Research-based Social Work Profession in the Finnish Welfare State

Sanna Lähteinen, Aila-Leena Matthies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter examines the Finnish model of social work education from the perspective of the European system of higher education. The analysis is framed by the fast development of the social-democratic welfare state. Formalised social worker education started in 1942 as a two-year bachelor’s degree that was vocationally oriented with the purpose of providing municipalities a sufficient labour force. From the 1970s onwards, social work education started its process of academisation, and in 1994 social work became its own scientific discipline. Currently, Finnish social work education places strong emphasis on research and research-based understanding of social work. Social work education is organised at the university level only. The qualification requirement for a social worker’s position is the completion of bachelor’s and master’s degrees (total of 300 European Credit Transfer System points), with the main subject being social work.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Work Education in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationTraditions and Transformations
EditorsMarion Laging, Nino Žganec
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-69701-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-69700-6, 978-3-030-69703-7
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2021
MoEC publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

SeriesEuropean Social Work Education and Practice


  • Social work education
  • Finnish social work education
  • Finland

Field of science

  • Social work

Citation for this output