Professional practice rights
Professional practice rights
Both healthcare professionals who have graduated in Finland or abroad need to apply for licencing, the right to practice their profession in Finland or right to use protected occupational title from Valvira.
Under Finnish law, licensing is granted to the following professions: physician, dentist, pharmacist, psychologist, speech therapist, dietician, dispenser, nurse, midwife, public health nurse, physiotherapist, medical laboratory technologist, radiographer, dental hygienist, occupational therapist, optician and dental technician (17 titles in total).
The practice of these professions is restricted to licenced professionals only.
Valvira grants on the grounds of the application right to practice healthcare profession for both healthcare professionals educated in Finland and abroad. In this section we have gathered general information about professional practice rights in healthcare.
Application instructions can be found in the menu on the left. Instructions are given by profession and depending on whether you have completed your training in Finland, in an EU/EEA Member State or outside the EU/EEA.
Application processing periods
The processing period is calculated from the time when Valvira has received all the required documents.
In order to ensure equal treatment of applicants, applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Contacts significantly slow down the processing of applications.
A fee is charged for every decision concerning professional rights, even if decision is a negative one. If you cancel your application, you will be charged half of the application processing fee.
• Health care professionals who have trained and completed their training in Finland and are applying for protected title registration or legalisation. Your application will be processed within 30 days of being received at Valvira.
• Persons who have completed unregulated osteopath or naprapath training. The application processing period for a protected title registration application is about 3 months.
• Persons studying in another EU/EEA Member State who are applying for a right to study: basically, the minimum processing period is 30 working days from receiving the application. The above applies to all student registrations.
• The processing period for applications for the right to practise a profession from persons who have completed their training in another EU/EEA Member State is 3–4 months, as specified in the Act on Health Care Professionals. The processing period is laid down in the relevant EU Directive and is the same in all Member States. If any documents are missing, notification will be sent to the applicant within 30 days of receiving the application. If no documents are missing, the application may be processed within the aforementioned time period.
• The processing period for applications for the right to practise a profession from persons who have completed their training outside the EU/EEA is at least 4 months.
Description of the application process for persons trained in another country
Training completed in an EU/EEA Member State
The following degree programmes have been harmonised, i.e. rendered equivalent, within the European Union: physician, dentist, pharmacist, registered nurse and midwife. In other words, qualifications in these professions can almost always be automatically recognised in another Member State. However, in some cases automatic recognition is not possible. If any further explanations are necessary, Valvira will separately request them.
Professions in which qualifications cannot be automatically recognised include: psychologist, speech therapist, nutritionist, dispenser, public health nurse, physiotherapist, medical laboratory technologist, radiographer, dental hygienist, occupational therapist, optician, dental technician and all title-protected occupations. The training programmes for these professions have not been harmonised at the European Union level. Therefore, Valvira cannot automatically recognise professional qualifications in these professions.
If a qualification cannot be automatically recognised, Valvira will investigate whether the training completed by the applicant qualifies for the same profession as the relevant Finnish training. Work experience, supplementary professional training and continuing education may be considered in the comparison and may compensate any differences in the training between countries. Valvira can request an expert opinion on the applicant’s professional qualifications; if so, the applicant will be charged a fee for this. If there are found to be substantial differences between the applicant’s training and the corresponding Finnish training, a conditional recognition decision may be issued. A conditional recognition decision mandates compensatory measures. Once these compensatory measures have been completed, the applicant may apply for finalisation of the recognition of professional qualifications.
Compensatory measures include a proficiency test and an adjustment period.
Further information on compensatory measures
A citizen of an EU/EEA Member State or person of comparable status who has completed their training in an EU/EEA Member State may be issued a decision of recognition of professional qualifications without demonstration of sufficient language proficiency (in Finnish or Swedish). Recognition of professional qualifications does not automatically entitle you to practise your profession or to use a protected professional title in Finland.
Further information on recognition of professional qualifications.
Training completed outside the EU/EEA
Valvira will investigate whether the training completed by the applicant qualifies for the same profession as the relevant Finnish training. Work experience, supplementary professional training and continuing education may be considered in the comparison and may compensate any differences in the training between countries. If differences are found between the applicant’s training and the current Finnish training, Valvira may mandate the applicant to complete additional studies. Valvira can request an expert opinion on the applicant’s professional qualifications; if so, the applicant will be charged a fee for this.
Further information on applying for recognition of professional qualifications after completing additional studies.
Health care professionals must have sufficient oral and written language proficiency to allow them to perform their duties. Finland’s official languages are Finnish and Swedish. An applicant’s training may be evaluated even if no language proficiency certificate is submitted (see below for physicians and dentists). However, a language proficiency certificate must be submitted before the right to practise a profession can be granted.
Required for legalising a physician:
• Degree programme in medicine completed abroad, satisfying particular criteria
• Sufficient language proficiency
• At least 6 months of internship as a physician at a Finnish hospital or health centre maintained by a public authority (central government, local authority, joint municipal authority).
• Three-part examination
Required for legalising a dentist:
• Degree programme in dentistry completed abroad, satisfying particular criteria
• At least 3 months of internship as a dentist (at a health care unit maintained by a public authority)
• Sufficient language proficiency (Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate or National Certificate of Language Proficiency, issued in Finland)
Training completed outside the EU/EEA which has been recognised by another EU/EEA Member State
If an applicant has worked in the profession in question for at least 3 years in the EU/EEA Member State where they were granted the right to practise said profession or to use the professional title, then it may be possible to grant recognition after complementary measures. This applies to EU citizens and persons of comparable status.
Further information on compensatory measures.
Using an agent or an assistant
In application matters, we will only deal with the applicants themselves. However, an applicant may authorise an agent or an assistant to act on their behalf in the matter of their application. In this case, the agent or assistant must present a power of attorney authorising them to act for the applicant. The power of attorney may be an e-mail or physical document sent by the applicant, stating that the applicant authorises the person in question to act for them in the matter of the application. However, attorneys-at-law and public legal aid attorneys do not need to present said document unless specifically requested.
Application for licensing / a protected occupational title (pdf Finnish)
Application for licensing / a protected occupational title (pdf Swedish)
Act on Health Care Professionals (559/1994) (Finlex)
Decree on Health Care Professionals (564/1994) (Finlex)
Please send the application:
National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health
Please contact us if you have any questions about professional practice rights:
Primarily by email: terhikki(at)valvira.fi
Or you can call us on mon-tue and thu-fri 10-11 a.m. Tel. : +358 295 209 550