🇩🇪 Which medical specialties are the easiest or hardest to get in Germany?

Foreigners are not at a disadvantage

Many (foreign) doctors want to know their chances of getting particular specialties in Germany. To begin with, foreign doctors can in most cases get any specialty they like in Germany. Unlike in the USA, Canada or Australia, many foreign doctors can get specialties like neurosurgery, spinal surgery, dermatology and ophthalmology. In the following table, we explained which specialties are hard or what are easy to get:

Hard to get specialtiesRather hardRather easyEasy to get specialties
ENT (Ear-Nose-Throat)
Plastic surgery
Thoracic surgery
Internal medicine
(including Cardiology & other subspecialties)
General surgery
Visceral surgery
Rest of the specialties are somewhere in the middle 😅

For more comparisons between working as a medical doctor in Germany and other developed country, you can read this detailed article:

• When are the medical specialties hard to get?

Generally speaking, the specialties are hard to get if:

• You can earn a lot of money later as a specialist

You can read the exact numbers in Euros in the following article:

• There are few residency places for that specialty

I think, this is the important factor. For example, in one hospital with 1000 beds, you will have like about 50 residents of internal medicine, 30 residents of surgery, 20 residents of orthopedics ( die Unfallchirurgie), 18 residents of neurology, but only 5 residents of dermatology or ophthalmology.

• Famous vs infamous specialties

Some like to be neurosurgeons or heart surgeons so that they can brag about that. On the other hand, some doctors are ashamed to become for example psychiatrists because of the stigma associated with this specialty in some countries of the world (Ask me! I had to go through this because as I came to Germany, I began a psychiatry residency. The stigma was of course in my home country. In Germany there is a very little stigma).

If the specialty is hard to get, does this mean that I will never be able to get it?

No! If you improved your CV, you can get almost any specialty. But please ask yourself first, if it is really worth to remain 8 or 10 years a resident doctor. In Germany, many started to think differently about their “dream” specialty. After a few years here, many start to think in terms of “work-life Balance” and want to spend more time with their partners, families and doing their hobbies.

In the following article, we explained how to increase your chances of getting your dream specialty:

Want to learn more? Questions?
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