American doctors practicing in Germany need to obtain German Medical Licensure, as outlined in an earlier post. Licensure requires non-EU trained physicians to take the Kentnissprüfung (KP), a medical knowledge oral exam, in German. The Merkblatt, the brochure listing the requirements for licensure indicates that there might be a way to avoid taking the KP by providing extra documentation and sending these documents to a government-appointed appraiser, a Gutachter. You pay the Gutachter about 1,000 euros to prove that your education is equivalent to that of a German medical student. This is a scam. Do not do it. It is a complete waste of time and money – I say this from experience.
Proving Medical Education Equivalency
I met my husband, who is German, during his first year of German medical school. During his six years of medical school I realized that US medical training is more rigorous than German training. Germany, along with many other countries, aligns its medical education standards to the US medical education system. As an American doctor wanting to practice medicine in Germany, I requested a Gutachter to demonstrate that my education is equivalent to that of a German medical student.
I submitted every syllabus from every class taken in college and medical school; I needed the exact syllabus from the year and semester I took each class. I submitted every evaluation from medical school and residency. In total, I submitted over 500 pages of material. At the time I applied for the Gutachter, I was able to provide my paperwork in English. Currently, all paperwork needs to be translated into German via a certified translator (see “Eight Steps to a German Medical License”). If I had to translate 500 pages of material, at 75 euros per page, this would have cost over 37,500 euros.
The Gutachter’s Decision
After waiting 9 months, the Gutachter rejected my paperwork. I had 1,000 more hours of education compared to a German medical student. However, my medical school curriculum was systems-based and not subject-based, my evaluations were not formatted according to the German standard, and I learned about venereal disease in Gynecology instead of Dermatology. And finally, although the duration of my surgical and internal medicine experience more than exceeded the requirements, because my experience spanned several hospitals and several attendings, my experience was not equivalent to a German Medical students’.
The Harsh Reality
I consulted a lawyer and he shared that only one person has EVER gotten out of taking the KP via the Gutachter. The Gutachters have a classified form, not disclosed to the public, so it is impossible to know their requirements. There are many open lawsuits that are waiting to be heard in court because the German medical lobbyists want to make it hard for foreign doctors to get licensed in Germany. As long as there is a need for doctors in Germany, the medical lobbyists can demand higher wages. This is why the entire Approbation process in Germany is confusing and challenging, making it harder for an American doctor to practice in Germany.
Do not fall prey to the Gutachter – they will consume your time and your money! For more information on how to practice in Germany, check out Everything You Need to Know About Practicing Medicine in Germany.
Dr. Shana Alexandra Greven (Shosky) is an Osteopathic Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine specialist, an American doctor living in Germany who recently received Approbation (a German Medical License). She works part-time as an Assistant Professor at ATSU Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO as well as at Liberty Mountain Medical Group in Lynchburg, VA. Dr. Greven enjoys spiritual and contemplative studies, meditation, yoga, running, fitness, nutrition, nature, equality, and believes in supporting the physical, spiritual, and mental Health of her patients. She is also an Adventure Guide, providing a personlized approach to help others move to Germany through our Guidance Service.