FAQ - Recognition of qualifications as a teacher
Here you will find answers to frequently asked questions about the recognition of foreign teachers’ professional qualifications.
- General questions on the recognition of teachers' professional qualifications
- Questions about the application procedure, documents and fees
- Questions about additional training, the adaptation period and the aptitude test
- Questions about the required German language skills
- Questions on the simplified procedure for refugee teachers
General questions on the recognition of teachers' professional qualifications
What is the difference between recognition and equality?
If you want to work as a teacher in the public school service in Berlin, but have acquired your professional qualification as a teacher outside of Germany, you need a recognition of your professional qualification. This is a notice confirming that you have completed training as a teacher in the country where you obtained your qualification. A brief assessment is sufficient for this purpose.
For permanent employment, an equivalence test of your degree in comparison to the corresponding Berlin teaching qualification is also required. The recognition office for domestic and foreign teaching qualifications will also check the equivalence of your degree on request and determine the equivalence or any differences in training. If there are differences in training, conditions will be imposed which you must fulfil before your qualification can be treated as equivalent. If there are no significant differences in training or if these have already been compensated for, you will receive a notice of equivalence.
Can I also work as a teacher in the state of Berlin if my foreign training as a teacher has not yet been equated?
Yes, it is possible to apply as a mother-tongue teacher at a State European School in Berlin, for example, if you already have a brief assessment confirming that you have a foreign teaching qualification. The prerequisite for this is a corresponding need.
Temporary employment as a substitute teacher is also possible if there is a corresponding need.
Can I apply for a teaching degree in other federal states after I have achieved the same status as a teacher in Berlin?
You can also apply for a teaching position in other federal states once you have achieved the same status as a teacher in Berlin. The respective competent office of the other federal state decides whether it is possible to be employed in the teaching profession in another federal state.
Since the training of teachers can differ from federal state to federal state (different teaching professions and subjects), you should submit your application in the federal state in which you wish to work as a teacher.
What is meant by differences in training?
Differences in training may exist, for example, if:
- study and examination achievements in a second teaching subject are not proven to a sufficient extent or are completely missing (in Germany, teacher training always takes place in at least two teaching subjects),
- there is no evidence of practical school training comparable to the Berlin preparatory service with final state examination for a teaching post.
Can I decide for myself for which Berlin teaching post I would like to have equality?
The allocation of foreign teacher training to a Berlin teaching qualification is carried out within the framework of the recognition procedure by the recognition office. The decisive factor is the type of school or grade level for which the teaching qualification was acquired in the country of origin. Only if the assignment can be made to several Berlin teaching posts, you can choose for which teaching post you want to achieve equality.
What are the legal bases for the application procedure and for the design of compensation measures?
The procedure for the recognition of foreign teacher training is regulated by the Gesetz zur Anerkennung und Gleichstellung ausländischer Lehrkräftequalifikationen (Lehrkräftequalifikationsfeststellungsgesetz Berlin – LQFG Bln)
The structure of the school-practical adaptation course and the aptitude test is regulated in the Regulation on the adaptation course and the aptitude test according to the Gesetz zur Umsetzung der Richtlinien 89/48/EWG, 92/51/EWG und 2001/19/EG für Lehrerberufe (EG-Richtlinienverordnung für Lehrerberufe – EG-RL-LehrVO)
Questions about the application procedure, documents and fees
Brief or detailed assessment – which is right for me?
Normally the detailed assessment is the right one, as only in this case an equivalence test is carried out. If no differences in training are found, you can be placed on an equal base with a Berlin teacher. If there are educational differences, the detailed assessment will tell you what you have to do to compensate for these educational differences.
The brief assessment only contains the confirmation that you have a completed qualification as a teacher. It is sufficient if you only need a certificate for submission to the Job Centre or for employment at a public school or other educational institution that your qualification is a completed training as a teacher. The brief assessment is also sufficient for temporary employment in the public school service in Berlin or for employment as a mother-tongue teacher.
Which documents need to be translated by a sworn translator, and which do not?
Documents must be translated by a sworn translator. The other documents can be translated by yourself or by acquaintances. In our Brochure for teachers with international degrees you will find more details on page 11.
Are German translations always required, even for English documents?
Questions about additional training, the adaptation period and the aptitude test
I have received a decision and still have to compensate for differences in my education before I can be awarded the same status as a teacher in Berlin. Do I have to fulfil these requirements within a certain period of time?
There are currently no deadlines in Berlin within which the requirements must be fulfilled. Since it cannot be ruled out that the legal basis and thus also the recognition practice will change, you should complete the requirements within the following five years if possible.
What do I have to bear in mind if my assessment states that I still have to complete coursework and examinations as part of additional training?
The courses offered in the teacher training programmes of the Berlin universities are suitable for compensating for differences in education.
You can apply to study at any time, but you can only receive advice from the university that is tailored to your individual needs once you have received the detailed decision. We therefore recommend that you only contact the university once you have received the detailed assessment. The application deadlines and modalities can be found on the homepages of the universities.
For the teaching profession at integrated secondary schools and grammar schools, we recommend choosing NC-free subjects to speed up your chances of getting a place at university.
Study achievements that you have completed as part of the lateral entry at the StEPS are unsuitable for the equalisation of educational differences. Unfortunately, these cannot be taken into account for equalisation for legal reasons.
What can I expect in the school-practical adaptation course?
The school-practical adaptation course takes place in a school-practical seminar and at a school. It includes participation in events of the General Seminar, events of the Specialist Seminars or the Specialist Seminar as well as the practice of the profession at a public school. The seminar and the school are assigned to you.
During the school-practical adaptation course, you will receive a maintenance allowance in the amount of the candidate salary for the corresponding teaching post.
You do not have to take any more examinations, but you do have to pass them successfully.
The duration of the practical school adaptation period is determined in the detailed decision. If at the beginning of the practical school part of the adaptation period you do not yet have proof of language skills at level C 2, the practical school adaptation period is automatically extended by six months, as in this case you must attend a job-related language course at the School Practical Seminar at the beginning.
What can I expect in an assessment test?
The assessment test consists of two teaching samples, which must be reflected upon in a subsequent examination interview. A further examination component is an oral examination in which knowledge of the Berlin school system and Berlin school law must be demonstrated.
Before the qualifying examination, you will teach for four weeks in the learning groups in which you will take the examination. You will not receive any remuneration for this exam-preparatory teaching.
The exam can be repeated once if you fail.
Adaptation course or assessment test, which is right for me?
You can decide for yourself whether you would prefer to take an adaptation period or an assessment test. However, once the decision has been made, it can no longer be changed.
We recommend an aptitude test especially in the following cases:
- if you are already working at a school and the type of school fits the teaching profession with which you can be equated,
- if you already have very secure language skills at level C 2 or your mother tongue is German,
- if you have already acquired in-depth knowledge of the Berlin school system and the teaching culture preferred here, and your head teacher expressly recommends that you take the examination after observing your lessons.
In all other cases, we recommend the practical adaptation course. You can also complete the adaptation course while working.
Can I also compensate for differences in education through work experience?
You can also compensate for differences in school practice through professional experience if the professional activity fulfils the following criteria:
The professional activity
- was carried out after the acquisition of the foreign teaching qualification,
- was carried out concurrently or in no more than two blocks of time for at least three years,
- was exercised to the extent of at least half the regular weekly working time,
- relates to the subjects and grades for which equal status is sought.
The professional experience must also include, on a pro rata basis, experience in subjects or disciplines which you may have studied in the context of additional training and must be evidenced by a certificate issued by the school or the ministry responsible for education.
Questions about the required German language skills
Can I already start with compensatory measures if I do not yet have a German-C 2 certificate?
Yes. Language skills at level C 1 are recommended for additional training (study credits). Please enquire at the universities about the exact requirements for taking up studies.
For the school-practical compensatory measures (adaptation course or aptitude test), we recommend language skills at level C 2, as this will significantly increase your chances of success.
How and where can I acquire the necessary language skills?
You can take language courses offered by the usual providers or complete a language course geared towards the teaching profession at the Language Centre of Humboldt University. A job-related language course can also be taken as part of the school-based adaptation course, but this leads to a six-month extension of the adaptation course.
The Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family offers you a free school-related language assessment. Please attend an information event beforehand to prepare for the language test. There you will also receive detailed information about the procedure and the contents of the language test. If you are interested, please contact the recognition office by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
When do I have to prove German C 2 at the latest?
A recognised C 2 certificate must be presented at the latest for permanent employment in the public school service. We recommend submitting the proof before the start of compensatory measures in school practice, as this will significantly increase your chances of success and automatically shorten the adaptation period by six months.
Questions on the simplified procedure for refugee teachers
Why is the procedure free of charge for refugee teachers?
The procedure for refugee teachers was developed for persons who are likely to be in Germany only temporarily and who in all likelihood will not be able to submit all documents in full, or who currently do not have the necessary financial means for sworn translators and procedural costs. Since no fees are charged and the Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family Affairs can only issue a preliminary assessment of the qualification at hand due to missing documents, the notices issued in this procedure are only valid for a limited period of time.
Please note that the procedure does not apply if you have been obliged to take up residence in another federal state.
Is the limitation of my decision to drei years a disadvantage for me?
No, because you can apply for a de-termination at any time for a fee. The prerequisite is that you can present the necessary documents.
Senatsverwaltung für Bildung, Jugend und Familie