What foreign workers in Norway should know about regulated professions
Some jobs or professions in Norway require accreditation of qualifications or education obtained in another country before you can work in your desired field.
What are regulated professions?
Norway has 161 regulated professions in which some requirements must be met to work in that role. If you were educated or trained outside of Norway, you would need to have your education, training or qualifications recognised by Norwegian authorities to get certain jobs.
Regulated professions cover an extensive range of industries. NOKUT (the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education), an independent body under the Ministry of Education and Research, has a list of sectors with regulated jobs and information on where to apply to get your qualifications recognised.
How do you get foreign qualifications recognised?
There are 15 agencies responsible for checking and verifying whether qualifications and training obtained outside of Norway is of the required standard to work in a regulated job.
Additionally, many industries have requirements outside of having your training and qualifications verified.
For example, healthcare workers must have their written and verbal Norwegian language proficiency assessed and may be sent on additional courses to learn about the country's health system. Applicants must cover the cost of additional language training.
Most, but not all, professions are regulated by the EU Professional Qualifications Directive, which seeks to streamline the process of getting education and qualifications authorised if they were obtained in a country within the EU or EEA (EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway).
The process can be a lot trickier if you received your education outside of the EEA, and may involve extra steps. In almost all cases, agencies responsible for professions that require a certain skill set or qualifications ask non-EEA applicants to contact them directly. Some agencies may also charge a fee to verify your qualifications or translate them into either English or Norwegian.
In some cases, foreigners can use a European Professional Card (EPC), an electronic procedure in which the country in which you gained your professional qualification can confirm its legitimacy. For example, you can apply for an EPC if you are a real estate agent, mountain guide, pharmacist or physiotherapist.
How long can the process take?
Despite the EU Professional Qualifications Directive streamlining part of the process, it can take months or sometimes years. This is partly due to the need for language skills or extra training in some professions before applicants are given the green light to look for jobs in industries that may be regulated.
If you are you a foreign resident in Norway who works in a regulated profession, we would love to hear your experiences of getting your training or qualification recognised to work in the country.
Getting education verified for a non-regulated profession
Some employers in non-regulated professions may also want to confirm the validity of your prior education.
This ensures that the level of education you received is of equivalent quality or standard to a comparable Norwegian qualification.
In most cases, you won't need to have your education formally recognised to use your diploma. But, it may help with job applications as having your prior education recognised by Norwegian authorities can act as a seal of approval and help your application stand out.
NOKUT evaluates the status of the educational institution and qualification in the country where it was acquired, along with the duration and level of the programme.
Degrees from several countries, such as the UK, Nordics, and Australia, can be automatically recognised. This comes in the form of a statement that can be downloaded and confirms that NOKUT recognises your certifications.
The process for having vocational training approved is a bit more thorough and comes with more conditions. The training and qualifications must be equivalent to skills, competence or knowledge to a Norwegian crafts or journeymen's certificate. Additionally, the qualification must have been at least three years in duration, with at least one year of documented practical training.
If NOKUT doesn't recognise the qualification, you will need to either apply to take vocational education in Norway, apply to take the Norwegian crafts certificate, the praksiskandidat or apply to train for the Norwegian crafts certificate while you are working.