Finland, with its neutral policies, excellent healthcare system, and high quality of life, is an attractive destination for medical professionals seeking to work and study in Northern Europe. It is also an international country where you can pursue higher education in English. Medical studies in Finland, including medicine, are among the strong programs offered by the country’s universities. To have a successful experience in medical education and practice, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the Finnish language and adapt to its specific climate. In this article from FinlandQ, we intend to cover the prerequisites for studying and practicing medicine in Finland.
What Are the Requirements for Studying and Practicing Medicine in Finland?
Medicine is one of the fields and professions that have high demand worldwide. To pursue a medical education, you will need to put in extra effort compared to other fields, but in return, you will experience a better quality of life upon completion of your studies and can play a vital role in the health of others. If you are planning to study medicine in Finland, you should have the following prerequisites for an easier and more comfortable stay.
Proficiency in the Finnish Language
Whether you intend to study in Finland or migrate there for work after completing your medical studies in your home country, proficiency in the Finnish language is essential for a medical career. To learn the Finnish language, you can choose to study online from your home country or enroll in an in-person Finnish language course. Note that in addition to completing a language course in your home country, you can take an intensive course after moving to Finland to start learning the language in the local environment.
In general, the people of Finland speak Finnish and Swedish, and more than 90% of them understand English as well. However, speaking Finnish is a prerequisite for entering medical school and obtaining a medical license for practicing in Finland. So, it’s best to incorporate Finnish language courses into your daily schedule right from the beginning.
Study Medicine at Finnish Medical Schools
Completing your medical studies within Finland is one of the best ways to get familiar with all the requirements for obtaining a medical license. Finnish medical school takes six years to complete and awards you a medical degree upon graduation. Since most programs are taught in Finnish, having a Finnish language degree and mastery will be a definite advantage. Keep in mind that you will have to sit for the entrance exam, held annually in May, and the language of the exam will be Finnish or Swedish.
Medical Examinations and Residency
After completing the six-year medical school program, the final step before becoming a practicing physician in Finland is a mandatory six-month clinical course in your chosen specialty. After successfully finishing this course, all medical professionals must take part in the national medical examination for their qualifications to be officially registered.
Obtain a Finnish Medical License
A medical license in Finland is granted after successfully passing the national medical examination and completing the mandatory clinical course. Anyone who has completed their medical studies and the required clinical course can obtain this license.
Work Visa for Medical Professionals in Finland
Finland has a specific process for accepting medical professionals, which involves recognizing your medical degree and granting a license to practice medicine in the country. If you are a resident of EU member states, you do not need a work visa to work in Finland, but after living in Finland for three months, you must register your residence. If you are coming from a country outside the EU, you will need to apply for a work visa in addition to fulfilling the necessary requirements for medical practice.
Finding a Job as a Physician in Finland
The easiest way to find a job in Finland is through online job search websites. Online job search is often available in Finnish and Swedish only. In addition to online job search websites, you can also use employment offices in Finland, especially if you are already in the country.
If your medical degree is from outside the EU, you must complete a residency in Finland. Additionally, before your medical degree is officially recognized for medical practice in Finland, you must pass a three-part qualification examination.
These are the main steps and requirements for studying and practicing medicine in Finland.
How to Apply for Medical Studies in Finland
Finland, aside from being a beautiful country, is an ideal destination for international students. With its low (often free) tuition fees, Finland attracts applicants from all over the world. One of the most popular courses offered in Finland is Medicine. If you are considering studying Medicine in Finland, here are 7 key things you should know:
The primary requirement for studying Medicine in Finland is a high school diploma, which should be translated into Finnish or Swedish. In addition, applicants must take an entrance exam. The entrance exam is held simultaneously at all medical faculties in Finland, and each applicant can apply to only one faculty. In the University of Helsinki, you will also need a copy of your passport, identification card, or residence permit.
Language of Medicine
While the main language of instruction for medical programs in Finland is Finnish, the University of Helsinki offers a program that includes both Finnish and Swedish. Therefore, applicants should have proficiency in Finnish or Swedish as it is necessary for the clinical part of the education in hospitals.
Yes, international students can study Medicine in Finland. Citizens of the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (EEA), and Switzerland can enjoy free education. However, other international students are required to pay tuition fees for Medical studies. Scholarships can also help reduce the financial burden, covering up to 70% of expenses.
Curriculum for Medical Studies
To study Medicine in Finland, you need to apply for a 5 to 6-year Bachelor’s program, leading to a Medical Doctor (MD) degree. The first three years cover the basics of medical and research studies, including subjects such as anatomy, biology, biochemistry, physiology, psychology, pathology, microbiology, and pharmacology. Clinical training takes place from the fourth to the sixth year. During this period, students have the opportunity to enhance their practical skills and reach a higher level. Some universities also offer a 4-month practical training course in Tampere.
Number of Medical Schools in Finland
There are five medical schools in Finland. These include the University of Helsinki, Eastern Finland, Oulu, Tampere, and Turku.
Is Medical Education in Finland Challenging?
Admission to Finnish medical faculties is indeed competitive. Each year, only about 750 spots are available at Finnish medical faculties, and you’ll need to strive for high rankings to get in. However, it’s worth noting that the dropout rate is relatively low. On average, 93% to 95% of students complete their studies each year, resulting in a dropout rate of 7% to 5% (compared to the global average of 11%).
What’s Next After Graduation
After completing your Medical studies in Finland, you are eligible to work as a temporary physician under the supervision of a licensed physician. Those who have completed four years of studies can work as temporary physicians in a primary healthcare center or in a specialized medical unit. Just like all other students, they must be supervised by a licensed physician.
To obtain a medical license or a permit for surgery from Valvira, students have to complete a traineeship and pass a three-part examination. Valvira allows a maximum of 10 examination attempts, and after three consecutive failures, the candidate must wait for one year before retaking the exam. Conditional medical licenses are granted to physicians who pass the first exam. They can work in a healthcare center that is managed by a public organization. These conditional licenses are only valid for a maximum of two years.
General Admission Requirements for Medical Studies in Finland:
- Relevant language proficiency (preferably Finnish)
- High school diploma
- Financial capability (approximately 1,000 euros)
- Identification documents
- Passport with at least 6 months of validity
- Statement of motivation
- Academic transcripts
Average Income for Medical Professionals in Finland
Here is a list of some medical professions and their average incomes in Finland:
- Health Behavior Specialist: €5,190
- Clinical Psychologist: €14,200
- Clinical Psychologist (counseling): €10,900
- Dermatologist: €14,200
- Nutrition Specialist: €8,550
- Emergency Room Physician: €10,500
- Sports Physiologist: €10,800
- Forensic Physician: €12,400
- Genetics Counselor: €7,120
- Internal Medicine Specialist: €13,600
- Neurologist: €13,500
- Gynecologist and Obstetrician: €12,400
- Ophthalmologist: €9,310
- Optometrist: €9,490
- Pediatrician: €10,700
- Physiotherapist: €7,180
- Anesthetist: €16,200
- Cardiologist: €16,900
- Dermatologist: €14,100
- Emergency Room Physician: €10,300
- Endocrinologist: €12,800
- Geriatrician: €8,310
- Infectious Disease Specialist: €11,300
- Internal Medicine Physician: €14,800
- Otorhinolaryngologist: €8,720
- Pediatrician: €10,700
- Resident Physician: €7,720
- Physiotherapist: €8,390
Please note that these figures are approximate and can vary depending on factors such as location and experience.
It’s essential to do thorough research and check with the specific universities you’re interested in to understand their admission requirements and deadlines, as well as any updates to the tuition fee and scholarship policies.