Sweden is one of the world’s best countries to work in. It is a global leader in employee benefits. Paid vacation, parental, and sickness leaves are required by law. You’ll get 25 days off for vacation alone. You and your spouse can get a combined maximum of 480 parental leave days if you have a child under twelve.

Sweden is also one of the most socially progressive countries in the world. Poverty is essentially nonexistent in the country. Government-supported education, retirement benefits, healthcare, family support, etc. are all available to residents in the country. Besides this, Sweden is extremely tolerant. Racism, sexism, and homophobia are frowned upon.

As a nurse in Sweden, you’ll have access to a job market that is projected to grow due to an increase in the elderly population. You’ll also get to work with the latest medical technology. Nurses in the country enjoy a good relationship with doctors as the work culture is very egalitarian. Importantly, all nurses work on a full-time basis, so you won’t need to find a second job to earn a living wage.

Read on to learn more about the steps to become a nurse in Sweden.

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Steps to Become a Nurse in Sweden

1. Study Nursing

Just like most countries, Sweden requires nurses to have studied in their field. The minimum level of education you need to have received is a bachelor’s degree in order to become a nurse in Sweden. An associate degree or a certificate will likely not suffice.

If you’ve obtained your degree abroad, you’ll need to have your degree assessed by the National Board of Health and Welfare, or Socialstyrelsen. To do this, you need to send several documents like your diploma and course list to them. While there is no defined list of accredited schools or degrees, most reputable programs will suffice. Don’t expect an immediate answer: it can take up to three months to have your documents assessed.

Alternatively, you can study nursing in Sweden. There are a number of reputable universities there. The most popular is the Karolinska Institute, which often ranks among the world’s best medical schools. Alternatives include the University of Gothenburg, the Swedish Red Cross University College, and Karlstad University. While the Karolinska Institute offers its nursing program in English, most other universities require you to speak Swedish to enroll.

2. Learn Swedish

Most countries require you to know the local language to be a nurse, and Sweden is no different. To qualify for a nursing license there, you’ll need to demonstrate proficiency in the Swedish language.

There are several ways to do this. One is to study Swedish at an adult education program and receive a certificate. You’ll need to reach level 3 of the language. Another option is to demonstrate that you are at a C1 level or better. The two most popular tests for this are the Test in Swedish for University Studies (TISUS) and Swedex.

If you’re a native English speaker or are fluent in it, Swedish will be much easier to learn than other languages. The two languages have many common words, and Swedish grammar is relatively intuitive for English speakers.

3. Take a Nursing Proficiency Test

All licensed nurses must pass a knowledge test first in order to be a nurse in Sweden. The exam consists of two parts: a written section and a practical test. The first part includes case study questions and calculation questions. It aims to evaluate both your medical knowledge and whether you demonstrate the values Swedish hospitals look for in a nurse. The practical test takes place in a medical facility and evaluates how you handle real-life procedures.

The knowledge test is only administered by the University of Gothenburg. You’ll need to make an appointment via their website. The written and practical sections are scheduled separately, and you’ll only be allowed to take the latter once you’ve passed the former. The exam is offered entirely in Swedish, you’ll need to know how to read, write, and speak Swedish fluently before signing up.

4. Take a Course in Constitutional Knowledge

To make sure you understand Swedish law, you are required to take a constitutional knowledge course before you can become a licensed nurse. Here, you’ll learn about the Swedish government, Swedish medical laws, basic rights, and more. The course is catered to foreigners who wish to work in the country.

This course is only offered by Umeå University, so you’ll have to sign up through their website. Like the nursing proficiency exam, it is only offered in Swedish, so you’ll need to know the language before starting. If you have other commitments, it’s possible to take the course on a part-time basis.

5. Complete Your Training at a Swedish Hospital

Before you can become a licensed nurse in Sweden, you’ll need to undergo training at a medical center. This allows you to gain experience in the day-to-day activities of nurses. You’ll need to do this for three months before receiving a certificate to validate your training. Once you do, you’ll need to submit this to the National Board of Health and Welfare.

Note that this step is mandatory even if you have work experience overseas. This is to make sure that you receive proper training in the Swedish health care system’s practices. You’ll also need to complete your entire training in a single health facility. While you’ll be entitled to your salary at the hospital, the Swedish government does not provide a stipend for trainees.

6. Apply for a License

Once you’ve completed all these, the last step to becoming a nurse in Sweden is to apply for your license. To do this, you’ll need to secure a work permit. You can apply for one without having secured a job. When you’ve done this, submit all the required documents and pay a fee of 870 Swedish kronor to the National Board of Health and Welfare. You can find a complete list of requirements on its website.


I hope that you found this article on the steps to becoming a nurse in Sweden informative and helpful. You can also find more information on different European universities and scholarship opportunities on the Europe Scholarships Page!