10 steps to become a nurse in Sweden

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10 steps to become a nurse in Sweden

Want to work as a nurse in Sweden? With at least 25 days of paid vacation and 480 days of paid parental leave, you can look forward to a good work-life balance. So, how to get started? Let us take a look at the process for obtaining a license to get a job as a nurse in Sweden.

A title protected by the law requires a license

The title nurse (sjuksköterska) is protected by law and is one of 22 professions that requires a medical license to apply for a job. That is why you may only refer to yourself as a nurse if you have a Swedish license.

Let us explain how you can become a nurse in Sweden in 10 simple steps.

Step 1: Are you educated as a nurse in a country outside of the EU/EEA?

First, you need to get your education as a nurse responsible for general care assessed by Swedish authorities. Depending on if you were educated within the EU or the EEA, the path toward getting a license will look a bit different:

  1. You got your education within the EU or EEA

  2. You got your education outside the EU or EEA, and have worked for at least 3 years within the EU or EEA

  3. You got your education outside the EU or EEA

This article will guide those with an education from outside the EU or EEA on how to get a license as a nurse responsible for general care. If any of the other options apply to you, you simply need to assess your education and apply for a license.

Step 2: Send your nursing education for assessment

Before applying for the proficiency test, you need to send your education for assessment to the National Board of Health and Welfare. You need to fill out the application form and supply the following documentation:

  • An application form for assessment of education abroad

  • a copy of the first page of a valid passport or a Swedish ID card

  • a copy of a certificate of your completed education, such as a diploma

  • a list of the content and length of completed courses

If you have changed your first or last name after completing the education, you also need to submit a certified copy of the name change.

When the authorities have assessed your education you will be notified by email with further instructions on how to proceed. Let us move ahead to step 3 and 4 in how to get a license.

Step 3: Learn Swedish

Before taking the proficiency test, you need to know Swedish. The required linguistic knowledge is at level 3, with at least a grade E, which is equal to passing the course. The sooner you start learning Swedish, the quicker you will be able to get your license.

Knowing Swedish will benefit you when you start looking for jobs. It is also an important part of being able to understand and answer the questions in the theoretical part of the proficiency test.

Step 4: Prepare for the proficiency test

After your education has been approved as equivalent to Swedish nursing education, it is time to prepare for the proficiency test. With the Cure Staff education program, you will get the preparation needed. Of the nurses that enlist in Cure Staff’s program, 99 percent of the nurses pass the test on their first trial.

The preparatory course brings up many aspects of the nurse’s role within the Swedish healthcare system. You will study everything from pharmacology and administration of drugs to hygienic aspects and Swedish terminology.

You will be given six months to prepare for the theoretical test, and three months to prepare for the practical examination.

Step 5: Pass the theoretical part of the proficiency test

The theory test is half a day and is conducted in Gothenburg or Kalmar. The written test measures the knowledge required and the ability to act accordingly to Swedish healthcare standards.

The written partial test has two parts:

  1. Part one presents two patient cases that reflect realistic care situations that a nurse may face.

  2. Part two consists of two questions about drug calculation that are included in patient cases.

Completing the theoretical part of the proficiency test will prove that you have the understanding needed to work as a nurse in Sweden. But you need to do the practical part of the test as well.

Step 6: Pass the practical part of the proficiency test

When you have passed the theoretical part of the test, it is time to show your competence in a real-life situation. The practical test is also performed at the University of Gothenburg for two half days in an OSCE (objective structured clinical examination). You need to show your ability within 12 different areas. This includes, but is not limited to, venous sampling, catheterization of the bladder, and insertion of peripheral venous catheters (PVK).

Step 7: Rules and legislation within the Swedish healthcare system

Once you have passed the proficiency test, you must partake in a course about Swedish law and legislation. This is a digital course provided by Umeå University. It takes about two weeks to complete.

Step 8: Internship at a Swedish healthcare institution

Simultaneously with the legal studies, you will now be able to apply for an internship. The internship needs to take place at one healthcare institution for at least three months straight. During the practical service, you show your practical knowledge and suitability for the profession. At the same time, you get an insight into how Swedish healthcare works, while having guidance from a licensed nurse.

You are officially responsible for finding an internship, but when enrolled in Cure Staff’s program, we will help you find a place that suits you.

Step 9: Apply for a license

When the internship is completed you need to obtain a certificate stating that you have proven your knowledge as a nurse responsible for general care. It is now time to apply for a Swedish license.

Make sure to collect all needed documentation before submitting your application. Cure Staff will help you through the application process to ensure that you get your license as quickly as possible.

You need to submit the following documents:

  • proof of having paid the application fee

  • copy of a valid ID such as a passport or Swedish driver's license

  • documentation of name change (if applicable)

  • copy of your diploma or certificate to prove your linguistic ability

  • copy of your diploma of finishing post-secondary studies as a nurse

  • list of all courses completed, including their duration and content

  • certified proof that you are not prohibited to pursue your profession – this document cannot be more than three months old.

The application cost for 2022 is 870 SEK, and it can take up to three weeks before the application is processed. If you need to supplement your application with more information, the National Board of Health and Welfare will get back to you.

Step 10: Start working

All the preparation has paid off, and you now have a license to work as a nurse in Sweden. There are many opportunities for work within both the public and private sectors.

Short facts about nurses in Sweden

  • 9 of 10 nurses in Sweden are women.

  • The average salary in 2020 was 38 700 SEK per month.

  • 4 944 nurses received a license in 2020.

Cure Staff has collaborations with many well-renowned healthcare institutions in Sweden, and we can help you to find employment once you have received your license.


Getting licensed as a nurse requires many steps, and takes some time. A vital part to get started is to learn Swedish, since this is required for both the proficiency test and the internship.

Cure Staff offers both a preparatory course to the proficiency test and language courses. We have helped many nurses obtain a license and work in Sweden. To be able to apply to our preparation course for nurses, you need to have:

  • at least a three-year post-secondary education as a nurse responsible for general care,

  • a confirmation from the National Board of Health and Welfare that your education has been assessed and approved as equivalent to a Swedish education,

  • formally approved knowledge in Swedish, level 3 with at least a grade E.

Please, contact us if you would like to know more about the process. We will help you with everything from sending your education for assessment, to employment within the Swedish healthcare sector.