How to get licensed by Valvira to be a psychologist or psychotherapist in Finland.
This is a general guide based on experiences of members of Psychological Practitioners Finland ry. For more detailed individual specific questions, please contact Valvira for accurate information and guidance.
Two Different Titles: Psychologist and Psychotherapist
There are two health professional titles related to psychology in Finland: Psychologist and Psychotherapist. Psychologist: granted upon completion of a Master’s degree in Psychology in Finnish universities. The study load in this Master’s degree is 300- 330 ECTS (i.e. five years minimum).
Psychotherapist: granted up completion of the Finnish psychotherapist training. This training is intended for professionals with two or more years of work experience in the psychology related health field. Not only psychologists but professionals such as psychiatrists and nurses are accepted to study in the program. This training is only available in Finnish and Swedish. The study load in this training is 60-80 ECTS. There are two categories of psychotherapists: individual and family/couples psychotherapists. One can only apply for one category.
When you have a licence from outside of Finland
When you have a psychologist/ psychotherapist licence from outside of Finland, you need to have your degree/licence accredited by Valvira. In some countries like Australia, the US and Japan, there is no legal distinction between psychologist and psychotherapist.
One can receive psychotherapy education during their psychology study and can become a psychotherapist after completing a Master’s degree and/or a Ph.D degree in psychology. However, in Finland, psychologist and psychotherapist are categorised as two different titles. We have been informed that one needs to have a separate degree/training for psychologist and psychotherapist registration and that the same degree cannot be used for both registrations.
There have been multiple cases of foreign licensed psychologists who successfully attained psychologist registration from Valvira. However, unfortunately there has been no case of successful attainment of psychotherapist registration in the category of individual psychotherapy.
Those who have completed the Finnish psychotherapist training explained above are granted psychotherapist registration.
What do you need when applying for VALVIRA recognition?
Valvira instructs you to submit documents as follows:
In the qualified outside the EU/EEA cases, all official documents need to be legalised using Apostille (in case this does not apply, legalisation by grand legalisation procedure is required).
In addition, translation of documents needs to be done by an authorised translator in Finland or in another EU or EEA Member State. On top of the documents regarding your identity, education and trainings, you need to submit National Certificate of your language proficiency (YKI test) of one of Finnish official languages (Finnish or Swedish). YKI test consists of four sub-areas of language proficiency: listening comprehension, speaking, writing and reading comprehension.
To apply for Valvira registration, you need to have at least level 3 in all these sub-areas. Information about Finnish/Swedish language courses You can register with the TE Office (Unemployment Office) if you are an EU/EEA citizen or have the right to work in Finland on the basis of a residence permit. Among the services provided by the TE Office are full-time language courses.
Most frequently used website for language course search: https://finnishcourses.fi/
In adult education centres a wide range of courses are provided. There are also courses specifically aimed at YKI tests.
Some examples of course providers are the following: https://helao.fi/en/
University of Helsinki Summer Language Courses (website address changes from year to year)
In addition, for non-EU/EEA applicants, attendance to a five-hour course in professional ethics, legislation, professional activity and the labor market is compulsory before licnesing as a psychologist is granted. In Finnish it is called -: “Ammatillinen tietopaketti/Mitä nuoren psykologin tulee tietää ammattietiikasta, lainsäädännöstä, ammattitoiminnasta ja työmarkkinoista”, via Psykonet.