Specialised Language Examination (FSP) for Nurses (and other Health Professions)

Specialised Language Examination (FSP) for Nurses (and other Health Professions)

What is in store for you?

Anyone who wants to work as a nursing professional in Germany in the future must, in addition to proving their professional competences (through a knowledge test or adaptation course), also take a compulsory language test. This means that a normal B2 language certificate (e.g. from the Goethe Institute or telc) is no longer sufficient. Instead, a so-called Fachsprachenprüfung Pflege (FSP) at the B2 language level will be introduced in all federal states. You can find out when this will be introduced and what it means for you here.

Implementation at the level of the individual federal states

The FSP is implemented in the same way as the recognition of professional qualifications, where the decisive factor for the application is where you will work and live in the future. Each federal state can decide for itself how the examination is to be held. But there is a uniform legal background. The differences will therefore not be too great.

Why will the FSP exist in future?

The introduction of the professional language examination is intended to ensure that all nursing staff coming from abroad are only granted the status of a professional if they can really express themselves competently in the language. This is to guarantee that you can communicate adequately in German with colleagues and patients in your profession.

What will the FSP look like?

The Fachsprachenprüfung B2 Pflege refers exclusively to the professional field of nursing. It consists of two oral parts and one written part. It is about testing listening comprehension as well as oral and written expression skills at level B2. Explicitly, no nursing knowledge may be tested! This takes place separately in the knowledge test or in the adaptation course.

Details using Bavaria as an example:

Part 1: Professional-patient interview (20 minutes)
The aim is to check appropriate oral expression and the use of terms that are understandable to laypersons.

Part 2: Professional-patient interview (20 minutes)
The aim is to check the appropriate oral expression and the use/understanding of technical terms.

Part 3: Typical written task (20 minutes)
The aim is to check the ability to express oneself in writing, taking into account the correct use of technical terms.
How does the FSP relate to professional recognition?

The professional language examination can be repeated as often as desired and can be taken before or after the knowledge examination (Bavaria). In any case, the professional certificate is only issued after passing both the technical language examination and the knowledge examination.

From when will the introduction of the specialist language examination in nursing take place?

Important: From 01.01.2024, all of these will be subject to only the FSP being an approved examination.

Important: Key dates will relate to the receipt of applications for professional recognition. How is this to be understood? Example: in Bavaria, the FSP for nurses will be introduced on 1 July 2023. If your application for professional recognition is submitted (arrives at the authority) on 30 June 2023, then you do not yet have to take the FSP. However, if your application arrives one day later, i.e. on 1 July, then you are already obliged to take this examination!

Known start dates
Baden-Württemberg: unknown
Bavaria: 01.07.2023

Bremen: 01.11.2022 (only specialist language exams)
Hamburg: 01.01.2023
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: probably 01.07.2023
Schleswig-Holstein: 01.07.2023
Lower Saxony: start date still unclear

Start date also still unclear in: Brandenburg, Berlin, Saxony-Anhalt

Examination fee/s
350 EUR per examination (Bavaria)

Tip: Talk to your employer in advance to see if they will cover the costs.

Open points
  1. Preparation courses: At present, there are often no special preparation courses offered. However, this should only be a matter of time. So please do not worry about this.
  2. Transferability: It is still unclear to what extent the transferability of exam results from one state to the other will be handled. So: if you have successfully passed the exam in one federal state, but then change jobs and move to another federal state immediately afterwards, it is still unclear what will happen.