Nordic countries are home to some of the world’s best and most inclusive public health systems, and Norway is no exception. No matter your employment status, your basic healthcare needs are met by the government. Medical emergencies are also covered, so residents can rest assured that an unfortunate accident won’t bankrupt them.

The Norwegian healthcare system relies on its nurses to provide medical services to patients and to support doctors. If you’re a nurse, you won’t have much trouble finding work there. Like many European countries, Norway’s population is growing both larger and older. The country is constantly on the lookout for foreign nationals to fill its hospitals due to domestic shortages and increased demand.

Job satisfaction among nurses in Norway is among the highest in the world. They are given ample time off and can be paid over $100,000. As a Norwegian resident, you can also take advantage of free healthcare and education for your children, if you have any. You’ll also be entitled to benefits like free travel from Norway back to your home country, free shared housing, free utilities, and more.

In this guide, we walk you through the steps to become a nurse in Norway.

How to Become a Nurse in Norway

1. Study nursing

To become a nurse in Norway, you’ll need a minimum of a three-year bachelor’s degree in nursing. If you’ve studied somewhere else, your qualification needs to be recognized by the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel as equivalent to a Norwegian degree. Note that in some countries, the equivalent to a 3-year program in Norway will be a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

The process of converting your qualifications to the Norwegian system is much more straightforward if they were obtained in another EU country. Norway is part of the EU, and its Directorate of Health is more familiar with education systems in other countries from the region. This doesn’t mean you can’t apply from outside the EU, though. It just might take up to six months to receive an answer, as opposed to three to four for EU-educated applicants.

Of course, if you received your nursing education in Norway, you won’t need to go through the conversion process. The Nordic country is still one of the most popular for university students even though the government has recently decided to charge tuition fees to international students. Aside from tuition, students need to pay for their living expenses, registration fees, and student fees.

Some Norwegian universities to consider for aspiring nurses are the University of Agder, the Oslo Metropolitan University, and the University of Oslo. Note that all programs are taught in Norwegian.

2. Learn Norwegian

Speaking and understanding Norwegian is essential to working in the health sector in Norway. Your job will involve constant communication under plenty of stress, which is why the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel wants to make sure you’re well-versed in the local language.

There are two main ways to demonstrate proficiency in Norwegian: one is to take the Test in Norwegian, or Bergenstesten, and the other is to study the language at a local university and pass its exam. You’ll need to take the advanced level for the Bergenstesten or receive at least a C from a university. These correspond to roughly a B1 level.

While it’s possible to apply for licensure without knowing Norwegian and taking language courses in Norway, being able to demonstrate your proficiency prior to application boosts your chances tremendously.

3. Apply for licensure

As mentioned, the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel is the agency that regulates the nursing industry in the country. And so, applying for a license is the next step to becoming a nurse in Norway. You’ll need to submit several administrative documents, so it’s best to check their website for the full list.

Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Your education, previous work experience, and command of the Norwegian language are all taken into account. Having studied or worked in an EU country greatly helps your chances. Note that it’s possible to take a Norwegian proficiency test after being approved.

Applying for licensure doesn’t mean you’ll be accepted. If you’re unsuccessful, it’s possible to re-apply after a period of time. The details will be included in the letter you receive.

4. Take additional nursing courses

For many applicants, especially outside the EU, receiving a positive response from the Norwegian Registration Authority for Health Personnel doesn’t mean you can start working immediately. You might need to take additional courses in Norway before you can be cleared to work. This is because the Norwegian health system has many peculiarities you’ll need to get used to.

There isn’t a standardized licensure exam, but foreigners from outside the EU need to take a course called the ‘Nasjonale fag for sykepleiere’. In the end, you’ll need to take two exams to pass. This course is available in several cities. It’s best to sign up at least six months in advance as demand is high.

5. Find a job

Once you’ve received your authorization to practice nursing, we move to the final step to becoming a nurse in Norway: looking for employment. While the most obvious jobs include working at hospitals, Norway has an aging population, so the demand for care home workers is growing. As a country that takes mental well-being very seriously, Norway provides plenty of opportunities for nurses who specialize in mental health.

While it’s possible to apply for jobs through the usual sites like and LinkedIn, and even through your university if you studied in Norway, your best bet would be the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration’s website.


We hope this article will help jumpstart your career in Norway. For more study abroad articles, head on over to Study in Norway! Make sure to also check out the Available Programs in Europe for more study options!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hyun is the founder at Global Scholarships. He has received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College as well as $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for his undergraduate degree and has been offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. Read more about his scholarship journey here.

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