In Germany: Importance of work certificates (Arbeitszeugnisse)

• Introduction

If you worked outside of Germany after the internship year, you should get work certificates (= employment reference letters) of that.

Work certificates, also known as employment certificates or employment verification letters, are official documents issued by employers to confirm an individual’s employment history and provide information about their job performance. These certificates are typically requested from employees when applying for new jobs, pursuing further education, or for legal and immigration purposes.

• How can you profit from work certificates?

(1) Recognition of medical studies (die Gleichwertigkeit)

They could help in the recognition process of your medical studies (to compensate for subjects that you did not study). So, send them along with your application for the German permanent medical license (🇩🇪 die Approbation)

(2) Job application

You can include them in your application for jobs or for medical training (🇩🇪 eine Hospitation)

(3) Getting a higher salary level

The salary in German hospitals depends on position and years of experience. So, having worked outside Germany, when recognized, could dramatically increase your salary. For example, the difference in salary between a resident in the first year and a resident up to the 6th year is around 1348 Euro before taxes. The whole details about salaries in German hospitals are here: “🇩🇪 How much money do doctors earn in German hospitals?🫰💸💶”

(4) Reducing the number of residency years

They seldom recognize the whole period because residency in Germany includes different things than in other countries. For example:

  • Psychiatry: In Germany, you should learn psychotherapy too. This is why it is called a residency in “Psychiatry and Psychotherapy”.
  • Internal medicine, surgery, neurology, vascular surgery, etc.: You are expected to learn sonography. In Germany, radiologists do not do sonography. Each medical specialty does its own sonographies (for example, an internal medicine specialist should do abdomen and thyroid sonography, a neurologist should do duplex sonography of the neck and head arteries supplying the brain with blood, etc.)

• Getting it in Germany recognized

To get this work experience recognized in Germany, you should send these work certificates by mail to the medical association where you will belong after starting your first job (either with a permanent or temporary medical license). You can call them before doing that. They answer quickly.

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