Recognition for engineers: Which procedure right for you?
What are the first things that come to your mind when you hear “Made in Germany”? If you’re thinking of cars, machines and tools, you are probably an engineer. (If your second thought was beer, bread and sausages, you are probably a hungry engineer.)
Germany is famous for its world-class engineering and innovation culture. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there is a huge demand for engineers. This particularly applies to the fields of Electronics and Structural Engineering. The good news: The severe shortage provides for plenty of job opportunities for non-EU professionals.
However, before you start your job hunt, you should be well prepared. Amongst other things, recognition is a key prerequisite for obtaining an employment visa. So, what do you do next: You go and get your degree recognised! Nothing easier than that, right? Well, yes and no. When it comes to recognition procedures for engineers, Germany is more like Rome: Many roads lead to your destination. Typically, engineers show the comparability of their degree with one of the following:
- A download from Anabin,
- A Statement of Comparability, or
- Applying for the professional title of “Ingenieur”
All three options represent a different approach to recognition with its own set of benefits and disadvantages. Which one makes the most sense for you depends on your situation and motivation.
Using the database Anabin is the easiest way of showing how your degree compares to German qualifications. All you need to do is go online and check the status of both your university and your course. This can be done in a quick and simple manner. Firstly, confirm that the university that has issued your certificate has a status of H+. Then, confirm that your course’s equivalency category corresponds to a Bachelor or Master. Download both records and you are set for your visa procedure.
Despite its simplicity, unfortunately, the Anabin downloads don’t help much if you are still looking for a job. Because of their brevity, they don’t help employers understand your degree better. The records on Anabin also don’t allow you to use the protected professional title “Ingenieur”. However, if you only need to prove the comparability of your degree for bureaucratic purposes, e.g. a visa application, Anabin downloads are the most efficient way to go about it.
- Free of cost
- No details on the value of your degree
- Doesn’t allow you to use the professional title “Ingenieur”
- Only useful for the visa or other bureaucratic processes
Like Anabin, a Statement of Comparability is issued by the Central Office for Foreign Educational Systems (ZAB). However, in contrast to the Anabin download, it provides much more information. For example, it specifies which education level your degree corresponds to, which access to further education you have. On top of this, the Statement of Comparabilty clarifies what kind of jobs your degree qualifies you to do.
This makes it a great tool for increasing transparency and helping your job search. If employers are able to understand your degree better, they can provide you with more suitable job opportunities. Some employers even request a Statement of Comparability before finalising a job offer. However, it may also be necessary if Anabin doesn’t provide conclusive results regarding the comparability of your degree.
Since the Statement is an individual assessment of your qualification, you need to formally apply at the ZAB. The procedure starts once you have submitted your documents and transferred the processing fee of 200 EUR. Afterwards, the ZAB takes about three months to get back to you with the result. Make sure to plan ahead!
- Increased transparency about your education and access to Germany for employers
- Useful when searching positions for young engineers
- Not immediately available
- Doesn’t allow you to use the professional title “Ingenieur”
3. Professional Title “Ingenieur”
Did you know that the German professional title “Ingenieur” is protected? The reason for this lies in consumer protection and the high quality expected from German engineering. Thus, only if you have studied the same things a German engineer would have learned, you may obtain the title.
For an international job seeker, this means that you can only use the title after an assessment of your qualification. Although it may be appealing to simply put an Ing. in front of your name, you really shouldn’t. In fact, doing so without authorisation is considered a penal offence with costly consequences. Thus, if you want to use the title, make sure you apply for the appropriate recognition procedure first.
Having the title is also a mandatory prerequisite if you want to become a Consulting Engineer in the future.
How to get the professional title?
If you wish to apply for the professional title, you need to submit an application to the competent authority. Typically, that’s the Chamber of Engineers of the state you intend to work in. (You can use the Recognition Finder in order to find out which one that is.) The authority will then assess your degree in detail. Thus, it will compare your subjects studied, practical training, relevant work experience etc. with the German engineering degree. If significant differences are found, you will have to do an adjustment measure. Such adjustment may be done achieved through a knowledge test or adjustment course. Only on passing / completion, you will be authorised to use the professional title.
Considering the many steps involved in this procedure, it’s not surprising that it takes multiple months to complete. Overall, it is also the most complicated procedure for demonstrating the comparability of your qualification. Besides, every step is associated with costs. This being said, the title Ingenieur is a quality seal for your engineering know-how. Thus, if you are planning for a longer career in Germany, it is worth a thought.
- Quality seal
- Puts you at the same level as German engineers
- Opens the door to becoming a Consulting Engineer
- Lengthy and cost intensive procedure
- Additional prerequisites with regard to German language and experience may be given, depending on authority
As an engineer, you have multiple options for showcasing your degree. Each of them requires a different amount of time, money, and documentation. Which one makes the most sense for you depends on your object. If have any questions, you can always ask ProRecognition.
On a sidenote
While engineers are in demand, they aren’t the most sought-after group of professionals. In fact, almost two-thirds of all vacancies are for candidates with vocational qualifications, such as mechatronics technicians, electricians etc. Thus, if you have a Bachelor’s degree, but are working as a technician (and plan to keep doing that), you might have better changes looking at a vocational reference profession.