Before applying in Germany, you must be aware that there are diverse ways of acquiring an academic background for a job later in life.

The most common ways of doing so in Germany are either by visiting a University or a Fachhochschule, which are like universities and colleges, or you can also apply for an apprenticeship (in German called an “Ausbildung”).

University

Universities can be found in the bigger German cities (min. 100.000 inhabitants). Such include for example the Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, the LMU in München, RWTH in Aachen and many more. Different universities are specialized in many different fields, such as Economics, Technology or Sciences.

Here, students can attain a bachelor’s or a master’s degree, or even obtain a doctorate (PhD).

Advantages/Disadvantages:

  • Theory, research based
  • Larger, more diverse
  • Impersonal environment (students treated as numbers)

Main advantages of a university, are that they are focused much more on scientific research and analysis of the theory of the various subjects. This can lead to better understanding of the subject itself and are therefore ideal for people who want to enter the scientific field later. Due to their research and size, most are also very renowned in the country and even internationally, which can be of great advantage in the search for a job later.

Furthermore, Universities are usually much bigger than Hochschulen, meaning that many more people attend them. This allows for a greater diversity of different people, with many foreign students to be found. Additionally, they are also mostly present in bigger cities, which can be much more interesting to many students, as there is always something to be done. Drawbacks due to this great size, is that classes are very big, and the learning environment can be very impersonal, resulting in professors normally not knowing their students and treating them more as numbers, as it is hard for them to keep track otherwise.

You must stand much more on your own feet, meaning you are more independent during the organization of your studies. Courses for example must be chosen by yourself and you must enlist yourself in these courses.

Finding the right studies

Requirements 

Application procedure 

Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences)

Spread over the whole country, Hochschulen can be found in even the smaller cities. They are much more common than universities, as they are also much smaller than them.

Due to the vast number of Fachhochschulen, they can also vary greatly in their quality of education. Therefore, it is recommendable to look them up in rankings, which allows to filter for the good and renown Fachhochschulen which you will want to apply for.

In these, you can also attain bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

Advantages/Disadvantages:

  • Smaller, take more care of their students
  • Less theory, more applied knowledge
  • More personal environment

Unlike universities which focus on the theory, Hochschulen (Universities of Applied Sciences) are focused much more on knowledge that can be applied better later in the industry you will be working for. This can be of great preference for people who are not interested as much in the theory of different subjects but are much more interested in knowledge that can be applied much better in the actual working environment.

Great advantages also include that courses are much smaller than in universities and that professors can much better teach the subjects to their students and take more time for them when teaching them or even working in projects with them. Lecturers will often know you by name, while in universities you are often not much more than a number for them due to the sheer size of students they have there.

Courses are also put together for you, meaning that you will have to take less care of the procedure yourself and help is always much easier to find. This results in less freedom in the planning and organization of your studies, but usually results in a faster completion of your studies.

Finding the right studies

Requirements

Application procedure 

Ausbildung (Apprenticeship)

In an apprenticeship you will be working half the time in a firm (which you will have to apply for, to attain the apprenticeship), while the other time you will also visit an academic institution in which you will be learning further information necessary for your job.

Unlike in a Hochschule or University, you cannot obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree by doing an Ausbildung. However, you will receive a certification of a completed apprenticeship with which you will be able to apply for other companies or a Fachhochschule. With a good apprenticeship the firm you were doing your apprenticeship in, will most likely however offer you a job straight away, which you can then choose to practice if you wish to.

The more renown the firm you are doing your apprenticeship in, the more value your apprenticeship will have, when applying for other firms.

Advantages/Disadvantages:

  • Receive money (700€ – 900€ per month)
  • Directly involved in the working environment
  • No Bachelor’s or Master’s degree

Main advantage during an apprenticeship is that you will be earning a little amount of money (700€ – 900€ per month), as you will be working for a firm half of the time. This allows for more independence and allows for direct confrontation with the working environment of what you will be doing later, as you will be present in this environment from beginning on.

Especially apprenticeships in the health and technology industry are widely available in Germany, as not enough Germans are applying for these, making these easier to gain and better paid than others.

Finding the right apprenticeship (Only in German)

Application procedure similiar to job application (Cover Letter, CV, Certificates), which normally can be submitted online or send via mail. After application follows an interview or test for employment.