions.

Public Pension 

Also, German nurses contribute to a robust public pension system that ensures a steady income after retirement. This system provides a strong financial foundation after retirement, unlike the situation in India, where a formal pension system might not be universally available to all. It is covered under retirement insurance. 

Accident Insurance 

Interestingly, in Germany, you also get accident insurance. As an employee, if someone gets sick or meets with an accident, either at work or commuting to work, the insurance is covered by your employer. This means that your employer is liable for getting you the insurance and will be paying the premium. The only thing you have to do is stay safe. 

Long-term Care Insurance 

You also have long-term care insurance - a mandatory social security system. It's automatically included with your health insurance and covers people who need assistance due to long-term illness or disability. The contribution is split equally between the employer and the employee. 

Unemployement Insurance 

But what in the case of unemployment? Well, Germany offers unemployment insurance to eligible individuals who lose their jobs involuntarily. This financial support helps bridge the gap while searching for new employment, providing a safety net for you during unexpected circumstances.

Benefit # 4: Work-life balance and career growth

Nursing in Germany goes beyond attractive salaries and social security benefits. It also prioritises a healthy work-life balance, allowing nurses to thrive both professionally and personally.

Paid Leave 

In Germany, full-time employees, including nurses, are entitled to a minimum of 20 working days of paid leave per year, based on a five-day work week. However, it is common for employees to receive between 24 to 30 vacation days annually as part of their contractual agreement. This generous vacation allowance ensures that nurses have ample time to rest, recharge, and enjoy personal pursuits, contributing significantly to a balanced work life.

Sick Leave Policy 

As a nurse, you also get benefits from sick leave policies. Employees are entitled to paid sick leave for up to six weeks if they have an illness that prevents them from working. After this period, health insurance benefits kick in, providing financial support at about 70% of their salary for up to 78 weeks. This extensive support system ensures that nurses can recover without the stress of financial hardship.

Maternity leave

Germany is also known for its favourable maternity leave policies. Pregnant nurses are entitled to Maternity Protection Leave ("Mutterschutz"), which starts six weeks before the expected date of delivery and extends 8 weeks after birth, during which they receive full pay. This policy underscores Germany’s commitment to supporting parental roles and family health.

Parental Leave 

Also, both mothers and fathers are entitled to parental leave for up to three years after childbirth. Once you meet the criteria, you are eligible to commit to your family's needs without worrying about losing your job or role. 

Child Benefit

Child benefit ("Kindergeld") is another significant perk for nurses with families. If you have a valid temporary residence or settlement permit, you are entitled to the benefit. The benefit involves monthly payments from the state to help with the costs of raising children. The amount per child ranges from €219 to €250, depending on the number of children. This benefit continues until the child is at least 18 or 25 years old, depending on if the child remains in education or training. Free education is another perk. 

The German healthcare system places a strong emphasis on professional growth and specialisation for nurses. You are encouraged to pursue further education through a variety of programs. Many employers offer financial assistance or full sponsorship for advanced training courses. You also have the opportunity to specialise in areas such as geriatrics, paediatrics, oncology, critical care, and more. Specialisation often leads to higher salaries and more advanced career positions.

Benefit # 5: Family reunion and German citizenship

Under the program called Familiennachzug (family reunion), you, as a nurse, with a permanent residence permit, are allowed to bring your spouse, minor children, and in some cases, dependent parents, to live in Germany. This program helps establish a strong support system while building a new life abroad. Spouses of working professionals are usually entitled to work or study in Germany, which can enhance the family's overall income and personal development.

After five years of residency and employment in Germany, you are eligible to apply for permanent residency and eventually citizenship. As a citizen, your benefits double. German citizenship means becoming an EU citizen, which includes the freedom to live, work, and study anywhere within the European Union without the need for special visas or permits. 

Citizenship provides access to comprehensive social benefits, including enhanced pension schemes, health insurance, and educational benefits, often at better conditions or rates than for non-citizens. It also provides a sense of security and permanence, protecting against deportation and allowing for a stable, long-term planning horizon.

Benefit # 6: Option to work in different settings 

The beauty of a nursing career in Germany lies in its versatility. Nurses are not limited to working in traditional hospital settings. Here are the different settings you can explore:

Krankenhaus (Hospitals): 

Hospitals are the primary workplace for nurses in Germany, offering roles in various departments such as surgery, paediatrics, emergency care, and intensive care units. The entry difficulty is moderate to high, depending on the speciality and location. Hospitals often seek experienced nurses but also provide training for less experienced staff.

Hospitals provide high-intensity environments with opportunities for learning and advancement in various medical specialities. As a nurse, you will experience diverse medical cases, contributing to broad professional growth.

Ambulante Kliniken (Outpatient Clinics):

These facilities provide medical care without overnight stays. As a nurse here, you can perform tasks ranging from routine check-ups to minor surgical procedures. Entry to this setting is often rated as moderate, as these positions can require specific skills in managing patient flow and providing specialised care in a less controlled environment than hospitals. You can enjoy regular work hours, and these settings are often less stressful than hospitals.

Altenpflegeheim (Elderly Care Facilities):

With Germany's ageing population, elderly care is a critical field. Nurses here focus on geriatric care, including basic medical care, assistance with daily activities, and palliative care. It’s easier to get a job in an elderly care facility as compared to hospital settings, often due to high demand and fewer requirements for specialised training. Altenpflegeheim provides a more stable and emotionally rewarding environment for those passionate about caring for the elderly. Work pressure is generally lower than in acute care settings.

Häusliche Pflege (Home Health Care):

In home health care, you get to provide medical and personal care for patients in their homes. This includes post-operative care, chronic disease management, and elderly care. You can enjoy flexible scheduling and can make a personal connection with patients. The setting is ideal for nurses who prefer a one-on-one caregiving environment.

Specialised Care Facilities:

These include settings like psychiatric units, rehabilitation centres, and specialised clinics for chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Entry to this setting is difficult, and you will be required to have additional certifications and experience in specific areas of healthcare. However, the opportunity offers a chance to become highly skilled in a niche area, which can be professionally rewarding and financially beneficial.

Öffentlicher Gesundheitsdienst (Public Health Services):

This involves working in community health settings, schools, and government agencies to promote health and wellness across populations. You will need a background in public health and nursing qualifications for this role, which is less clinical and more focused on education and preventative care. The setting offers regular hours and community engagement.

Benefit # 7: Labour and employment law protection 

Germany's robust labour and employment legislation provides extensive protections to nurses, safeguarding their rights in the workplace. These laws are crucial for maintaining fair and safe employment practices in a demanding healthcare environment. Below are some key laws that significantly impact the nursing profession in Germany.

Allgemeine Gleichbehandlungsgesetz - AGG:

The General Act on Equal Treatment law ensures that discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, religion, disability, age, or sexual orientation is prohibited in the workplace. Your employers are required to enforce this law by taking appropriate actions against discriminatory practices, which can include measures ranging from reprimands to dismissals of offending employees. This law promotes a fair and inclusive work environment where all nursing staff have equal opportunities for employment, advancement, and remuneration without prejudice.


The Remuneration Transparency Act’s core aim is to eliminate wage discrimination based on gender. It entitles employees to access information on criteria used to determine wages and to receive equal pay for equal work, irrespective of gender. This law ensures that both male and female nurses are paid equally when performing the same roles with the same qualifications and responsibilities, thus promoting gender equality within healthcare facilities.

Entgeltfortzahlungsgesetz - EFZG:

The Continued Remuneration Act provides employees with continued wage payments in the event of sickness or accidents, as well as on public holidays. The protection lasts for up to six weeks, after which a public health insurance benefit may apply, covering a substantial portion of the salary. This way, you can remain assured of financial stability even during periods of short-term disability or illness, reducing the stress and economic impact associated with health-related absences.

Kündigungsschutzgesetz - KSchG:

Act Against Unfair Dismissal protects you from unjust terminations. Employers must have valid reasons for terminating employment, categorised as personal, conduct-related, or economic reasons, and they are required to provide social justification for terminations. This provides job security to nurses by ensuring that terminations are fair and justifiable, thereby preventing arbitrary or unfair dismissals.

Arbeitszeitgesetz - ArbZG:

The Working Time Act regulates the maximum working hours to protect employees from overexertion. The law stipulates that workers cannot be required to work more than 8 hours per day, which can be extended to 10 hours under certain conditions, with mandatory rest periods. It ensures that you have sufficient rest, preventing burnout and maintaining a high standard of patient care and personal health.

Considering moving to Germany? TERN can help!

If you are a nurse looking to expand your professional horizons and considering moving to Germany, TERN offers comprehensive support to make your transition smooth and successful! 

Our comprehensive German Language Training Program will help you achieve B1 and B2 level proficiency, which is essential for nursing positions in Germany. 

  • The course is designed by experts, especially for medical professionals. 
  • It includes over 250 hours of online training with 2 shifts of flexible timing.
  • You will get access to all reading materials and language learning tools like Duolingo.
  • Once you secure a nursing position through TERN after completing the course, your entire program fee will be refunded.

Beyond language training, we support you through job interviews, cultural integration, and the bureaucratic aspects of moving to a new country. We ease this transition by offering practical support with logistics, from visa applications to finding accommodation and even setting up bank accounts and insurance. We also offer cultural integration programs that familiarise you with the German culture, legal system, and healthcare practices, ensuring that you feel at home in your new environment.

Connect with our team today to learn more about how TERN can help you fulfil your dream of working in Germany.

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