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Kielitaito ja pätevyysvaatimukset

Language skills and qualification requirements

What language do you need to know in order to apply for a job in Finland? What are the qualification requirements in different fields in Finland? On this page, we will tell you about the most common requirements in working life.

Certain fields require certain education, work experience and language skills in Finland. In addition, some fields may require a specific working-life passport or card, which are usually easy to complete.

Language skill requirements

In Finland, the need for language skills in working life depends on the sector.

There are fields where you can find work without proficiency in Finnish. In some workplaces, it is possible to work in English. For example, there are many immigrants working in the cleaning, construction, restaurant and transport sectors who are still learning Finnish.

There are also plenty of jobs in IT, industry and international companies where knowing English is enough. Proficiency in English is also often important in expert tasks.

However, workplaces often require a certain level of proficiency in Finnish or Swedish. You can demonstrate your language skills with a YKI certificate (General Language Proficiency Examination) or Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate, or VKT. For example, in order to be able to work as a teacher in pre-primary, primary or lower secondary education, you must have excellent oral and written skills in the language of instruction of the school. According to the Common European Framework of Reference, ‘excellent language skills’ refers to level C. In general upper secondary education, the teacher must be fully proficient in the language of instruction. You can demonstrate excellent proficiency in Finnish and Swedish both with the YKI certificate (top level) and with a Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificate (excellent proficiency).

Even though Finns generally speak English quite well, knowing Finnish or Swedish will be very useful for you nonetheless. You can improve your language skills in courses or on the job. Do not hesitate to speak Finnish or Swedish with your co-workers. Read more about studying languages in the InfoFinland section Finnish and Swedish (Link leads to external service).

For more information on the different levels of language proficiency and certificates, see the InfoFinland page Official certificate of language proficiency.

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish National Agency for Education

General Language Proficiency Examination

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish National Agency for Education

Civil Service Language Proficiency Certificates

Link redirects to another websiteLanguage boost

Language skill tests

Qualification requirements

Before you start practising a profession or looking for a job, check whether your profession is regulated in Finland. A profession is regulated if, by law, it requires a specific education, qualification or right to practise. If needed, submit an application for the recognition of your professional qualification to the authority responsible for that in your field. Applications are usually processed within a few months. The decision is subject to a charge.

Read more on the InfoFinland page Foreign diploma or degree in Finland.

Working-life passports and cards

In addition to qualification requirements, there may also be other requirements in different fields in Finland. Working in some professions requires that you have a specific working-life card or passport. These can often be completed quickly, usually in one training day or within a few hours.

For example, the food industry often requires a hygiene passport, and the restaurant and catering sector often requires an alcohol passport. A warehouse worker must have a forklift card and a construction worker must have an occupational safety card.

Before completing a passport or card, you will normally have to attend a training course, which will end with the actual test. Tests are usually subject to a fee if they are not part of a vocational qualification.

Some cards are valid until further notice, some for three to five years. The card must be valid throughout your work. Remember to renew your cards in time.

Working-life passports and cards include

  • hygiene passport (hygieniapassi),
  • alcohol passport (anniskelupassi),
  • occupational safety card (työturvallisuuskortti),
  • hot work card (tulityökortti),
  • water work card (vesityökortti),
  • road safety card (tieturvakortti), and
  • security guard card (järjestyksenvalvojakortti).

Link redirects to another websiteFinnish Food Authority

Hygiene passport

Link redirects to another websiteThe Centre for Occupational Safety

Occupational safety card

Other certificates

Some professions may also require a medical certificate. For example, in the restaurant industry, you may need a certificate stating that you do not have salmonella.

If you work with children, you must usually provide an extract on criminal background. You can apply for it from the Legal Register Centre (Oikeusrekisterikeskus).

Where can I ask for advice?

If you need help with questions related to the recognition of previously acquired learning and professional qualifications, you should contact the Finnish National Agency for Education (Opetushallitus) or your employer.

If you are permanently residing in Finland, you can also receive guidance from the SIMHE services of higher education institutions. SIMHE institutions cooperate with regional, national and international actors all over Finland. If you need support for employment or information about Finnish language courses, you can ask for advice from the employment services of your municipality or the local TE Office (TE-toimisto).

Link redirects to another websiteJob Market Finland

Job search services