Step By Step Guide on Becoming a Nurse In Norway


Norway’s exceptional public healthcare system, typical of Nordic countries, provides universal healthcare even for those unemployed and covers medical emergencies. Nurses play a vital role in Norway’s healthcare, with a growing demand for their services due to an expanding and aging population. Nurses in Norway enjoy high job satisfaction, ample time off, and the potential to earn over $100,000 annually. Norwegian residents benefit from free healthcare, children’s education, and other advantages, including free travel and shared housing. This guide outlines the steps to pursue a nursing career in Norway, offering valuable insights to navigate the Norwegian healthcare landscape.

How To Become A Nurse In Norway

Step 1: Study Nursing

To become a nurse in Norway, you must obtain a minimum of a three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you have studied nursing in another country, the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel needs to recognize your qualifications as equivalent to a Norwegian degree. Be aware that in some countries, a nursing program equivalent to a 3-year program in Norway may require a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

Converting your qualifications to the Norwegian system is smoother if your education was obtained in another EU country. Norway, being an EU member, its Directorate of Health is more familiar with education systems in other EU countries. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t apply from outside the EU; it may just take up to six months for a response compared to three to four months for EU-educated applicants.

If you studied nursing in Norway, you won’t need to go through the conversion process. Norway is a popular choice for university students due to its free tuition, although you will still need to cover living expenses, registration fees, and student fees.

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Consider universities in Norway like the University of Agder, Molde University, the Oslo Metropolitan University, and the University of Oslo for your nursing education. Keep in mind that all programs are taught in Norwegian.

Step 2: Learn Norwegian

Proficiency in the Norwegian language is essential for working in the healthcare sector in Norway. Your nursing job will require constant communication, often under stress, making it crucial to be well-versed in the local language.

There are two main ways to demonstrate proficiency in Norwegian: taking the Test in Norwegian (Bergenstesten) or studying the language at a local university and passing their exam. You’ll need to achieve an advanced level on the Bergenstesten or receive at least a grade of C from a university, which corresponds to roughly a B1 level.

While it’s possible to apply for licensure without prior knowledge of Norwegian and take language courses in Norway, demonstrating proficiency before application significantly improves your chances.

Step 3: Apply for Licensure

The Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel regulates the nursing industry in Norway. Applying for a license is the next step to becoming a nurse in Norway. To ensure you submit the necessary administrative documents, it’s advisable to refer to their website for the full list.

Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, considering your education, previous work experience, and your command of the Norwegian language. If you have studied or worked in an EU country, this can greatly enhance your chances. Remember that taking a Norwegian proficiency test after being approved is possible.

Receiving a license is not guaranteed, and if your initial application is unsuccessful, you may reapply after a specified period with the details provided in the rejection letter.

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Step 4: Take Additional Nursing Courses

For many applicants, especially those from outside the EU, receiving a positive response from the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel does not immediately grant the ability to start working. Additional courses may be required in Norway to familiarize you with the specific nuances of the Norwegian healthcare system.

While there isn’t a standardized licensure exam, foreigners from outside the EU may need to complete a course called ‘Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere.’ This course entails taking two exams for successful completion and is available in several cities. Signing up at least six months in advance is advisable, as there is high demand.

Step 5: Find a Job

Upon receiving authorization to practice nursing, you can move on to becoming a nurse in Norway, seeking employment. While hospitals offer the most obvious job opportunities, Norway’s aging population has increased the demand for care home workers. Norway also strongly emphasizes mental well-being, so there are numerous opportunities for nurses who specialize in mental health.

While you can apply for jobs through conventional platforms like and LinkedIn or your university if you studied in Norway, your best option would be to visit the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s website. This step will lead you to job opportunities in the healthcare sector in Norway.

Can a Foreign Nurse Work in Norway?

Foreign nurses seeking employment in Norway must apply for authorization from the Norwegian Directorate of Health, as Norway doesn’t have a separate authorization scheme for specialist nurses. The process involves completing an application form. The authorization allows foreign-trained nurses to practice in Norway, ensuring they meet the necessary standards and qualifications for healthcare.

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How Can a Foreigner Become a Nurse in Norway?

Becoming a nurse in Norway requires a minimum of a three-year bachelor’s degree. For individuals who have obtained their nursing qualifications in another country, their credentials must be recognized as equivalent to a Norwegian degree by the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel. This recognition process helps ensure that foreign-trained nurses meet the educational standards necessary to practice nursing in Norway.

How Many Years is Nursing in Norway?

The Bachelor in Nursing program in Norway spans three years and encompasses a full-time course of study. It totals 180 ECTS credits, equally divided between theoretical and clinical studies. Completing this program leads to a Bachelor in Nursing degree award and qualifies individuals for authorization as general nurses in Norway.

How Hard is it to Become a Nurse in Norway?

To work as a nurse in Norway, a registered nurse must complete a three-year bachelor’s degree program. Afterward, they can apply for certification from The Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel (SAK), which is necessary to practice the nursing profession in the country. While the educational requirements are demanding, it reflects Norway’s commitment to maintaining high standards in its healthcare system.

How Much Does a Nurse Make in Norway?

The total pay for a Registered Nurse in the Oslo, Norway area is approximately NOK 580,000 annually, with an average salary of NOK 520,000 annually. These figures represent the median salary based on data from the Total Pay Estimate model and user-reported salaries. Norway offers competitive compensation to nurses, making it an attractive destination for nursing professionals.

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