Patient education has been recognized as an important tool in the therapy and the rehabilitation of patients with chronic rheumatic diseases. An increasing body of literature refers to favorable effects of patient education. Patient education improves coping with disease, reduces pain and depression and decreases arthritic "helplessness". Therefore, patient education should be a part of the comprehensive care for the rheumatic patient. The patient education group (Arbeitskreis Patientenschulung) of the German Society of Rheumatology (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Rheumatologie) has been initiated to develop a general concept of patient education in rheumatology and to elaborate various patient education programs. The patient education program for rheumatoid arthritis is described as a model for further patient education programs. It consists of six group sessions (modules). The program is conducted by an interdisciplinary team. A group leader is in charge of the program. Train-the-trainer courses should improve the quality of the program. Currently, the patient education group develops education programs for patients with systemic lupus erythematodes and related collagen diseases, spondyarthritis patients, patients with fibromyalgia and rheumatic children and their parents.