Short & Sweet

There are a variety ways to earn money while in Germany. Popular jobs include waiters, academic assistants, or tutors.

Speaking German increases your job prospects.

And there are regulations governing how much you are allowed to work as a student.

Job exchanges for students

Types of part-time jobs for students

One place to start looking for a job is at your own school or higher education institution. Also there are the classic jobs like waiting in restaurants and cafés, trade fairs, and babysitting.

The best is often a job related to your major at school. People learning to be teachers can become tutors, and art history students can work in museums. Fluency in German is obviously an advantage.

Working as a “HiWi”

People who work as research assistants at a university are called HiWis. That’s short for wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft. Research assistants are employed at the university and must have completed at least six semesters of study. They support professors or other academic staff in their work in research and teaching.

HiWis can be responsible for supervising the library or researching literature for professors. Another job is as a tutor affiliated with a lecture or seminar where other students can deepen their knowledge under supervision, or prepare for exams.

The advantage of being a HiWi is that you are often working on something that is related to your studies and you are gaining experience. If you are interested in a job like this, check with the secretary’s office in your department, and on bulletin boards in hallways.

Research assistant in the library
Research assistant in the library© DAAD/Jan Zappner

Rules for part time jobs in Germany

Labour regulations for international students are very strict. So it is important to know them. Violators can be expelled. As an international student, your permitted working hours depend on whether you are from the EU (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) or not.

The provision on secondary employment is very closely linked to the residence title. Therefore, check exactly which regulations apply to you.

Earnings, taxes and insurance

Minimum wage

Your part-time earnings depend very much on what you can do, and the region and the industry in which you want to work. In expensive cities like Munich, Hamburg or Cologne you may earn more, but you also have to pay more for rent or food.

Man passing a coffee cup over the counter in a café
Part-time job at a café© DAAD/Jan Zappner

Alternatives to a part time job

It is practically impossible for students to finance all their expenses through part-time jobs. There are too few suitable jobs for students in Germany. And those who work too much prolong their studies unnecessarily. Instead of taking a low-paying job, you can also apply for a , for example.


Tax rules

You can earn up to 520 euros a month on a student job without paying taxes. But if you regularly earn more than 520 euros, you need a tax number. A certain amount is then deducted from your wages every month, which you get back when you file a German tax return at the end of the year.


Your contributions

Anyone permanently employed in Germany usually pays social security contributions. This includes contributions for health insurance, long-term care, pension and unemployment insurance. Those who work no longer than three months in a row, or 70 days annually, do not have to make these payments.


Working while you study in Germany can be much more than simply earning money.

It is also a chance to gain valuable practical experience, and learn how the world of work functions in Germany.