31.7.2012 | Von:
Daria Braun

Actors in the Accreditation Practice

Akten (© picture alliance/chromorange )

Responsible for carrying out the accreditation procedure are regional accrediting agencies. In Germany as a whole there are more than 600 of these. Most of these agencies consist of court divisions, ministries and other official agencies (AG 2011: 8). In general, the principle applies that the procedure for the recognition of qualifications acquired abroad lies in the field of jurisdiction of those official authorities which are generally responsible for the training and exercise of specific professions (BMWi 2012b). Which authority is responsible in each case is also determined by the place of residence, the particular profession, and the Bundesland where the applicant poses his demand for accreditation.

A physician resident in the Bundesland Hamburg, for example, who is in possession of a certificate acquired abroad must for the accreditation of his qualification turn to the examination authority for the healing professions (Landesprüfungsamt für Heilberufe) in Hamburg rather than to the State Chamber of Physicians for Hamburg (Landesärztekammer). While the examination authority is the only accrediting agency in Hamburg which carries out verification of the equivalence of a foreign medical degree and grants the license for practicing a profession,[1] only the examination of the applicant’s state of knowledge and the accrediting of medical specialist training completed in Germany falls within the area of competence of the Hamburg Chamber of Physicians (Braun 2011: 40). For a person with an educational certificate acquired abroad who lives in Lower Saxony but wishes to work in Hamburg, it is not the place of residence that is decisive but rather the place of business, in other words, Hamburg in this case. The person also needs to apply to the Landesprüfungsamt für Heilberufe. In Bavaria, for example, there are seven different agencies for the granting of a medical license and their scope of authority varies from one region to the next.[2] Since so far there has been no nationwide agency which gathered in the information on the individual accrediting procedures in the various Bundesländer, in the past there was often a lack of clarity with regard to the question which authority had to be addressed and was responsible for the accreditation procedure.

This text is part of the policy brief on "Procedures for the Assessment of Qualifications Acquired Abroad in Transition".


The license to practice is according to the German Federal Medical Code (Bundesärzteordnung) Art. 10 compulsory for the practice of medicine by citizens of third countries.
Responsible for Mittelfranken, Lower Bavaria, Upper Bavaria, Oberfranken, Oberpfalz, Swabia and Unterfranken.
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