Specializations and Duration

The specified course lengths for continuing medical training as cited in this document are minimum requirements that may change from case to case, if the continuing training syllabuses cannot be acquired within the minimum allowed time. The tables below only serve as a general overview of the continuing training periods in the various fields, Schwerpunkte (Specialities) and Zusatz-Weiterbildungen (Extra Qualifications). As mentioned above, continuing training as a Facharzt (Specialist) on in a Schwerpunkt (Specialty) can be followed up in many fields of medicine. There is no obligation to engage in any of the latter courses or in any extra ualification courses.


The following examples aim to explain the summary table “Facharzt- und hwerpunktkompetenz” (Specialist and Specialty Competence). They specify the minimum time needed for four different “Facharzt” (Specialist) qualifications. At the end of each Specialist, Specialty or Extra Qualification course, the trained doctor must document the required disciplinary competencies by passing an examination in order to gain the relevant title: Specialist, Specialty or Extra Qualification.

Titles for Fachärzte (Specialists)

Candidates who complete their continuing training as a Facharzt (Specialist) in accordance with the prescribed continuing training syllabuses and periods and are able to document the disciplinary competence required for this by passing an examination, will be awarded the title of Facharzt (Specialist).

Zusatzbezeichnungen (Extra Qualifications)

Candidates who gain Extra Qualifications in accordance with the prescribed training syllabuses and periods and are able to document that they have the disciplinary competence required for this by passing an examination will be awarded a Zusatzbezeichnung (Extra Qualification).


A doctor must complete at least 60 months (5 years) of continuing medical training to qualify as an Anesthetist.


To gain the specialist competencies listed in the table for the field of “Surgery”, a doctor must initially complete at least 24 months (2years) of basic continuing training. This is then followed by specialist continuing surgical training in the desired field. The choice of specialist competencies in the field of surgery are: General Surgery; Vascular Surgery; Cardiac Surgery; Pediatric Surgery; Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery; Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery; Thorax Surgery and Visceral Surgery. In other words: A doctor wishing to gain qualification as a Facharzt (Specialist) in the field of thorax surgery must, for example, complete at least 24 months of basic continuing training plus at least 48 months of subsequent specialist continuing training in thorax surgery. This means 24 months + 48 months = a minimum of at least 72 months (6 years).

Internal Medicine and General Medicine

Continuing training in the fields of “Internal and General Medicine” lasts (a total of) at least: 60 months (5 years) for disciplinary competence (Fachkompetenz) as a “General Practitioner” – 72 months (6 years) for specialist competence (Facharztkompetenz) as an “Internist” and additional disciplinary competencies (e.g. Internist and Pneumologist)”.


Continuing training in the field of Pediatrics lasts at least 60 months. After passing the final examination, the qualified doctor is given the title: “Facharzt für Kinder- und ugendmedizin” “Paediatrician”. Subsequent specialization, for example in the field of “Neuropaediatrics / Child Neurology”, takes at least 36 months and is completed with a further examination.

Summary Table of Specialist and Specialty Competence

The following table lists the minimum times required for medical continuing training in the various medical fields and Specialty Competencies.

Remarks: The figures listed in this table are based on the Model Continuing Education Rules of the Bundesärztekammer (German Medical Association). The study regulations of the respective Landesärztekammern (State Medical Associations) may differ slightly.

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