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Vocational education and training

Vocational basic education qualifies the student for a particular vocation. Therefore, the training is very practically-oriented. You can apply for vocational education after you have completed the comprehensive school syllabus. Adults can also study a new profession or supplement their expertise.

The type of vocational education and training you can apply for, and how you can apply, depends on your basic education.

  • If you have completed the comprehensive school syllabus, you can apply for comprehensive school-based vocational education and training (peruskoulupohjainen ammatillinen koulutus).
  • If you have completed upper secondary school, you can apply for upper secondary school-based vocational education and training (lukiopohjainen ammatillinen koulutus).
  • If you wish to complete a vocational qualification alongside your job, you can apply for vocational adult education and training (ammatillinen aikuiskoulutus).

Read more on the Infopankki page Applying for education and training.

When you have completed vocational upper secondary qualification, you can apply to continue your studies at further vocational education, universities of applied sciences and universities.

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Basic information on vocational educationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiFinnish National Board of Education:
Further information on vocational educationFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Joint application for vocational schools and upper secondary schoolsFinnish | Swedish

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Admission based on the education provider's discretionFinnish | Swedish

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Fields of study in vocational education and trainingFinnish | Swedish

Preparatory vocational education

Preparatory vocational education (ammatilliseen peruskoulutukseen valmentava koulutus) or VALMA is intended for persons who would like to take a degree programme leading to a vocational upper secondary qualification. VALMA education provides you with knowledge and skills that will help you later in your vocational studies. You can also improve your language skills and your comprehensive school grades. VALMA education takes one school year.

Read more on the Infopankki page Preparatory vocational education.

Vocational upper secondary qualification

Vocational institutes (ammatillinen oppilaitos), vocational special education institutes (erityisammattioppilaitos) and adult education centres (aikuisopisto) all provide vocational education. You can complete a vocational upper secondary qualification in the following ways:

  • in upper secondary education (young people and adult students)
  • as a competence-based qualification (näyttötutkinto) (adult students)
  • in apprenticeship training (oppisopimuskoulutus) (young people and adult students)

A vocational upper secondary qualification gives you the basic skills needed in a particular profession. Completing a comprehensive school-based qualification takes roughly three years. You can also study at a vocational institute and upper secondary school at the same time. This allows you to obtain a double degree (kaksoistutkinto).

Vocational institutes provide many fields of study that you can choose from.

  • Humanities and education
  • Culture
  • Social sciences, business and administration
  • Natural sciences
  • Technology, communications and transport
  • Natural resources and the environment
  • Social services, health and sports
  • Tourism, catering and domestic services
  • Security

Personal competence development plan

The personal competence development plan (HOKS) is drawn up for every student. The plan includes a list of the competence you have previously acquired and an agreement on the studies you will now complete. You can complete studies at your own pace and demonstrate your skills in practical tasks at work.

Education agreement

Education agreement is on-the-job learning. If you would like to gain practical skills while working, education agreement is a good alternative to apprenticeship training. No salary is paid for the education. You can also combine education agreement with apprenticeship training.

Vocational education and training after upper secondary school

If you have completed general upper secondary school or a matriculation examination, you can apply for upper secondary school-based vocational education and training. In such a case, you cannot apply for comprehensive school-based vocational education and training. Read more on the Infopankki page Applying for education and training.

Vocational adult education and training

If you have a job, you can work towards a vocational qualification flexibly alongside your job. Vocational adult education and training include:

  • vocational upper secondary qualifications
  • further vocational qualifications
  • specialist vocational qualifications.

In your training, account is taken of previous education and training or skills acquired at work or as an entrepreneur.

More information on how to apply for vocational adult education and training is available on the Infopankki page Applying for education and training.

Apprenticeship: completing a qualification while working

Apprenticeship (oppisopimus) means learning through working. You are employed in your field and complete the qualification while working.

Apprenticeship training allows you to complete the same qualifications as vocational institutes:

  • Vocational upper secondary qualification (ammatillinen perustutkinto)
  • Further vocational qualification (ammattitutkinto)
  • Specialist vocational qualification (erityisammattitutkinto)

In order to be eligible for apprenticeship training, you need a job. You must independently find an employer that is willing to hire you. You cannot begin apprenticeship training if you do not have a job. The Employment and Economic Development Office (TE-toimisto) can help you to find a job. You can also complete the apprenticeship training in your current job.

Once you have a job, contact your regional apprenticeship office (oppisopimustoimisto). You can also contact an educational institute that provides apprenticeship education. Many adult education centres (aikuiskoulutuskeskus), for example, provide apprenticeship training.

For the duration of the apprenticeship training, the employer will pay you salary that must be at least equal to training salary. If your employer does not pay salary for the period of theoretical studies, you may be entitled to apply for daily allowance, travel allowance and family allowance, if you are covered by Finnish social security. Ask more from your own educational establishment.

linkkiStudyinfo.fi:
Information on apprenticeship trainingFinnish | Swedish

linkkiOppisopimus.net:
Information on apprenticeship trainingFinnish

linkkiOppisopimus.net:
Contact information for Apprenticeship Training BureausFinnish

linkkiFinnish National Board of Education:
Information on apprenticeship trainingFinnish | Swedish

Demonstrating your professional skill with a competence-based qualification

A competence-based qualification (näyttötutkinto) is one way to demonstrate your professional skill. You can obtain the following through a competence-based qualification:

  • Vocational upper secondary qualification (ammatillinen perustutkinto)
  • Further vocational qualification (ammattitutkinto)
  • Specialised vocational qualification (erikoisammattitutkinto)

The further vocational qualification and specialised vocational qualification qualify you for a certain profession. These qualifications must always be completed as competence-based qualifications.

A competence-based qualification is also viable when you have completed a vocational qualification in another country and would like it to be considered comparable to a Finnish degree.

If you wish to complete a competence-based qualification, contact an educational institute directly. Competence-based qualifications are provided by vocational institutes and adult education centres. There is no particular application period for competence-based qualifications.

You complete the competence-based qualification at a qualification event (tutkintotilanne) where a representative of the educational institute witnesses your professional competence. After this, you will receive a vocational certificate as proof of your competence.

linkkiFinnish National Board of Education:
Information on competence-based qualificationFinnish | Swedish | English

Vocational education provided by employers

Some employers also train people for their own jobs. These employers have a job guarantee. This means that a person who completes the training will receive a job from the employer. In other words, you get vocational training and a job. For example, many traffic companies and VR train people to work for them.

Vocational education and training
  • Preparatory vocational education