Austria – Doctors

Austria_mapSituated in the heart of Europe to its east, Austria is a popular destination country for both doctors and students of medicine. Most of them are coming from neighbouring countries, in particular Germany, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Doctors are increasingly needed particularly in fields such as anaesthesia, paediatrics and psychiatry. There are three medical universities in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck. Studies lead to the doctorate of medicine (Doktorat der gesamten Heilkunde). Since 2006 quotas ensure that 75% of places to study are filled by home students.

In order to practise medicine doctors need to apply for inclusion in the doctors’ list (Ärzteliste) – maintained by the Austrian Medical Chamber (Österreichische Ärztekammer – ÖÄK) – through the branch (Landesärztekammer) at the place of intended work. Like in many other EU Member States, prerequisites for registration differ based on the professional’s country of origin and training:

  • EU/EEA/Swiss citizens with basic medical and/or specialty training in these countries benefit from automatic recognition of their qualifications within the scope of EU Directive 2005/36/EC. However, until probably 2014 nationals from Bulgaria and Romania need in addition a work permit or confirmation of exemption.
  • Third country nationals with an EU/EEA/Swiss medical qualification not subject to EU Directive 2005/36/EC have to submit proof of training and professional experience to the medical chamber for evaluation. The medical chamber may then recognize the qualification or require an aptitude test.
  • Third country nationals with medical degrees from third countries need to have it recognized as equivalent with Austrian standards (Nostrifikation) by one of the three universities. Specialist qualifications from a third country may be credited by the ÖÄK (Anrechnung); otherwise the Austrian doctors’ exam may be required. However, if the medical qualification was already recognized by another EEA country/Switzerland, the doctor should only submit a confirmation of 3 years medical practice in that country, as well as proof of training and professional experience. The medical chamber may then recognize the qualification or require an aptitude test.

Importantly, third country nationals are only entitled to commence postgraduate medical training (postpromotionelle Ausbildung), if the training post can only be filled by a third country national. Furthermore, third country nationals also require a work permit and residence title.

Proof of sufficient German language skills is mandatory. Otherwise a two-step language test is required, consisting of a general language test (Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch) and a specific medical communication test, which is run by the Academy of Doctors (Akademie der Ärzte).

Further info: