Youth work professions and youth research

No specific qualification requirements have been issued for youth work professions. People engaged in youth work have various educational and qualification backgrounds.

Basic research on young people is conducted at universities, universities of applied sciences and research institutes. Youth research is carried out in almost all fields of science, and the theoretical background to youth work builds especially on social sciences and educational sciences.

Actual qualifications in the field of youth work and youth work comprise a vocational upper secondary qualification as a youth worker and community instructor, a community educator degree and a Master of Social Sciences degree (youth work and youth research programme).

Youth workers and community instructors hold a vocational upper secondary qualification, while community educator degrees can be completed both as a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree. Community educator degrees are awarded by Humak University of Applied Sciences, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (XAMK) and the Centria University of Applied Sciences. Humak University of Applied Sciences offers both Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in community education. Master’s degrees may be completed in a Master’s degree programme in youth work and youth research at the University of Tampere. There are also doctoral degree studies specialising in youth research.

The degrees can be completed in the form of fulltime day studies or as blended learning. The vocational upper secondary qualification for youth workers and community instructors can also be completed in the form of a competence-based qualification. A community educator degree and two years of relevant work experience are required to be able to complete a Master’s degree in a university of applied sciences.

In addition to the actual qualifications, public and third sector actors organise informal education and training in the youth sector. Youth sector organisations provide education and training, peer learning and networks for developing competence. Municipalities and the youth services of the Regional State Administrative Agencies also organise further training for their employees.

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