Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. Consequently, gaining entry to a teacher education programme is very competitive. In 2017 some 13% of the applicants were admitted into a class teacher (primary teacher) education programme. Thus, the qualification situation is generally very good among teachers. The proportion of fully qualified teachers in 2016 was:
- 96% in pre-primary and primary education
- 97% in basic education
- 99% in general upper secondary education
- 91% in vocational upper secondary education and training (VET)
- 99% of principals in primary and lower secondary education
- 100% of principals in general upper secondary education
- 91% of principals in VET
- 87% of special needs teachers in basic education and 94% in VET.
In early childhood education and care (ECEC) teachers are required a bachelor’s degree. The staff structure of centre-based ECEC (integrated ISCED 010 and 020) includes two other job titles of qualified education and care staff: social pedagogues (ECEC), and childcarers (ECEC). Social pedagogues (ECEC) have a bachelor’s degree from a university of applied sciences. Childcarers in ECEC are required a vocational upper secondary qualification (ISCED 3).
Currently only 1/3 of staff in ECEC centres are required a higher education degree but the staff structure is gradually changing. From 2030, at least 2/3 of staff are required a higher education degree, and at least 50% of these must be ECEC teacher’s degrees.
Teachers in pre-primary education have university education. They are either ECEC teachers with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or class teachers with a master’s degree.
In general basic and upper secondary education all teachers are required to have a master’s degree.
In vocational education teachers should have a master’s degree or bachelor’s 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 current Teacher education development programme focuses on admissions, initial education and as well as development of professional competence and learning during the career.
The working methods used in the teacher education and educational institutions emphasise a learner-oriented, research-based and whole-school approach. In addition, key issues are the new and diverse learning environments, team-teaching, cross-disciplinary approaches and teachers’ management skills.
The conditions of service for teachers and principals are agreed on in a process of collective bargaining between the teachers’ union and representative for the municipal employers. The collective agreement is renewed 1-3 years.