Work as a Medical Doctor in Sweden
The Swedish healthcare sector is in need of medical doctors, nurses, dentists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and 15 other professions in the healthcare sector.
Sweden has a high quality of life, a good work-life balance, suitable for families. There is plenty of work opportunities in the cities and the country.
You will need to obtain a licence to practice, issued by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. Find out more in our Step by Step Guide below.
Step by Step Guide
For medical doctors trained outside the European Union
Have your education assessed
The first step is to contact the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. You will need to translate your diploma or other documents into either English or Swedish, and send them as per the instructions given.
You will need to prove you have reached level C1, CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) in order to obtain your licence. How long it will take you to learn the language depends on several factors, such as the similarities between Swedish and your first language, other languages learnt, time invested on learning and personal motivation. A good benchmark would be 400-500 hours of teaching. It is therefore wise to start taking language classes as early as possible.
Have Your Swedish Language Skills Validated
There are three options:
- Complete Swedish 3 or Swedish as a Second Language 3 at KomVux.
- Swedish at Level C1 in accordance with the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, for example PYS.
- A course or exam that satisfies the entry requirements for higher education studies, for example TISUS.
Take a Proficiency Exam
If you are educated outside the European Union, you will need to prove your skills as a doctor through taking part in an exam. The exam has two parts, one theoretical and one practical. The exam is in Swedish, and requires a very good knowledge of medical Swedish.
Enroll to Course on Swedish Law and Regulations
This course introduces you to the legal framework governing the Swedish healthcare system. It is organised by Umeå University and must be taken online, from any location on the globe. The course is in Swedish.
Undergo Clinical Training
Your clinical training period is a chance to learn more about the Swedish healthcare system and also show your skills and knowledge in practice. You will need to find a workplace on your own, and the position will be unpaid.
Submit Your Application
Make sure you submit all the paperwork, as per advised by the National Board of Health and Welfare, and pay the application fee. The waiting time is normally two weeks until you receive your licence.
There are plenty of job opportunities in the Swedish health sector, and you will be starting to work very soon after receiving your licence.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am trained within the European Union. What are the steps?
You will need to submit proof of your Swedish language skills as well as your diploma to the National Board of Health and Welfare.
What is the procedure for other healthcare professionals?
The procedure is very similar to all professions in need of a licence, and all need to prove they have sufficient Swedish language skills.
For detailed information, read more on the National Board of Health and Welfare.
This all seems very complicated. Is there any other way of receiving my licence to practise in Sweden?
Yes, there are in fact three more options.
- First option is to enroll into addtional training at one of Swedish Medical Schools. This is currently offered in Stockholm, Göteborg and Linköping.
- Your second option is to start from the beginning and obtain a Swedish degree.
- Third, you can obtain a medical licence of another country in the Eurpean Union, and then go through the process accordingly.
Regardless of which method you choose, you will need learn Swedish and prove you have reached level C1.
One the website of Sociastyrelsen, it says that my employer can confirm that my Swedish language skills on level C1. How does this work?
This applies to professionals educated within the European Union/EEA only. Your employer is not obliged to confirm that your Swedish is on level C1, but they have the right. Some employers may be reluctant to do this, as they are not proficient in language teaching and validation, and may ask a sub-contractor to do this. Speak directly to your employer if you are unsure.
Why can I not read about TISUS or PYS on the website of Socialstyrelsen?
Socialstyrelsen is a public authority, meaning they are not allowed to recommend specific private or public initiatives. Your exam centre should specify if their exam is approved as validation of Swedish language level C1.
What course literature should I use to learn medical Swedish?
You will need to do make sure you reach two goals.
1. You will need to learn Swedish up to level C1, according to the CEFR. Common course literature to reach this level is:
Rivstart, textbooks and workbooks from A1 to C1. There is also an app for practice.
Form i fokus, traditional grammar books. Also has an app.
Avancera, various books to practice words, reading, listening, etc.
2. You will need to learn medical Swedish, including sector-specific vocabulary, professional practice for medical records, how to communicate with patients. For this there is not a lot out there, but you can use the following resources:
Kroppen på svenska. An illustrated anatomy book for learners of Medical Swedish.
Svenska för sjukvårdspersonal. Medical Swedish on a beginner’s level.
Medicinsk svenska. Medical Swedish on level B2.
Klara PYS. Online courses of medical Swedish to prepare for the PYS exam.
Will me enrolling on a language course in medical Swedish entitle me to a visa?
Please contact Migrationsverket or your closes Swedish embassy or consulate for any questions related to visas and residency permits.
Can I write a C1 exam in my country?
You may sometimes be able to write TISUS outside Sweden. Please contact Stockholm University for more details.
PYS can currently be written only in Stockholm, Sweden.
How do I prepare myself for a C1 exam?
Reaching level C1 is the result of hard work and many hours of teaching and revision.
The most important thing is to understand there are no shortcuts. You will not pass an exam on level C1, if your level is lower.