Country information for Finland - Teacher education for inclusive education

Mainstream teacher education

Teaching and guidance staff in early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres either have bachelor’s degrees from university or polytechnic colleges, or what used to be known as post-secondary vocational qualifications. In addition, they may be assisted by other ECEC professionals with relevant upper-secondary vocational qualifications.

Teachers in the first six forms of basic education are usually generalists (class teachers). They have a master’s degree in education. Teachers in the last three forms and at upper-secondary level are subject specialists (subject teachers). They have a master’s degree in the subject they teach and pedagogical studies.

Special needs education

Special ECEC teachers provide special needs education for ECEC and pre-primary children. Special needs teachers provide part-time special needs education in compulsory and upper-secondary education, while pupils who receive special support in special classes are taught by special needs class teachers. Vocational special needs teachers work in both mainstream vocational institutions and special vocational institutions.

It is possible to study special needs education as a major and take the higher first degree. In addition, teachers can qualify as special ECEC teachers, special needs teachers or special needs class teachers.

In addition to special needs teachers, educational services also employ assistants, educational guidance and school welfare officers, psychologists, doctors, pupil and student counsellors and various therapists. State-owned special schools and vocational special institutions also have social workers, nursing and accommodation staff and other staff, for example, to cover school transport.

Universities’ teacher education departments, continuous professional development centres (e.g. Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting) and the National Agency for Education provide teachers with further education and continuous professional development every year. Process-based courses can include consultations and workplace consultancy.

Continuous professional development is compulsory for teachers. In mainstream education, teachers are obliged to participate in training for a minimum of three days per year. There is no formal link between continuous professional development and promotion (Source: Financing of Inclusive Education – Finland Country Report).


Last updated 24/03/2020

Share this page: