Validation of prior learning

Prior learning comprises all the competence a person has acquired through paid or unpaid work, in-service training, continuing education, leisure activities in addition to the competence documented through basic education and training.

All adults in Norway who are entitled to receive primary, secondary and upper secondary education and training are also entitled to a validation of their prior learning.

You can apply for a validation of prior learning both when seeking admission to higher education and when seeking recognition of education if you want to take a Norwegian apprenticeship examination for a Norwegian craft certificate.

Validation of prior learning when seeking admission to higher education

If you wish to apply for admission to higher education, are aged 25 or over and do not have higher education entrance qualifications, you may apply on the basis of prior learning.

Higher education institutions set specific requirements

Each higher education institution determines what constitutes sufficient prior learning for its programmes. The same type of programme at different institutions may therefore stipulate different requirements as to prior learning. Even if you have your prior learning accredited for a particular course of study at one institution, it does not mean you will automatically get a spot at another. Therefore, you should check with the individual institution to obtain information about the specific requirements for prior learning before applying for admission..

The Norwegian Universities and Colleges Admission Service (NUCAS) is responsible for admission to all undergraduate studies in Norway (with the exception of some private institutions). This also applies to those applying on the basis of prior learning. You can read more on the NUCAS website about how to apply for admission on the basis of prior learning (only in Norwegian). You will also find information about deadlines and admissions.

Validation of prior learning when seeking assessment of craft or journeyman’s certificate

Do you have a foreign craft or journeyman’s certificate and would like an assessment of your vocational competence? You must be registered in the Folkeregister (National Population Registry Office) in Norway to be eligible for this assessment. You should contact the county council where you live or work. A validation of prior learning is intended to provide an overview of specific aspects of the profession in which you have vocational competence. You can find curricula on website for the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training.

This vocational competence is at the upper secondary school level in Norway. Most counties perform assessments of foreign vocational competence. This gives you the opportunity have your vocational competence assessed against the Norwegian curriculum.

Norwegian craft certificate

If you have a foreign craft/journeyman’s certificate, you may be offered a validation of prior learning and possible further vocational training (shortened and adapted) to acquire a Norwegian craft certificate.

Check the list of county contacts (only in Norwegian) who can help you with a validation of prior learning.

Documentation requirements for the validation of real competence

The requirements and procedures for the validation vary from county to county, but you will generally need to submit the following:

  • Documentation of completed education and training which shows the length and level of your education, theory and practical training.
  • Documentation of work experience abroad or in Norway may be a requirement or an advantage.
  • Documentation translated into Norwegian or English.

Please contact your county council for more information on documentation requirements.

Incomplete documentation

If your education is not adequately documented, or not considered to be on par with a Norwegian craft certificate, you can take advantage of the offer of a validation of prior learning. In this way, adults are given credit for long experience and are accepted into a shorter and adapted vocational training programme, with the aim of acquiring a craft or journeyman’s certificate. Contact your county council for more information about this service.

Validations of prior learning are free of charge for those who have not completed upper secondary education and training. Those who have completed upper secondary education and training, either in Norway or abroad, can make use of this service for a fee. If the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV) gives you a referral for a validation of prior learning after you have registered as a job seeker, NAV will pay for the validation.