work options in Germany for students

Working as a student in Germany

Germany's economy is well-suited to find part-time jobs, especially for students who need some extra income. When you start your job search, you'll encounter plenty of possible positions, so it's important to find the right post to match your skills and needs.

Read on for a primer in student work, with handy tips to help you find work without losing student insurance benefits.

 

Student Jobs

For starters, don't worry about working while studying

It's totally routine in Germany, especially among international students, and there should be plenty of opportunities to consider.

Some of the most common student jobs in Germany

Here are just a few part-time student jobs that are often available to foreign residents:

  • Catering - Whether it involves serving food at corporate functions, or just joining the waiting staff at a local restaurant, the food and drink sector is a major student employer.
  • Academic posts - Possibly the best form of work for aspiring academics, research assistant roles and postgraduate teaching positions can build your skills and income at the same time.
  • Retail - Germany's bricks and mortar retail sector is often crying out for staff, with flexible hours and discounts available as attractive perks.

Is it easy to get a part-time job in Germany?

It's generally very easy to find employment, but you might have to seek out exactly the right location, wages, and position. It's also important to choose a type of job to fit around your studies.

Full-time vs. part-time working

Many students prefer to work full-time between semesters, leaving term-time free for studying. In the summer, tourism-related vacation jobs multiply, allowing you to mix seeing the sights and earning some supplemental income. Others like to find a part-time job to maintain throughout their course. That way, you can have a regular income, and it's easier to calculate your total hours to avoid passing official thresholds.

Rules for working students

As usual in Germany, there are set rules about how students can work. They are important to know, as making a mistake can increase your insurance and tax bills considerably.

Can I work while studying in Germany?

Studying and working is perfectly OK in Germany. However, there will be limits to how many hours you can work before being required to pay full insurance contributions.

Are international students allowed to work in Germany?

International students have their own employment regulations, which govern how long they can work before their taxes rise.

For EU nationals, the limit is 20 hours per week during term times. Those coming from outside the EU are also limited to either 120 half days, or 240 full days every year, whether that's in term or during vacations.

Important

It's important to log your hours worked, ensuring that you don't breach the maximum annual quota.

The difference between full & half days

In this context, it's important to know the difference between full and half days, so here are a couple of key pieces of information to file away

How many hours constitute a full-time job?

In Germany, a "full day" is defined as 8 hours, with full working weeks comprising 40 hours. This means that students can work 2.5 full days per week during term-time. Outside term-time, full-time work is perfectly fine, just remember the annual total.

How many hours constitute a part-time job?

Under German law, anything under the definition of a "full week" is defined as part-time. So, if you work under 20 hours per week, that's classified as part-time.

How many days can a student work in Germany?

Student trainee positions (or as Germans call it the Praktikum) are a vital part of entering the German employment market.

If you take this route, you'll need a working visa from a local German embassy. It's also essential to obtain permission to start a trainee position from the Federal Employment Agency, so don't forget to do the necessary paperwork.

Internships are assessed like regular jobs when it comes to tax and hours. This applies to paid and unpaid trainee positions so it may be wise to save a bit of money before starting your internship.

Visiting cafes or bars

It may seem old fashioned, but it's also worth printing out a resume and visiting cafes or bars to advertise your availability

Finding a Student Job

Finding a job shouldn't be too difficult, with plenty of positions in most parts of Germany (as well as online jobs for students)

How to find student jobs in Germany?

The place to start is your regional Bundesagentur für Arbeit (Employment Agency), which will have a section dedicated to student positions.

When seeking an internal position within your university, it's probably better to inquire with the HR office, or your faculty secretary. There should also be an online list of open positions.

If you are looking for a side job near your accommodation or university, online sites like appjobs feature up to date listings.

What is a good salary for a student job in Germany?

Be aware that minimum wage regulations apply (around 9 € per hour). In higher-skilled student positions, the pay ranges from 11-20 € per hour. Catering and cafe work will pay somewhere around the minimum.

There are no minimum payment regulations for online work. It's a good supplement for studying, and one that many students can't do without.

Work longer hours

It might also be possible to apply for permission to work longer hours by putting in a request to the "Ausländerbehörde" (Foreigners Office) and the Bundesagentur für Arbeit. This tends to be provided only for specialist occupations, so won't be available for all new arrivals, and the Employment Agency should be able to advise whether it applies to you.

Payment, Taxes and Health insurance

When students take work in Germany, they need to be aware of how it could affect their health insurance and tax position

How much money can a student earn in Germany?

If students work more than 20 hours a week, they risk breaching annual limits (120 half days and 240 full days).

There is also a monthly income limit of €450. Above that point, you will need to pay standard German taxes, while income below €450 is tax-free.

Working too many hours can lead to students losing their health insurance subsidies. For instance, if you are insured with TK, you will be able to earn €435 per month. Above that point, contributions for long term nursing care and social security kick in, adding a significant amount to annual bills.

Can a student work more than 20 hours a week in Germany?

There are some exceptions. Most importantly, academic jobs are categorized differently. If you take a student assistant role within your university or college, this won't count towards your 120-day quota - a big help for many young researchers.

If you take an internship while being registered with an insurer, don't worry about losing your subsidized coverage. It will last until your student registration lapses, by which point you should be a fully-fledged employee.

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