Compensation measures: General information

Anyone with professional qualifications from abroad must apply for and receive a decision of recognition of their professional qualification before they obtain a permanent position in Norway as a teacher in primary, lower and upper secondary schools, or as head of kindergarten or educational supervisor in kindergartens.

NOKUT compares the applicants’ professional qualifications with Norwegian national requirements regarding the assessment of the professional qualification’s level, scope, academic content and pedagogical competence. Relevant work experience and lifelong learning may help fulfil the requirements. 

Applicants who are fully qualified to practice a profession in another EEA State or Switzerland, are entitled to pursue the same regulated profession in Norway in accordance with the Professional Qualifications Act. Such applicants will, under normal circumstances, not receive a rejection, even when there are substantial differences between their foreign professional qualification and the Norwegian requirements. If substantial differences are discovered, the applicant is given the opportunity to demonstrate their competencies through one or more compensation measures. 

Adaptation period and aptitude tests 

Compensation measures may consist of an adaptation period of up to 3 years, one or more aptitude tests, or a combination of the two. During an adaptation period, the applicant will be working under supervision with a qualified teacher or kindergarten teacher for a pre-determined period. At the end of this period, an assessment is made on whether the adaptation period has offset the differences in training or not, so that NOKUT can grant recognition. An aptitude test is limited to the specific subjects for which substantial differences have been discovered. The applicant must pass the aptitude test in order to receive a recognition of their professional qualification. 

The regulations concerning adaptation period and aptitude tests can be found in the Professional Qualifications Act § 3 (g) and (h), and the regulation relating to recognition of professional qualifications §§ 3-4 to 3-6, 8-7 and 8-8. 

Compensation measures in the form of an adaptation period 

In a decision on compensation measures, NOKUT will identify the substantial differences that have been discovered in the foreign professional qualification compared to Norwegian requirements. Based on this, the decision will describe the area(s) that will be assessed during the adaptation period. The length of the adaptation period is also stated in the decision. 

Completing an adaptation period is free of charge, and the applicant may receive payment for the work that is done during the period. The applicant is responsible for locating a school or a kindergarten that is willing to assess the work of the applicant during the adaptation period. The position or workload must be the equivalent of minimum a 50 % fulltime position. Once the applicant has located an employer and submitted the necessary forms and agreements for the adaptation period, NOKUT will ensure that both applicant and employer receive the signed adaptation period agreement with addendums, including an assessment protocol. 

The employer will be compensated according to national regulations, cf. Statens personalhåndbok 10.14.2. It is up to the school to decide how the compensation is to be used, including whether the supervisor will receive part or whole of the allotted compensation. NOKUT estimates that the administrative burden will come to approximately 20 hours for a six-month adaptation period, and a total of 40 hours for a twelve-month adaptation period. This amounts to NOK 10.000 and 20.000, respectively.

If the applicant completes and passes the adaptation period within the deadlines given in the decision, the applicant will receive a recognition of their professional qualification. 

Anyone who will carry out an adaptation period, must submit a valid police certificate of good conduct to their employer before the start of the agreed period, cf. the Education Act § 10-9 and the Kindergarten Act § 30. If a valid police certificate of good conduct is not submitted in time, NOKUT will not sanction the compensation measure.

Adaptation measure in the form of an aptitude test 

In a decision on compensation measures, NOKUT will identify the substantial differences that have been discovered in the foreign professional qualification compared to Norwegian requirements. The decision describes the substantial differences, and which subject area(s) that will be assessed through one or more aptitude tests. By passing the aptitude test(s) within the deadline given, the applicant will receive a recognition of their professional qualification. Aptitude tests are free of charge.

An aptitude test will take into account the fact that the applicant is qualified to practice the profession in another EEA state or Switzerland. Aptitude tests are limited to subject areas that are significant for the practice of the profession in Norway, and in which the applicant must demonstrate his or her competence in order to receive a recognition of their professional qualification. The test may also include knowledge of the professional ethics guidelines relevant for the profession in Norway.

When registering for aptitude tests at NOKUT, the following will happen:

  • When NOKUT receives the registration, the applicant will receive a confirmation with information about the test content, and suggested times for the test(s). Please note that the applicant may be asked to submit a written assignment (case) before the test itself.
  • NOKUT will then invite the applicant to an introductory meeting with a case officer on Zoom or Teams, who will provide further information and answer any questions.
  • The test itself is an expert interview during which two experts in the subject area and one case officer from NOKUT will ask questions about the subject area of the test. When the interview is done, the experts deliver a written statement to NOKUT in which they either recommend or do not recommend that the applicant is given a recognition of their professional qualification. The expert interview lasts approximately 60 minutes, and is carried out digitally via Teams or Zoom. The applicant does not have to travel to Oslo in order to attend the test.
  • NOKUT then issues the final decision of recognition or rejection.

Legal framework

Regulations pertaining to the recognition of foreign professional qualifications as teacher in primary, lower and upper secondary school (legal sources translated into English are referred to when available, legal sources not available in English are referred to in Norwegian): 

  • Regulation pursuant to the Education Act (Forskrift til opplæringslova §§ 14-6 and  14-7, cf. §§ 14-1 to 14-5
  • The Professional Qualifications Act § 8, and pursuant regulation (Forskrift om godkjenning av yrkeskvalifikasjoner)  §§ 3-1 to 3-6 and 8-1
  • Regulation concerning quality assurance and quality development in higher education and tertiary vocational education (Studiekvalitetsforskriften§ 6-1 (1), cf. regulation concerning admission to higher education (Forskrift om opptak til høyere utdanning§ 2-2  
  • Regulations concerning framework plans for higher education 

Regulations pertaining to the recognition of foreign professional qualifications as kindergarten teacher for employment as head of kindergarten/educational supervisor (legal sources avaiable in English are referred to when available, legal sources not available in English are referred to in Norwegian):  

  • Regulation concerning the recognition of foreign professional qualifications as head of kindergarten/educational supervisor (Forskrift om godkjenning av yrkeskvalifikasjoner for styrer og pedagogisk leder i barnehage fra annen stat§ 8, cf. the Kindergarten Act (Barnehageloven§§ 24 and 25
  • The Professional Qualifications Act § 8, and pursuant regulation (Forskrift om godkjenning av yrkeskvalifikasjoner)  §§ 3-1 to 3-6 and 8-1
  • Regulation concerning quality assurance and quality development in higher education and tertiary vocational education (Studiekvalitetsforskriften§ 6-1 (1), cf. regulation concerning admission to higher education (Forskrift om opptak til høyere utdanning§ 2-2  
  • Regulations concerning framework plans for higher education 

English-Norwegian glossary of significant terms used in NOKUT’s decisions

  • Adaptation period: prøveperiode 
  • Aptitude test: egnethetsprøve 
  • Compensation measures: utligningstiltak 
  • Decision: vedtak 
  • Educational supervisor (Pedagogical leader): pedagogisk leder i barnehage
  • Head of kindergarten (Head teacher / Manager): styrer i barnehage
  • Professional qualification: yrkeskvalifikasjon 
  • Substantial differences: vesentlige forskjeller 
  • Teacher: lærer