Language requirements to work as a registered nurse in Germany

This article will showcase the particular language path to becoming a registered nurse in Germany and pursuing a long-term healthcare career in Germany. We will also discuss what German language exams are recognized by the German authorities. Lastly, we will offer some tips to learning the German language successfully. 


  • What is the language path to a nursing job in Germany?

Candidates may work as a Nurse Assistant in Germany as long as they have passed the B1 exam, and of course have processed the Qualification Recognition in the local authority where they will work. To work as a Registered Nurse, candidates must pass their B2 exam as well as your Qualification Recognition Measure (“Anpassugnsmassnahme”). 


There is currently one state (Bundesland) that offers an exception: Hessen, which accepts B1 telc Pflege examination instead of the usual B2 exam required by all other states. 


  • What German language exams are accepted by the German authorities?

This answer is straightforward and simple! German authorities only accept language exams from three different language schools: Goethe, Telc and ÖSD.


All three exam methodologies abide by the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEF or CEFR) and will test candidates on 4 sections: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The good news is that – if candidates do not pass all these sections at once – they can schedule a follow-up exam for the specific sections that they still need to pass. When deciding which exam to prepare for, candidates should check exam dates, locations and costs. Candidates are required to pass the complete level B2 exam at one of the 3 institutions above.


  • When do candidates have to pass the B2 exam?


Candidates can travel to Germany with the B1 language certificate. Once in Germany, the timeline for passing the B2 exam depends on the visa. If candidates travel to Germany on a work visa, either §16d or  §16f, – which are the ones that Care With Care recommends – candidates have 18 months upon arrival to pass the required B2 language exam as well as the Qualification Recognition Measure. The Care With Care Model is set up in such a way that candidates should be ready to take the B2 exam within 2-3 months of upon arriving in Germany. 


At Care With Care, we guide candidates in their home countries to enroll in the most appropriate language course for them. We also offer ongoing language progress as well as mock exam tests in order to help them gage how effective their studies are and to get ready for their exams. It is also crucial that candidates travel to Germany either with a B2 certificate or a concrete plan to study and pass the B2 exam upon arriving in their new country. Falling to do so puts the candidate at risk. Therefore, we recommend that – whatever employer or agency candidates work with – make sure that there is a clear and high quality language plan ready in Germany. This will be crucial to set candidates up for success!

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