Are you wondering how much nurses in Germany earn? Germany is one of the best places to work as a nurse. Qualified medical workers are never left without a job. The country is experiencing significant demand for medical professionals, and hospitals are ready to provide a good salary.
In 2022, nurses in Germany earn an average annual gross salary of about 37,900 EUR, which is about 3,200 EUR monthly. The salary depends on the region, experience, qualifications, and working time (night shifts are paid better).
There are very many factors that can influence the nursing salary. But overall, the job paid well and grows with years of experience and expertise. Also read our article on how to work as a nurse in Germany.
How much do nurses in Germany get paid?
According to the largest German job board Stepstone, the average annual salary of nurses ranges between 32,400 EUR and 46,000 EUR, with an average of 37,900 EUR. Nonetheless, the nursing salary is highly influenced by the following factors:
Salaries in Germany range within regions and cities. Nurses in the Baden-Württemberg regions earn the most – 51,435 EUR, followed by Hessen and Hamburg with average annual salaries of 51,421 EUR and 50,435 EUR.
2. Brutto-Netto ratio
If you want to work in Germany, you need to keep in mind that the contract shows only your gross (brutto) salary. You will be taxed in this amount and pay social security contributions. Only after will you receive your net salary (netto). It will be approximately 35% – 45% less than in the contract.
3. TVöD – Collective agreement for the public service
If a nurse works in a public organization (most of the time), their salary depends on the company’s collective agreement. Numbers are strictly regulated and aren’t negotiable. However, the nurse’s TVöD level can be upgraded with work experience.
With one year of work experience, a rise to level 2 is possible, after 3 years to level 3, and a monthly salary of 3,500 EUR. Although the limit is 4,000 EUR, nurses will need a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree to receive higher compensation.
4. Working time/days
A nurse’s salary also depends on the time and day they work. The German government wants to protect and secure employees as much as possible, and since working at night isn’t good for your health – the employer has to pay extra.
Nights surcharge is 25% – 30% of the regular hour fare, and 25% is tax-free. As you can see, nurses who prefer to work at night earn, on average, much more than someone working regular hours.
In fact, Sundays are paid 50% (tax-free) more than the standard fare, and working on holidays will bring you 150% more than on an average day, plus 40% (tax-free) night fare applicable if working at night hours.
In total, nurses in Germany can earn up to 190% more, working unusual hours/days.
Generally speaking, the salary primarily depends on the company where the nurse is working. If the employment relationship is based on the collective agreement in the public service, the starting salary is about 33,000 EUR per year.
Depending on the area of responsibility, nurses can expect a salary of 2,600 EUR to 3,000 EUR gross per month at the beginning of their careers.
With experience and further training, salary tends to rise. The longer the nurse has worked in one hospital and one department, the higher her salary.
A monthly salary of approximately 3,400 EUR can be achieved through further training (usually a university degree) and several years of professional experience in the same department. Nurses who qualify for leadership positions can expect up to 4,200 EUR per month.
When looking for a job as a nurse in Germany, it’s always recommended to opt for public companies with a collective agreement; they offer higher salaries for nurses and other medical staff. In the private sector, nurses can expect a salary of 1,800 EUR to 2,200 EUR gross.
Taxes for nurses in Germany
Tax rates for nurses strongly depend on their tax class (Lohnsteuerklass). In general, each person has their own rate. For this reason, it’s difficult to say how much you will pay in taxes in Germany.
This system isn’t easy to understand, but a single working individual without children pays the highest taxes. Below you can see 6 tax categories (classes) in Germany:
1. Single, married with limited tax liability, divorced, and permanently separated from the partner (ex-partner): 32 – 42%
2. Single parent: 30% – 35%
3. Registered civil partners or married persons who live together and receive very different salaries (the partner who earns more gets tax Class 3): 31%
4. Registered civil partners or married persons who live together and receive a similar salary: 40%
5. Registered civil partners as well as married persons who do not live permanently apart from each other and receive very different salaries (the partner who earns less has tax Class 5): 50%
6. People with multiple jobs: 44% – 49%
It’s impossible to say the exact tax rate for nurses in Germany; only one is sure – they pay between 30% and 42% of their gross monthly salary in taxes. Additionally, all employees in Germany have to pay a solidarity surcharge, which is 5,5% of the gross salary.
How to increase the salary while working as a nurse in Germany?
Certified nurses can increase their salary by upgrading their knowledge in the industry or by completing additional courses/degrees. There are many directions to choose from when it comes to specializations for health workers in Germany, some better paid than others.
Overall, completing any specialization will bring more money by the end of the month compared to general nurse education/training.
Nurses can choose between a wide range of further training in the following fields for which no high degree is required:
- Anesthesia and intensive care
- Operations and endoscopy service
- Clinical geriatrics
- Rehabilitation and long-term care
- Palliative and hospice care
- Psychiatric care
However, for these qualifications, at least a bachelor’s degree is a must:
- Head of the department
- Care expert
- Care consultant
- Palliative Care
- Specialist in culture-sensitive care
- Specialist in-home care
- Specialist for health and social services
- Assistance, support, and helpers in the care
Consequently, nurses with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees with & without further qualifications receive the highest salary. In Germany, you will always get what you worked for.
If someone pursued education for 10 years, they would get payback 100% and more, the same as a qualified nurse without a degree but with years of high-quality service.
Another factor playing a role in the size of your salary is your employer. Nurses who work in private clinics/practices/companies earn, on average, less than nurses in public or church organizations with regulated collective contracts.
Looking for a job as a nurse in Germany? Check out this post about nursing jobs.
How many hours do nurses work in Germany?
Overall, nurses in Germany work 8-hour shifts, excluding half an hour break for food and several small breaks in between.
Nurses have very flexible working hours compared to other professions, but they have regulated working hours, often ranging from employer to employer.
Usually, nurses work between 38 and 40 hours per week; if they work on the weekend, they will get a free day during the week.
In most cases, they work the same three shifts: early morning, afternoon to evening, and night. Although some might prefer to work only at night or 12 hours shifts, even 24 hours long working day can be possible.
Nurses can also tell their preferences if they like to work more in the morning or at night; their schedules can be optimized accordingly.
Typical shift schedule for health professionals and especially for nurses:
- Morning shift: 6 am to 2:30 pm
- Evening/late shift: 1:30 pm to 10:00 pm
- Night shift: 8:30 pm to 6:00 am
How many days of vacation do nurses get in Germany?
The minimum holiday length in Germany is 20 working days per year for all occupations. By the end of the year, the employee must spend all free days or receive an allowance in the form of money instead.
Each organization regulates its vacation length for employees, and you will find the exact number of days in your working contract. Nurses often receive 27 working days of vacation, which means more than five weeks.
What is the cost of living in Germany?
The cost of living in Germany varies depending on the region and city. The most expensive regions for a living are Bavaria and Baden Württemberg; the cheapest are Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony, and Lower Saxony.
Let’s take the average prices in one of the southern German cities:
- Room in the shared apartment: 350 – 500 EUR
- Small apartment with one bedroom: 550 EUR – 700 EUR
- Dinner/Lunch and drink in the average restaurant: 15 – 20 EUR
- Gym membership: 30 EUR
Groceries: Staple foods aren’t too expensive in Germany compared to European standards, although upmarket supermarkets such as Rewe and Tegut are more expensive.
If you shop at Lidl and Aldi, you save between 10% and 15%. You should count on at least 200 EUR per month for groceries.
What is a good salary for Germany? Read in this article.