Anyone wishing to become a doctor in Germany has to complete a university degree in human medicine. Strictly regulated, the course takes roughly six years. Successful graduates acquire the title “doctor”. They can then apply for a licence to practise medicine. A doctor can subsequently take further qualifications in a particular specialist field to acquire the title “medical specialist”. It is also possible to take a PhD and acquire the (German) title “Dr. med.”. By taking a professorial qualification at a university, a doctor can become a “professor”. Doctors who have acquired this professorial qualification but do not currently have a chair at a university may be known as “Privatdozenten” (literally “private lecturers”), or “PD” for short.
For international patients, it is important to understand that doctors in Germany are not allowed to treat patients unless they have a licence to practise medicine. This protects patients from being treated by persons without sufficient knowledge.
Even if a doctor does not have a title such as “Dr” or “Professor”, this does not mean in Germany that they are not a doctor. Every doctor who works in a hospital will always have passed all the examinations required by law, and as such is qualified to treat patients regardless of whether they have the “Dr” title or not.
Selection of chief physicians and specialists