Qualifizierungsgeld: How Employees in Germany Can Upskill While Working

Oliwia Schildt CareerFoundry author

Are you employed—but wondering how you can upskill for free while working? Germany offers more options than you might think!

With the rapidly evolving job market and recent tech advancements, the need for workers in Germany to upskill and reskill has never been more crucial. Employees need to adapt to stay competitive and relevant in their careers. 

But the costs and time commitments mean that acquiring new skills while working can be too demanding. Fortunately for German employees, a valuable resource known as “Qualifizierungsgeld” (qualification money) has existed since April 1, 2024. 

Qualifizierungsgesetz, the “Qualification Law”, is offered by the German Federal Employment Agency (Agentur für Arbeit) and aims to empower workers by facilitating their professional development and enabling them to stay competitive in their jobs.

Essentially, it lets you, the employee, draw a wage while studying for skills that will help your career.

In this article, we’ll detail Qualifizierungsgeld and show you how to leverage this funding, help you to understand the eligibility criteria, and shed more light on the application process. 

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Qualifizierungsgeld explained

The Qualifizierungsgeld qualification allowance acts as a wage replacement by the employment agency (Agentur für Arbeit) to support companies in training their employees affected by structural change.

It means that you can receive money from the employment agency (=Agentur für Arbeit) instead of your usual salary from your employer for the period in which you take part in further training.

Keep in mind that this isn’t an additional salary, as your employer will not have to pay your salary during this time.

The support is financed from the Federal Employment Agency’s budget,  which amounts to around 3.3 billion euros in 2024. Local employment agencies will decide on the specific use of funds.

A full breakdown of Qualifizierungsgeld in German can be found on the official site

1. What’s in for me?

The qualification allowance is paid to employees at a rate of 60% of their net salary or 67% for employees with children. The calculation is, therefore, the same as for “Kurzarbeit” (short-time working allowance).

Your employer can choose to top up the amount to maintain 100% of the current salary of an employee.

You can check out how to calculate the qualification allowance in this document

2. Can my company apply for the subsidy?

Your employer can apply for the subsidy online—provided that a large proportion of their workforce is affected by structural change in the industry. Specifically, this must be 20% for companies with 250 employees or more and 10% for all other companies. 

The need for training must also be set out in a company-specific regulation or a collective agreement. 

In the case that your company employs less than 10 people, a written declaration is sufficient.

3. What training programs are possible?

CareerFoundry programs are all AZAV-approved and, therefore, eligible for Qualifizierungsgeld. 

Browse the full list of available CareerFoundry programs on the website.

For a program to be eligible for the Qualifizierungsgeld, some requirements must be met:

  1. A basic requirement is that the training program must comprise more than 120 hours. It can be completed full-time or part-time. Only AZAV-approved providers and courses are eligible. 
  2. The learning content must  “go beyond exclusively job-related, short-term adaptation training”. So, for example, training for company-specific software cannot be subsidized. 

4. Can the actual program or training costs be subsidized as well?

Yes, the Qualifizierungsgeld can be combined with funding for the training. Program costs are partially or fully funded in accordance with §82 SGB III, the promotion of employed workers. 

Whether or not the program or course cost will be funded by the Agentur für Arbeit depends on general requirements and the level of funding with the company size.

General requirements

  1. Skills, knowledge, and abilities are imparted that go beyond exclusively job-related short-term adaptation training.
  2. The acquisition of the vocational qualification for which a training period of at least two years is stipulated by federal or state law was generally at least two years ago (if applicable).
  3. The employee has not taken part in further vocational training subsidized in the two years before submitting the application.
  4. The program or course lasts more than 120 hours. 
  5. The program or course, as well as the provider, must be AZAV-approved.

Levels of funding

A table detailing how much qualifizierungsgeld is paid out per company size

Key Takeaways

Want to learn more and apply for “Qualifizierungsgeld”?

Start by discussing your upskilling opportunities with your employer and how it can be beneficial to them and to you. Provide all the relevant information about the program that you’re interested in and let them know about Qualifizierungsgeld. 

For in-depth information about it, they can contact the Arbeitgeberservice (employer service) at the Agentur für Arbeit via mail, web contact form, or free call at 0800 4 555520. Information on the application forms and process can be found on the official page

Once the application for Qualifizierungsgeld is approved, contact us and we will help you with the next steps.

If you’re interested in other funding options, check out our article on how to use your training budget to upskill with CareerFoundry.

And speak to our program advisors to learn more about the CareerFoundry programs.

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  3. Talk to a program advisor to discuss career change and find out which fields are best for you, or check out recent graduate Tanimara’s successful career-change story.

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