If you consider Germany would be the best place for you to pursue your studies, it would probably be a good idea to know if you are also allowed to work and what kind of work opportunities you will find available during your Bachelor’s degree studies here.
Working during your studies will not only help you gain some pocket money or help you cover the tuition or living expenses, but it is also a good way to polish your CV and gain work experience.
Before we go into details, if you haven’t decided what to study in Germany, you should know that the most popular study options among international students are:
- Bachelors in Design in Germany
- Bachelors in Business Administration in Germany
- Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering in Germany
- Bachelors in Social Sciences in Germany
1. What do I need to know about student work permit in Germany?
If you come from an EU/ EEA country, you do not need a work permit to get a job in Germany. And there’s no limitation to how much you can work. However, if you work more than 20 hours/week then you are required to pay taxes to the German social security system.
For instance, if you regularly earn more than 450 EUR in your job, you will need an income tax number. Deductions will be made automatically from your salary, but you will get back the tax you have paid at the end of the year. If you work less than 20 hours per week, these taxes don’t apply. Awesome, right?
If you are from any other country, you can take up to 120 fully days of work/year or 240 half-days/year. The only exception is if you work as a student assistant within the university. In this case, there is no work-time limit.
Be aware if you take an internship – paid or unpaid, or if you do volunteering! It counts as work and the hours you put in will be taken out of the 120 days you are allowed to work. Furthermore, you are not allowed to be self-employed or work as a freelancer as an international student from outside the EU.
If you want to work as a student, you need to make an application to the Federal Employment Agency and to the Foreigners’ Office. This permit is granted depending on the job market in the area where you do your Bachelor’s.
2. What are my student work options in Germany?
The main types of work available for students in Germany to get professional experience are:
- Part-time jobs
- Summer or winter vacation jobs
- Internships (Praktika)
Since most students prefer taking part-time jobs, and since as a student from outside the EU/EEA you cannot work full-time for a whole year, it’s good to be informed about the which are the most popular part-time jobs in Germany.
- Research assistant at the university – 11 - 12 EUR/hour. This kind of job brings you many advantages, as you are already familiar with the environment and the personnel, and it can help you with your studies.
- Office assistant – 12 EUR/hour. Your main tasks would be to answer the phone, give information to clients or partners of the company, and other administrative duties.
- Language tutor – 12 - 15 EUR/hour. If you have a proficient level of English or any other language, you can easily get a job as a tutor at a school, or even within some of the local companies.
- Support staff/waiters at cafés/bars – 7 EUR/hour. Waiting at tables in a café or bar might be one of the easiest jobs you can find, and the requirements may not necessarily involve advanced knowledge of German. In addition, most of these jobs have a flexible schedule.
- Retail store shopping assistant – 9 EUR/hour. Help customers with information and selecting the best product they are looking for. You will need good communication skills.
- Babysitting – 10 - 15 EUR/hour. If you like children and have at least a little experience in working with them, this job might be the perfect fit for you. A babysitting job is well paid, and, after a while, you can renegotiate your rates.
- Call centre officer – 15 EUR/hour. Answer the phone, analyse customer requests or complaints, and manage them. You have to be patient, diplomatic and have interpersonal skills. A good knowledge of German is also a must and, most times, you can make your own schedule.
- Field interviewer – 18 - 20 EUR/hour. Some companies or organisations often need data collectors, that have to ask clients about their opinion about products or services, that will eventually lead to a survey.
- Home delivery – 11 EUR/hour. Work for an online shopping company or restaurant and deliver products at peoples’ homes. The job is well paid, but keep in mind that you will often receive tips, as well.
It goes without saying that the bigger the city, the more work opportunities. A good idea would be to start looking for undergraduate programmes in big cities like:
3. Where can I find a job offer as a student in Germany?
Many universities and student union websites have job exchanges. Universities post job offers on the blackboards that you will find in the hallways, and the jobs can be within the university (e.g.: librarian, research assistant) or at various local organisations and companies.
If you want to expand your search beyond the university, you can try the Federal Employment Agency, or the 'Studentenwerk' services, which are job agencies that are run by students themselves. All major university centres have their own 'Studentenwerk' websites where job vacancies are listed.