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Specialist/Residency Medical Training

Thank you for your interest in an advanced training or position as physician at the University Hospital Cologne.

In order to apply for a post graduate specialist/residency or advanced medical training (Facharztausbildung),  or to work as a physician in Germany you need a German license to practice medicine (Deutsche Approbation) and your German language skills should be at level 4 or 5 of the Common European Framework of Reference (TestDaF or level B2.2/C1 at the Goethe Institute). For studies in human medicine you can choose between two ways to achieve this goal. In case you studied dentistry you have to choose option 2 (please see this overview).

1. Accreditation of your medical skills*

First of all, your concluded medical education must be approved by the Landesprüfungsamt (LPA) of the respective federal land in Germany.For North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), the LPA in Düsseldorf is the responsible agency. The approval process will take approximately 4 months if you start with your application immediately. You have to pay for an evaluator who will check your medical education and if he or she acknowledges your medical education to be equivalent to the German education standard, you will then have to pass the Fachsprachprüfung (Specialist Language Examination; C1 knowledge of the German language needed!) There is no need for a Kenntnisprüfung (knowledge exam)! After passing the Fachsprachprüfung, the district council of Cologne will give you the license to practice medicine in Germany, which includes also the professional license (Berufserlaubnis).

*In case you have finished your medical studies within the EU the accreditation step is much shorter because your studies will be accredited in accordance to common EU laws.

Further information and contact details can be found on the site of the LPA and the Bezirksregierung Köln (district council). These websites are only accessible in the German language.


2. Application for a restricted professional license “Berufserlaubnis”

According to the district council of Cologne, your German language skills need to be at least at the level of B2.2 in order to obtain the restricted Berufserlaubnis. The district council suggests that you study German until you have reached the B2.2 level before starting the application process. If an applicant does not have this level, they will decline the application immediately. First of all, you have to pass the Fachsprachprüfung (Specialist Language Examination; C1 knowledge of the German language needed!) After passing this test you have to pass the “Kenntnisprüfung” (knowledge exam). For this you have to make an appointment 6 months in advance! In the meantime, you can get a paid work as a physician but you are not allowed to treat patients alone. You always have to work together with a physician with an unrestricted license to practice medicine who is responsible for you!

No matter which way you choose to apply, your German language skills need to be at level B2.2.

General German language courses and those focusing on the terminology exam can be found under the following links (Institute for International Communication, Mibeg Institute)

3. Funding a residency/specialist medical training

Foreign physicians who apply for specialization are only permitted to work at the University Hospital of Cologne if they have an employment relationship. The assignment of foreign physicians without an employment relationship is undesired at the university hospital.

This means that the director of the clinic where you want to do your medical training must have sufficient funds to pay your salary for the next 5 years, which is the duration of a specialist medical training. Please inform yourself about open positions on the webpage of the respective clinic. The other possibility is to finance your medical training with the aid of a scholarship.  According to experience, the amount of money donated by these scholarships is not sufficient to fully compensate the salary of a medical trainee (please have a look here). Therefore, you have to finance the additional amount with alternative funds or the director of the clinic is willing and able to compensate your salary.

The director of the university clinic does not allow working at the university hospital for less than the standard salary of a medical trainee. The money from the scholarship must be transferred to a third-party funds account of the university, and then the guest physician is paid from this account only. By this measure we want to ensure that the guest physician receives the same salary as a staff physician.


4. Observership/Internship (Hospitation) at the University Hospital

Please apply for an observership at the University Hospital with a CV and a letter of application directly to the department or research group of interest. In case that the director of the clinic or the head of a research group is interested in an applicant he or she contacts us to prepare all the necessary paperwork for the engagement. An observership is a good possibility to learn for the „Kenntnisprüfung“. You can also apply for preparatory courses for the knowledge exam.

Please do also check the FAQ from the Marburger Bund regarding an advanced training in Germany.