Education and professional training
If you wish to work or undergo professional training in Germany, you are generally required to possess good proficiency in the German language. This applies all the more if you wish to live in Germany for a longer period of time or even permanently. The required level of language proficiency also depends on what you want to do for a living. In some professions, a basic proficiency level will certainly enable you to go quite far.
Learning German - Speaking, writing and understanding German
A "basic proficiency level" is taught e. g. in the so-called "integration courses". The integration course has been designed to prepare the participants for the language proficiency examination entitled "German Language Test for Immigrants (Deutschtest für Zuwanderer - DTZ)" which is commensurate with Level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. Since 2005, both ethnic German repatriates and new immigrants with time-restricted residential status have been legally entitled to attend an integration course. Neither EU citizens nor German nationals are legally entitled to attend an integration course. However, you may apply to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) to attend an integration course.
German for the job
In most cases, however, advanced and job-related proficiency in the German language is required in order to do a good job in a particular profession or sector of the industry. Germany offers free German-language courses teaching job-related proficiency in the German language. However, these courses are available only subject to certain conditions. Naturally, there are also job-related German-language courses available which you are free to attend if you pay for them.
The authorization to practice certain professions – notably the health care professions or education and teaching professions – is sometimes subject to a prior successful language proficiency examination for which we advise you to thoroughly prepare.
One more important matter: Your mother tongue will be a major asset on the labor market in many sectors of the industry, provided you have a good proficiency of the German language. And the latter is a key prerequisite.
Learning new things, discovering new opportunities
You have decided on a professional career goal. This is the point to decide whether or not it makes sense to directly apply for a job. Maybe you first need to train for that particular profession, or you are still lacking certain professional skills.
But the question is: What additional skills do you still have to acquire or want to before you can work in the job of your dreams? Do you want to or have to train for this profession from scratch?
Will you need only a particular set of skills? - Sometimes the answer to this question is very simply: If you have e. g. initiated a recognition procedure for your trained profession, the notification received from the recognizing body will tell you what you will have to acquire in an additional adaptation course or prove in an aptitude test, where applicable.
But even people who already have a job in the career of their dreams can certainly find interesting and relevant offerings for developing and advancing their personal skill levels. It is important to obtain thorough and detailed information because there are usually more ways than one to achieve the professional career of your dreams.
In Germany, it is possible even for adults to obtain a school-leaving qualification or degree, to pursue university studies, to train in a new profession, or to generally to embark on professional and career development. The selection of offerings is so large as to make it difficult for most people to find the right path of education without prior counseling.
Sometimes people need help in order to choose from a number of different options, or even to find out all about the options available. For this reason, the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia has decided to offer helpdesks for professional development. Here is where you can get free and intense counseling on your personal professional development.
You might also want to consider how much time to wish to invest in your education, and the potential amount of costs and expenses involved. There is actually any number of funding opportunities which have been created for people who are planning to learn new things and acquire new skills. Because: Lifelong learning is becoming ever more important.
More about the issues of school-leaving qualification or degree and university studies
More about the issues of professional training and re-training
More about the issues of adjustment qualification, deficit assessment, and external students' examinations
More about the issue of financing