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In order to work as a social welfare professional in Finland, you must have the right to practise or the right to use a protected occupational title. Both are granted by Valvira. Valvira grants rights to practise and protected occupational title registrations on application, also on the basis of degrees completed abroad.
In order to work in Finland as a social worker, social service professional, professional of applied gerontology or rehabilitation councellor, you must be granted a right to practise by Valvira. Only persons duly licensed by Valvira are allowed to undertake duties of licensed social welfare professionals.
On application, Valvira may grant the right to practise in Finland as a social worker, social service professional), professional of applied gerontology or rehabilitation councellor to an individual who, on the basis of training completed in a country other than Finland, has been issued a degree certificate or other document such that is required in such country for practising the profession in question.
Practical nurse, home support worker and disability support worker are protected occupational titles for social welfare professionals in Finland. Protected occupational titles may only be used in their employment by persons granted such a protected occupational title and entered as such in the register maintained by Valvira.
On application, Valvira may grant the right to use in Finland the occupational title of practical nurse, home support worker or disability support worker to an individual who, on the basis of training completed in a country other than Finland, has been issued a degree certificate or other document such that is required in such country for practising the profession in question.
Other people who have sufficient education, experience and professional skills can also be employed in a profession that has a protected occupational title. However, only persons granted the right to use a protected occupational title by Valvira may use that title. It is the considered opinion of Valvira that indirectly adopting such a title is also not acceptable.
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 significant differences between the applicant’s qualification and the Finnish qualification, Valvira will issue a certificate of conditional recognition of professional qualification. The certificate of conditional recognition will specify the additional measures required to compensate for the differences. Additional measures include an aptitude test and an adaptation period. The applicant cannot be licensed to practise their profession until the additional measure specified has been acceptably completed. The applicant will need to reapply for a licence once they have completed the additional measure.
The purpose of the aptitude test is to gauge the applicant’s professional competence and ability to practise their profession in Finland. The test is organised by a Finnish educational institution that offers the degree course in question. The educational institution will charge a fee for administering the test. More information about the charge is available from the relevant educational institution. The principal content of the test and the body administering the test will be specified in Valvira’s decision on conditional recognition.
During the adaptation period, the applicant works under the guidance and supervision of another professional. The applicant will be directly employed by the body maintaining the health care unit in question. The adaptation period may include complementary training in the form of formal complementary training provided by the employer or as learning on the job. The applicant must personally find a placement for the adaptation period. The employer may pay the applicant a wage for the duration of the adaptation period.
Valvira will determine the length of the adaptation period and the positions available to the applicant in the decision on conditional recognition. The duties included in the adaptation period must be performed in Finnish or Swedish. The employer is responsible for ensuring that the applicant has good enough language skills to successfully perform their duties before the adaptation period begins.
The applicant and the employer will sign an agreement concerning the adaptation period and seek Valvira’s approval for the agreement. By signing the adaptation period agreement, the employer and the supervisor agree to ensure that the conditions imposed in the agreement can be acceptably fulfilled during the adaptation period. If the adaptation period consists of multiple segments at different units or under different supervisors, a separate agreement must be signed for each segment.
The supervisor must monitor, guide and oversee the applicant’s performance during the adaptation period and address any weaknesses immediately. The supervisor will evaluate the applicant’s performance and give their opinion on the applicant’s competence and ability to practise their profession to Valvira at the end of the adaptation period. The supervisor must mention in their opinion if any significant differences or shortcomings in training were not acceptably rectified during the adaptation period.
If there is a risk to customer safety resulting from the applicant’s actions during the adaptation period, the supervisor must notify Valvira immediately. Valvira may order that the adaptation period be discontinued. The supervisor must give an opinion on the applicant’s performance even if their adaptation period was discontinued either by the applicant or by Valvira.
The applicant may not begin the adaptation period until they have sufficient language skills to perform the required tasks and a registration certificate issued by Valvira.
To register, the applicant will need:
Certificate of conditional recognition and
Adaptation period agreement form (pdf in Finnish). The agreement must be signed by both the applicant and the employer and submitted to Valvira no later than three weeks before the adaptation period is due to begin.
Reapplying for a licence to practise a profession after completing an additional measure
Once you have acceptably completed the additional measure specified in your certificate of conditional recognition, you can reapply for a licence to practise your profession.
You may send your application to Valvira by mail, using the application form (pdf). You may also submit a freeform application indicating in which profession you are applying for the right to practise. Also include your name and your contact details for managing the matter. If you choose, you may submit your application through our online service, if you are able to use strong identification.
Enclose with your application evidence of the acceptable completion of the additional measure specified in your certificate of conditional recognition.
If necessary, Valvira may request further evidence or check that you have sufficient language skills (Finnish or Swedish).
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.
In matters relating to the right to practice as a social welfare professional:
Primarily by email suosikki(at)valvira.fi
Or you can call us on mon-tue and thu-fri 10-11 a.m. Tel. : +358 295 209 550