Pursuing a nursing career in most countries requires a bachelor’s degree and passing the board examination. Then you can further your career by taking a master’s degree in Nursing. Most universities undergo lecture and hospital duties for three or four years. If you are an international student or a foreign nurse already wanting to work abroad, there are requirements to follow. For example, in the United States, foreign nurses should pass the NCLEX or study for a number of credits, depending on the state they apply for. However, in Germany, they have a completely different curriculum from most nursing schools.

For foreign nurses to work in Germany as nurses, they must undergo an apprenticeship, where they work 2,500 hours of practical training in hospitals and study at the same time for 2,100 hours of theoretical knowledge. During your apprenticeship, you can expect to earn about €800 a month, which will then increase in the next few years to €1,000 a month. If you wish to study nursing in Germany, there are several universities and vocational schools that offer this and are completed for three years. In the last years of the degree, you can choose the specialization most suitable to you such as ICU nurse, nurse anesthetist, oncology nurse, psychiatric nurse, ward manager, and much more.

Once you finish your apprenticeship and your nursing studies in Germany, you need to pass a state examination, a qualification recognized by applying for Anerkennung which varies from state to state. To learn more, you can visit Anerkennung in Deutschland to learn the requirements for each state. This article contains detailed instructions for studying nursing in Germany as an international student. It covers the first step to the last, and all the requirements needed to pursue an education in Germany.

Can International Students Study Nursing in Germany?

Unlike the strict nationality requirements imposed by the United States, nursing schools in Germany do accept international students into their student body. Does this mean that the admissions requirement gets any lower for international applicants? The answer is no since all students regardless of nationality have to meet the minimum requirements stated by nursing schools in Germany.

Check Also: Germany Programs for International Students

How Much Does It Cost to Study Nursing in Germany?

The tuition fees for nursing programs cost around €300 ~ €400 per year, which is around $330 ~ $440. The tuition fees for German universities are quite low, but the living expenses can be quite expensive depending on the location that you want to stay in. If you want to save money, try to book your accommodation in a cheaper region.

Steps to Study Nursing in Germany

Step 1. Know the requirements to become a nurse in Germany

To become a nurse in Germany, all professionals must undergo an apprenticeship in hospitals, commonly known as the Ausbildung model. Generally, it is a three-year program that requires you to work a few days a week in a hospital, at the same time taking courses. During your apprenticeship, you get a salary from the hospital but you can expect it is not as high as a full-time nurse.

Aside from an apprenticeship, some German universities also offer bachelor’s, master’s, and postgraduate degree programs. For example, universities offering a degree in nursing are Hamburg University of Applied Sciences – Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Cooperative Degree Program); and Hochschule Bremen City University of Applied Sciences – International Degree Programme in Nursing (Primary Qualification) and a Master’s Program in Community and Family Health Nursing.

Step 2. Research Nursing Schools and have a list

A degree in nursing is relatively new in Germany, thus, a few universities offer this program. There are two types of nursing schools, one that offers a three-year university degree and another that offers three-year vocational training. Both types have their pros and cons, so it is best to do some research on the type of school you want to attend.

To begin a nursing career, research the top schools to study nursing in Germany. These schools have a website in German or English, making it easy to navigate and gain information about the school, courses offered, and tuition. It is also important to consider the location of the school, whether you want to study in the city or the countryside. Knowing the location will help you understand the cost of living in the area to get an estimated amount of money you have to prepare as an international student.

Step 3. Be proficient in German

Studying abroad usually requires international students to know their native language and present a certain level of language proficiency. If you plan to work as a nurse in Germany, a level B1 or B2 German proficiency level is necessary. The same goes for studying nursing in Germany.

At Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, the language of instruction of the course is German. It is best to start learning the German language now if you want to study here. It will not only be useful for school but also for your day-to-day communication in the country.

Step 4. Prepare financially

Knowing the cost of studying nursing in Germany beforehand will help you be financially prepared for your overall studies. Living in Germany is not as expensive compared to other European countries. On average, you need to spend around a thousand dollars for rent, food, and other miscellaneous, depending on your location and lifestyle.

The tuition can range from €200 to €300 per semester, about $245 to $367. For example, studying nursing at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences costs €331 per semester, taking into account that the course is completed in seven semesters.

Step 5. Obtain application materials

Each school has its own specific requirements for studying nursing in Germany. You can learn about it on the nursing school’s website which indicates the schedule of application, qualifications, and other educational background requirements. Generally, nursing schools in Germany require a general university entry qualification (Abitur) or completed vocational training (Berufsausbildung), knowledge of English at level B1.2 and German level at least B2, and a motivational letter.

The Hamburg University of Applied Science also requires a training contract from one of their training providers where you will conduct your apprenticeship during your study. When these documents are ready, it is reviewed and you can then take the entrance examination or maybe have an interview.

Step 6. Apply to Nursing schools in Germany

The first thing to do is to prepare the necessary requirements for your school of choice. Once these are ready, you can submit your application and wait for approval from the school. If you are chosen, you are then invited for an interview by the school. Upon passing the first stage, the school will give more information about the program and other additional requirements needed.

Some additional requirements can be your financial statement, medical certificate, criminal record, relevant professional qualification, and of course the processing of your visa to study nursing in Germany as an international student. It is important to note that German health insurance must be obtained before leaving for the country.

Step 7. Apply for Student Visa

For international students, a student visa is required to study nursing in Germany. If you are an EU citizen, you do not need to apply for a visa, whereas for non-EU citizens, a visa is needed. The visa application is simple, set up an appointment and submit your documents to the German embassy in your country. Afterward, prepare for your interview by practicing answering common questions. It is best to apply for a visa as early as three months before the start of the semester.

According to the Federal Foreign Office, these are the documents needed for the visa application: A passport, biometric passport photo, application form, financial statement, and admission to a German university. If you have not yet applied for a university, there is another procedure to follow to obtain a visa. Once approved, you can acquire your visa sticker in your passport.

Step 8. Final preparation

Now that you already have a university and a visa, it is time to find a place to stay in Germany. You can choose from a university residence, shared apartment, or rent your own space. Upon arrival, your residence will be asked by the immigration officer for other future occurrences. You will also need a German bank account as it is highly recommended that you use it to pay for rent, tuition fees, and your salary when you have your apprenticeship. Lastly, why not brush up on your German skills to help you better prepare for your departure?


All the information you learned in this article will help you prepare in advance and organize the step-by-step process of your application. We hope that this article on studying nursing in Germany was helpful. Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Germany and Study in Germany for more information about studying abroad!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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