Medical education in Germany is perhaps one of the topics I have researched and informed the most. Since my son has wanted to study Medicine for years and has been aiming for Germany, I have done very serious research on this subject. Cities, Schools, programs, admission requirements, etc. When my son finally achieved what he wanted, I wanted to share my knowledge. This is actually where this site came from. For this reason, I share summarized information about medical education in Germany here.
Deciding to Study Medicine in Germany
First of all, if you have a goal to study medicine, I would like to congratulate you on your decision. Believe me, if you really want and work for it, you will achieve your goal. Whether you want to study in your country or abroad, please be aware that you are stepping into a difficult path as well as knowing that you will step into a great profession. Please also read my article “Is it Difficult to Study Medicine in Germany?” about the structure of medical education in Germany.
The difficulty of studying medicine in Germany starts at the admission stage. Since medical education is extremely popular, only the best of German students can enter these programs. Since German university placements are based on high school grades for German students and there is a waiting period for those without sufficient grades to be admitted, the average age of students in these programs is quite high.
When my son started studying at Hannover Medical University, it was initially surprising to see that even though he was 20 years old, most of the students were 3 or 4 years older than him. The fact that the schools are so popular and selective means that you will also find it quite difficult during your studies. I have already written an article about the most difficult university courses in Germany. I recommend you to read it.
Structure of Medical Education in Germany
Medical education in Germany is very advanced and extremely popular. There are roughly 45,000 applications for 9,000 places. Don’t let 45,000 seem low, many students don’t even bother to apply because they have no chance of admission. Studying medicine in Germany is only an option for the best. For a German, excellent high school grades are the most important criterion. Otherwise, with a slightly worse average, they will wait for years for admission and in the meantime they will have to take preparatory courses (Nursing, Health Care, etc.).
The situation is more or less the same for foreign students. However, they have no chance to wait. The popularity of medical schools has led to a restriction in the number of foreign students. In Germany, roughly 400-450 foreign students can be admitted to medical schools each year. This number includes refugees living in Germany.
Medical education in Germany lasts a total of 13 semesters (6.5 years). The last 1 year of this education is spent in a hospital internship called praktikum. The last half semester is completed with a doctoral thesis. Students graduating from the school have to pass an exam in order to receive a license. However, the curricula for the first four years vary in the faculties.
In Germany, the medical curriculum is organized in two different ways: traditional medicine (Regelstudiengang) and model medicine (Modellstudiengang). The end-of-2nd-grade state examination, which is taken throughout Germany, is not offered in the “Model Medicine” curriculum. I wrote about the differences between these curricula in my article “Model Course in Medical Education in Germany”. I recommend that prospective medical students focus on the model that suits their personality, academic competence and working model. When my son was deciding on his school, one of the criteria was the school’s “Model Course” application.
You can access all my articles on medical education under the “Medical Education” category.
Medical Education in Germany is Very Popular
Are doctors in Germany satisfied with their jobs?
According to a survey of more than 10,000 resident doctors in Germany by Doctors’ Monitor, 91 percent of doctors are satisfied with their jobs. 96 percent enjoy their work and 98 percent find it meaningful and rewarding. This is particularly impressive when you compare being a doctor to the average worker. Because when you look at the overall average, only one in two people say they are satisfied with their job. This means that as a doctor in Germany, the risk of being dissatisfied with your job is much lower than in other professions. In Turkey, this rate is 35%. This is one of the reasons why many foreign doctors who have completed their training want to go to Germany.
How much do doctors earn in Germany?
Doctors are among the highest paid professions in Germany. According to StepStone’s 2017 salary report, the average income of medical professionals in 2016 was 79,538 euros. This is 62 percent above the average salary of a full-time employee in Germany (48,900 euros). Salaries vary in principle depending on seniority and position (residents earn significantly less than specialists), specialty (e.g. general medicine, surgery or radiology) and location (both states and countries).
The starting salary for resident doctors in Germany is around 52,800 euros gross per year. This equates to €2,800 net per month (depending on whether you are married and/or have children). Some graduates may also go to countries with better salaries, such as Switzerland. In Switzerland, a resident doctor earns 70 percent more (91,200 euros gross) and pockets around 6,000 euros a month due to low taxes, which is twice as much as in Germany. Even if you take into account that living costs, goods and services are on average 55 percent more expensive in Switzerland than in Germany, you will still earn 40 percent more.
Another thing is that doctors’ incomes are considerably more standardized than those of other professions. Since the entire health system is supported by compulsory health insurance, salaries in hospitals are based on the insurance companies’ tariffs. For example: Physician assistants are paid a standard salary of 52,800 euros per year. However, the annual earnings of a new lawyer or economist can fluctuate between €25,000 and €140,000, with a similar average depending on the institution. If you are a good lawyer and have proven yourself over the years and become a partner in a good law firm, it is of course possible to earn 1 million per year. However, according to research, the bottom 19 percent of doctors who have their own practice earn a net income of 83,000 Euros, while the top 14 percent earn a net income of around 331,000 Euros.
There is no medical specialization exam in Germany
In Germany, there is no exam similar to the TUS (Turkish Medical Specialty Examination) and you have the chance to study 33 different specialties. You can choose a specialty according to your individual interests and strengths. Specialty training can be completed in hospitals or clinics. In fact, since you are already working during the specialization process, you will receive an Assistant Doctor salary. The subjects and competencies that your specialist doctor teacher is responsible for teaching you during your specialization are defined. Clinics or hospitals advertise vacancies for specialty doctors and you can apply for these vacancies. Below is a graph showing the number of specialists in Germany (2016).
German is essential to study medicine in Germany
Medical education in Germany is only in German. There is no English Medicine program. Although there are English programs in other undergraduate programs, almost all of the undergraduate programs in Germany are in German. You can read my article “Is German Mandatory to Study in Germany?” on this subject.
German level requirements are higher in medical faculties than in other programs. You can read my article on German and Language Certificates in Germany University Applications about language levels and certificates. Although there are preparatory schools for those with a certain level of language skills, a very good knowledge of German is a must for success in medical education.
Recognition of Medical Education in Germany
Of the 39 medical faculties in Germany, 38 are among the top 1000 universities in the world university rankings. According to the new rules announced by YÖK, diplomas from these universities are considered valid in many countries around the world. In other words, you do not need to take an additional exam after the equivalence application. You can find an interactive map of these universities on the “Best Universities in Germany” page.
Short Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
One of the most basic requirements for foreign students of many nationalities to apply to a medical school in Germany is that you have been placed in a medical school (with some exceptions) in the university exam. A good knowledge of German is also a must. You can find more details about this in my article What is HZB? and in the paragraphs above.
The answer to this question is a very high score. It is quite difficult to get admission to medical schools in Germany. For admission to medical schools, a score between 1.0 and 1.2 in the German grading system (NC) will make your job easier. You can access my article on how your university exam score is converted on the What is VPD? page.
All but 1 of the medical faculties in Germany are state universities. Education is free of charge. In public universities, a fee of roughly 300 Euros is paid per semester (although it varies from city to city). This fee includes free use of public transportation. However, be aware that living and especially housing in Germany is expensive.
Medical education in Germany lasts 6 years, as in many other countries. There is an additional half semester of doctoral thesis. The last year of this 6-year training is completed with a practical year in the hospital.
First of all, it is quite difficult but not impossible. There are two different curricula for medical education in Germany. I wrote about the differences between these in my article Model Course in Medical Education in Germany. Transfer is impossible for schools with a model curriculum. Because the curriculum of each school is different. Since the classical curriculum is the more common curriculum worldwide, it can be tried, although it is difficult.
When it comes to medicine, of course it is difficult as in every country. What will really challenge you is the discipline of the German education system and the disadvantage of studying in a foreign country You can read my article “Is it Difficult to Study Medicine in Germany?” on this subject.
There is no exam for specialization after medical education in Germany. Specialization can be done in hospitals and private clinics. Specialty applications are no different from job applications. Clinics advertise and recruit candidates.
Germany has long welcomed medical doctors from all over the world. I can safely say that once you have successfully completed your medical training in Germany, no one will ask you to leave.
Doctors are highly respected professionally in Germany. In parallel, their above-average earnings make them professionally popular. In addition to this, there is a shortage of doctors, making Germany a popular destination for doctors from all over the world.
The earnings of doctors in Germany are better than other professional groups. (I am not talking about every professional group, how much do doctors earn in Germany for details? ) However, I should remind you that the wage differences that set the standards in German conditions are very small differences. Earning 500 Euros more per month will bring you to a very high standard.
All medical faculties in Germany teach in German. In addition, medical faculties require a higher level of knowledge of German than other departments. Most faculties do not have a language preparation program. Although conditional admission is possible, at least a B1 or B2 level of German will be required for applications. See German and Language Certificates for University Applications
If your score converted to the German grading system is lower than 1.2 and you are aiming for medical school, you can take the TestAS exam to improve your score. Some medical schools give bonus points for scores on this test, which can increase your chances of admission. You can find more detailed information about the exam on the What is TestAS? page.
Since 38 of the 39 medical faculties in Germany are among the top 1000 universities in the world, they are considered directly equivalent according to the current regulations (as of 2022).
University education in Germany is more standardized and balanced than we are used to. It would be pointless to distinguish between good and bad schools. However, some schools are very well-established and old, which increases their international recognition. When it comes to medical education, big cities can stand out due to their intense patient circulation. These criteria should be evaluated when ranking schools. See Top 10 Best Schools to Study Medicine and Dentistry in Germany
Did I help you? If you have any questions, you will probably find the answer on these pages, but you can still contact me at recep[at]recepdayi.com.tr and on my social media accounts. I try to improve my articles according to your feedback, so please send me your comments. Thank you in advance.