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.

If you have the slightest doubt about a certain point or do not understand any information, ask at any time in the main group of our community “Facharzt JETZT” on Facebook and Telegram (groups will appear as a folder). We remind you that this article is a guidance article to help you understand things and you should not rely solely on it. You should always return to the official websites. 😊

• How can you profit from work certificates?

(1) Recognition of bachelor’s degree & professional experience (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)

More details here: “Gleichwertigkeit: Avoiding a medical knowledge exam (Kenntnisprüfung) for doctors who studied in non-EU/EFTA countries”

(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 do not often 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.)

To know what skills, procedures, courses, operations, etc. are recognized in each medical specialty, please read this article: “🇩🇪 The Logbook (🇩🇪 das Logbuch): Content of each medical residency (🇩🇪 die Facharztausbildung)

To increase your chances of more recognition of what you did and of more years, make sure that your work certificates and log book are as detailed as possible.

(5) Recognition of board (specialist degree)

If you are already a specialist in your home country, then work certificates and a log book detailing all you did during the residency period will help you get your board recognized in Germany. After getting the German Approbation, you can send all of these documents to the doctor’s chamber in your region and ask them to acknowledge this foreign degree. Like mentioned in point number 4, you might be requested to repeat a part of the residency period and do again the German board exam; but the German board exams are relatively easy.

• Getting it in Germany recognized

To get this work experience recognized in Germany, you should send these work certificates by mail to the doctors chamber 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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