Teachers in Finland are highly trained. In general education all teachers are required a Master’s degree. In vocational education teachers should have a Master’s degree or Bachelor’s degree. The high level of training is seen as necessary as teachers in Finland are very autonomous professionally. Teaching and guidance staff within day-care centres generally have Bachelor’s degrees. Pre-primary teachers in schools hold a Master’s degree.
Guidance counsellors in basic and upper secondary education and training should have a Master’s degree and guidance counsellor studies. Special needs teachers hold a Master’s degree with special pedagogy as the main subject or a teaching qualification including special needs teacher studies.
Teachers at polytechnics are required to have either a Master’s or a post-graduate Licentiate’s degree, depending on their position. They must also complete pedagogical studies. University teachers are generally required to hold a Doctoral or other postgraduate degree.
Teacher training can be either concurrent, with pedagogical training integrated into the Master’s programme, or consecutive, with the pedagogical training completed after the initial degree. The latter is the case for example in vocational teacher education. The consecutive model also serves those who decide on a teaching career later.
At most levels of education teachers are required to participate in in-service training every year. Finnish teachers consider in-service training to be a privilege and therefore participate actively.
In-service training is offered by different providers. The state funds in-service training programmes, primarily in areas important for implementing education policy and reforms. Education providers can also apply for funding to improve the professional competence of their teaching personnel.