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Responsible for the service Finnish National Agency for Education

Qualification of school social worker

  • Professional qualification
  • Nationwide
  • Public service

School social workers operate at the interfaces between education and health and social services. Identifying and intervening in social problems is an essential part of their work. Most often, students are referred to a school social worker for behavioural reasons. These include absenteeism, neglecting school, reckless behaviour and breaking of rules, difficulties with concentration, lack of motivation and violent behaviour. Reasons related to social relationships include bullying and complications with friendships.

Family related reasons include matters related to the care and upbringing of children, serious problems related to family situations (substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health issues) and matters related to changes in the family setup. Common emotional difficulties that students experience include anxiety and fears, depression and feeling low as well as timidity and nervousness.

School social workers are often a member of a crisis group at their school and take part in planning and implementing measures that are deemed necessary. They may also support an individual student who is in a crisis.

There are practices related to how to ensure a safe and secure everyday life, which are drawn up for eventualities such as absences, bullying, violence, substance abuse and crisis situations. School social workers participate in the preparation, updating and application of them at school.

School social workers cooperate actively with other employees working with children and young people, either in matters concerning individual students and families or more generally when assessing regional phenomena. Regional cooperation aims to promote the wellbeing of children and young people, to develop the services in the region and to prevent social problems from arising. The most important partners include child welfare services, family counselling clinics, child and youth psychiatry, other health and social services, youth services, the police, parishes and the third sector.

Do the following

When applying for a decision from the Finnish National Agency for Education

  1. Fill in the electronic application from according to the instructions.
  2. Attach the required documents.
  3. Send the application to Finnish National Agency for Education.

Required documents

When submitting your application, enclose copies of the following documents:

  • Degree/qualification certificate
  • transcript of studies
  • Proof of nationality, e.g. an extract from the Population Information System in Finland or copy of the ID page of your passport
  • Document verifying name change (if applicable).
  • If you are an EU/EEA national and you apply for recognition of professional qualifications obtained in an EU/EEA member state, you can also enclose certificates of professional experience and certificates of life-long learning.

Required translations

Provide a translation of each document into Finnish, Swedish or English if the original document is in a language other than Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Icelandic, French, German, Norwegian or Spanish. The translator must be an authorised translator in Finland or an official translator in the source country, working in the language pair in question. Translations done by the body that has issued the original document are also accepted.

To whom and on what terms

If you have qualified as a school social worker abroad and want to qualify as a school social worker in Finland, apply for a decision on eligibility from the Finnish National Agency for Education. The decision-making process can be influenced by whether you have completed a degree in an EU or EEA country, or whether you are a national of an EU or EEA country or another country.

You can contact the Finnish National Agency for Education for more information on decision-making criteria.

A fee is charged for the service.

The range of fees collected for a decision is €420 - €664. The fee is €420 when the decision concerns eligibility for one post or position. The fee is increased by €122 for any additional eligibility; however, the maximum surcharge is €244.

Processing time

The Finnish National Board of Education is obliged to make the decisions on the recognition of professional qualifications within four months of receipt of all documents. For other decisions, the law does not specify a maximum processing time. The processing of an application takes on average 2-3 months counting from the date on which all the necessary documents were provided.

Background information

Finnish National Agency for Education decides on the eligibility that a foreign qualification gives for positions in the early childhood education and care, teaching, fire and rescue services, and positions for which a Master of Laws degree completed in Finland is required.

Basic information

The service is provided byFinnish National Agency for Education
Responsible for the serviceFinnish National Agency for Education
Area Whole Finland
Available languagesFinnish, Swedish, English
Text edited by: Finnish National Agency for Education
Updated: 29/4/2022