A teacher’s task is to support and promote learning and competence development in children, adolescents and adults. Teachers support individuals’ growth as independent and responsible members of society who have the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate changing operating environments.

OAJ stresses that a teacher’s work consists of expert and human relations work that plays an important role in targeting social and economic stability, well-being, sustainability and employment.

Competent teachers, a high standard of teacher training and a high-quality education and training system are the factors behind the success of Finnish society.

Could I be a teacher?

Day-care centres, schools and educational institutions value different competencies and diverse interaction. There is no such thing as the right type of teacher; diverse communities need different types of people.

Special expertise in one’s own field, the qualifications to work in that field, professional autonomy and professional ethics are the essential characteristics of the teaching profession.

With their continuously changing work, teachers are required to bear responsibility for their professional development and for maintaining their competence. A passion for lifelong learning goes a long way in the teaching profession.

How does one become a teacher?

Future teachers learn the profession either at a university or a university of applied sciences where teacher education is provided. University-level teacher education is arranged for early childhood education teachers, classroom teachers, subject teachers, special needs teachers and guidance counsellors.

Vocational teacher education and training is arranged in vocational teacher training colleges that operate in connection with universities of applied sciences. Vocational special education teacher training and vocational guidance counsellor training are both vocational further education and training.

In Finland, teacher education is one of the most popular university study programmes, which goes hand in hand with the social value placed on teaching work. OAJ participates in developing teacher education and training by influencing education policy decision-making and the development of the education system. Well-trained, competent and motivated teachers are a guarantee of high-quality education.

Who can be a teacher?

As a general rule, teachers must have completed a master’s degree. Teacher qualifications are prescribed by law to ensure a high level of competence. Early childhood education teachers complete at least a bachelor’s degree in education sciences.

Read about teacher qualifications (in Finnish) Read about early childhoon education teacher qualifications (in Finnish)

What language proficiency is required of teachers?

Teachers are generally required to have excellent spoken and written language skills in the teaching language. At some education levels, it is enough if the teachers have a command of the teaching language used.

Excellent spoken and written Finnish or Swedish language skills are demonstrated in the manner laid down in the Finnish Government’s Decree on the Demonstration of Proficiency in the Finnish and Swedish Languages in the Civil Service (481/2003).

Language skills can be demonstrated by either the State administration language examinations, the Finnish National Certificates of Language Proficiency or in connection with one’s studies. More information on demonstrating language proficiency is available on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s website.

Demonstrating language proficiency

Examinations taken abroad

If you have obtained your degree outside of Finland and wish to qualify as a teacher, you must obtain a decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education on the recognition of your degree. The recognition may require a higher-education degree of a certain level or a certain qualification or study credits completed in Finland.

You can find more information on the recognition of qualifications on the Finnish National Agency for Education’s website.

Recognition of qualifications (in Finnish)