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Working as a student in Germany - what should students know!

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Working as a student in Germany - All the information you need

Germany's good economy offers working student job possibilities for students who need some extra income while studying. However, working while studying in Germany has many advantages that go beyond the financial ones.

A working student's job during your studies does not only boost your finances. The job requires many facets of you as a colleague, employee, supervisor, newcomer, or expert. You get to know yourself in different roles and perhaps in difficult situations. You also meet people outside your university circle and circle of friends. Of course, a job will also enhance your CV: Working while studying in Germany proves that you can manage your time well and work hard. It doesn't really matter what industry you're in - it's important to recruiters that you have practical experience.

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The 7 most important questions about working as a student in Germany

Before you start working as an international student in Germany, you should find out about the general conditions and rules that are in place. They are important to know as making a mistake can increase your insurance and tax bills considerably. You can find answers to the most important questions here:

1. Are international students allowed to work while studying in Germany?

Studying and working is perfectly OK in Germany. However, there are limits to how many hours you can work.

Students from outside the EU can work up to 140 full days or 280 half-days per year.

Alternatively, both Non-EU students and students from EU/EEA countries and Switzerland may work up to 20 hours per week during the lecture period, just like German students. During the semester break, they can work without any restrictions.

For further information check out Study and work (make-it-in-germany.com). 

2. What is the difference between full days & half days?

A full day is defined as 8 hours a day in Germany. When working up to four hours a day, that day counts as a half-day.

3. Can students work more than 20 hours a week in Germany?

There are some exceptions to the 20 hours rule mentioned above. Academic jobs are usually categorized differently. If you take a student assistant role at CBS, this won't count towards the 140-full days limit that applies to international students. In addition, mandatory internships that are a part of your study programme also are exempted from the 140-full days rule.

4. How much can I earn working as a student in Germany?

The amount of your income plays a role in several aspects. If you exceed certain limits, you will be liable for wage tax (for example, as an employee) or income tax (for example, as a working student or self-employed person). In any case, you should file a tax return for each year in which you study and work in Germany. The respective income limits and tax-free amounts also depend on your age and marital status. Your income is also important for your health insurance. Students can hold a minijob and earn up to 538 EUR per month without having to pay taxes. If you regularly earn more than 538 EUR, you will need a tax number, and a certain amount will be taken from your wages every month. Students can get this money back at the end of the year by submitting a tax return. Check out the DAAD website for further information. The minimum wage in Germany is around 12 € per hour. Higher-skilled student positions could offer a higher pay range up to 15 € per hour.

5. Can I receiveBAföG as an international student?

BAföG is a funding by the public sector. Non-Germans are also entitled to BAföG payments. As a rule, foreigners who have prospects of remaining in Germany and are already integrated in society are entitled to support. As the legal regulations are very complex, it is advisable to contact the appropriate educational assistance office at an early stage. Have a look at BAfög - BMBF.

6. What types of employment/student jobs are available for students in Germany?

Here are the most common types of student’ jobs in Germany:

  • Working student: 

    You work in a company in a field that is related to your studies. For example, as a business student in marketing, human resources, or sales. A working student's job has many advantages: First, you can apply your knowledge in practice. Second, you get to know new areas from your field of study in practice. Third, you have your foot in the door of a company that may offer you a permanent job after graduation. Fourth, you gain sound work experience and enhance your CV. Fifth, you have probably successfully practised a demanding application process. Sixth, you get to know people and their experiences in an environment that is relevant to you. Seventh, the earnings are usually somewhat better than in side jobs like babysitting or waitressing. Eighth, a working student is considered a normal part-time employee and has the corresponding holiday entitlement.

  • Minijob: 

    The classic among the part-time jobs is the minijob. You may earn up to 538 euros per month. With a minimum wage of 13.50 euros per hour (as of Jan. 2024), you have to work a maximum of around 10 hours per week or around 40 hours per month for this amount. As a full-time student, you do not have to pay taxes or social security contributions on this amount. This also makes the minijob attractive for employers.

  • Midijob: 

    More than a minijob, less than full-time - the midijob is in between. The basic difference: health insurance and unemployment insurance are due, of which the employer pays a higher share than in a full-time job. Earnings may be between 520 and 2000 euros per month. Like normal part-time employees, you are entitled to holidays and continued payment of wages in the event of illness and you pay pension contributions.

  • Self-employed/freelancer:

    Any self-employed activity requires the approval of the competent foreigners authority. The authority will consider, among other things, whether the work is likely to hinder or delay the student in the pursuit of their academic goals. Check out Study and work (make-it-in-germy.com)

  • Internship:

    You have to distinguish between a compulsory internship, a voluntary internship, and an internship abroad. As the name suggests, a compulsory internship is an integral part of your studies. Employers do not have to pay a minimum wage for compulsory internships. The situation is different for voluntary internships: If it lasts longer than three months, you are entitled to the minimum wage. The CBS International Business School attaches great importance to practical experience. Both the Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes include a compulsory internship. This way, all students can gain practical experience in order to be able to apply what they have learned in real situations. Companies place a lot of value on relevant practical experience when hiring new staff. You can find out more about integrated mandatory internships in our study programme.

    Here you can find more information about internships in Germany for international students.

7. How to find student jobs in Germany?

A good way is your network: Ask your flatmates, fellow students, and friends about job opportunities. Best case scenario, they can recommend you and you'll already know what to expect. Otherwise, there are job portals like English-speaking jobs in Germany (englishjobs.de) or or stellenwerk Köln - Das Hochschul-Jobportal für Köln In addition, the CBS Career Center – our online career portal - has many current job advertisements for CBS students.

Learn about your chances of working in Germany after graduation. 

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Part-time jobs in Cologne – lots of opportunities for students

With around 100,000 students, Cologne is one of the largest university cities in Germany. Life in the cosmopolitan metropolis is varied, colourful, but also more expensive than in rural areas. This primarily applies to the housing market. This is why many students work alongside their studies. Cologne offers a wide range of jobs for students. Good to know: At CBS, our Career Service supports you in your job search.

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Student jobs in Mainz - diverse industries offer attractive opportunities

The capital of Rhineland-Palatinate is located in the middle of the economically strong Rhine-Main region. Well-known companies such as SWR, ZDF, Boehringer Ingelheim, Schott AG, Frankfurt Airport, and Schenker Deutschland offer attractive opportunities for student jobs in Mainz. You can work during your studies and build up an attractive professional network. The gastronomy and leisure industries also offer plenty of opportunities to work in Mainz. The CBS Career Service offers a comprehensive job portal for students at Mainz campus.

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Working in Potsdam - from a top job to a part-time job, everything is possible

The research and tourism industries offer a variety of student jobs in Potsdam. The city near Berlin is home to universities and around 40 research institutions. Theses or internships in the field of research are therefore very possible. You can also find a job in one of the approximately 800 IT companies, for example at SAP, Toll Collect or in the neighbouring town of Kleinmachnow at eBay or PayPal. The CBS Career Service has its own online job portal with lots of job offers in Potsdam ranging from part-time jobs to internships, or full-time entry-level positions.

The CBS Career Service

CBS has its own department to foster contact with local and internationally operating companies. The CBS Career Service provides an own online job portal with lots of vacancies for student jobs, internships, or entry-level positions. Furthermore, the Career Service is happy to support you in the application process.

Study part-time, work part-time in Germany - a perfect combination for your career

Studying while working is becoming more and more popular. The reasons are obvious: You acquire a full university degree and at the same time gain extensive work experience in a company. This makes you extremely attractive

to companies and offers you excellent career opportunities. Companies also appreciate the advantages of part-time study for their employees: The managers of tomorrow can be tied to the company in the long term.

You can find an overview of the part-time BAchelor´s and Master´s degree programmes here. 

This is how the CBS helps you with your career planning

CBS employees in the Career Service department are available to advise you on all questions regarding your professional future. With the help of the job portal, application training, recruiting events and much more, you will be supported on your way. Networking and recruiting events are only one component of how CBS supports you for a career in management. There are more good reasons why you shoul study at CBS. 

Download a brochure and learn more about us!

Marc Spitz

Marc Spitz

Study advisory: Campus Cologne
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

+49 (0) 22193 18 09 406
study@cbs.de
Elsa Chumakova

Elsa Chumakova

Study advisory: Campus Aachen
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+49 (0) 2232 5673-423
study@cbs.de
Lidia Gusev

Lidia Gusev

Study advisory: Campus Berlin/Potsdam
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+49 (0) 221 931809 - 476
study@cbs.de
Maike Refräuter

Maike Refräuter

Study advisory: Campus Düsseldorf/ Neuss & Solingen
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

+49 (0) 157 58248880
study@cbs.de
Florian Kröhnke

Florian Kröhnke

Study advisory: Campus Hamburg
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

+49 (0) 155 66 05 04-91
study@cbs.de
Simon Blache

Simon Blache

Study advisory: Campus Hannover
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

+49 (0) 15758244899
study@cbs.de
Mirjam Zimmermann

Mirjam Zimmermann

Study advisory: Campus Mainz
Got any questions? We are happy to help!

+49 (0) 6131 88055 31
study@cbs.de
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