Information for immigrants

This website aims to give information to people who are immigrated to Norway and who are in need of information about the education system, labour marked and their possibilities regarding acknowledgement of former education and experience.

  Our services

Karriere Agder is the career counselling service and admissions office for higher secondary education for adults (25 years and older). We are part of Agder Fylkeskommune (municipality of Agder county) and our career counselling and admission services are part of the public administration service and thereby free of charge. 

Our responsibilities:

  • Career counselling
  • Information about higher secondary school for adults
  • Inform about higher secondary school for adults
  • Proceed applications for admission to higher secondary school for adults
  • Inform about the process of assessment of non-formal competence (realkompetansevurdering)
  • Proceed applications for assessment of non-formal competence (realkompetansevurdering)

 Career counselling at Agder Fylkeskommune

What is career counselling?

Through career counselling, you can become more confident in your choices regarding education and work. A career counsellor can assist you in the prosess of getting to know yourself, see your options, and make good choices. The counsellor adheres to ethical guidelines, which will always be the basis of our work.

Is career guidance right for me?

Do you have questions about education or the job application process? Ask us! Here are some examples of how we can assist you:

  • if you are going to choose an education, and want someone to talk to about what you should choose.
  • if you have been laid off and are wondering whether it is a good idea to apply for a new job.
  • if you are working and wondering if you should do something else.
  • if you are unemployed and want help looking at how you can get back into work.

You decide what the counselling will be about, whether it's about more minor or major questions. Please be assured that our counsellors are skilled in different counselling practices, but that you are in charge of the counselling session. Our counsellors might use different techniques to help you in your process while never pushing you to any action or decision. 

 Recognition of foreign education

Coming to a new country involves often a new start. Therefore, it is important to be able to transfer previous learning, competences and formal education to the new home country. In Norway, there is a central organ for recognition of foreign education which is called HK-Dir (Directorate for higher education and competence). 

Recognition of foreign education

There are different recognition schemes for the different levels of education. Some forms of foreign education are more widley recognised within the Norwegian education system than others. There are also some forms of automatic recognition for certain countries.

Automatic Recognition of Foreign Education

If your foreign education is not eligible for an automatic recognition it is still possible to get a formal recognition of your education. Be aware that a recognition by HK-Dir is a mean regarding entering the Norwegian labour marked and mostly not necessary in conjunction with applications for higher education in Norway. The recognition aims to make it easier for Norwegian employers to find out whether the foreign education is comparable to a degree taken within the Norwegian education system. 

When you apply for recognition of your degree you will get a written feedback and in some cases HK-Dir will only recognise parts of your degree or education. If you have qualification as a teacher from another country, HK-Dir may also give you a feedback about which part of your education was recognised and which part was not, and how to conclute your degree in Norway. 

 Information about the education system in Norway

In Norway, we have 10 years of complulsory school which we call grunnskole (primary school). After primary school most Norwegians continue to videregående skole (secondary school). In videregående skole, pupil can choose between different branches. The main division is between studieforberedende utdanning (general studies) and yrkesfaglig utdanning (vocational training). While nearly all general studies take three years, there are different systems for vocational training programs. 

Within secondary education you aim to achieve a sluttkompetanse (final qualification). Which final qualification you can achieve depends on which kind of branch you have chosen.

  • If you following an educational branch within general studies, you can either get general study admission (generell studiekompetanse) or special study admission (spesiell studiekompetanse). Special study admission is necessary for some kinds of studies and is mostly more specialised towards a more extended knowledge of mathematics and science.
  • Within vocational education, you can either achieve fagbrev/svennebrev (apprenticeship diploma) after a certain time of training in school with subsequent apprenticeship at a company. Another possibility is to acchieve yrkeskompetanse (formal vocational qualification) for certain types of vocational training with a three year's school training. 

By following the link beneath you can read more about the Norwegian education system. The website is available in different language which can be chosen by clicking on the language menu in the upper right.  

The Norwegian Education System

Another division, which often is rather important for foreigners, is the age divison within Norwegian secondary education. From the age of 25 you are considered an adult and therefore another legal foundation applies to you. There are several differences between pupil over and under the age of 25: 

  • Adult pupil have normaly fewer rights regarding facilitation. 
  • Karriere Agder is the admissions office only for adult pupil.
  • When applying for secondary education for adults you have to choose a sluttkompetanse (final qualification), while pupil under the age of 25 are applying for one year at a time.
  • There is often less variation in available final qualifications for adults, which may narrow your field of possibilities . e.g. we do not offer special study admission for adults. 

 Applying for higher secondary school for adults

If you aim for higher secondary school education in Norway, are 25 years or older, have a restidence permit, and have your registered address in Agder county, Karriere Agder is your admissions office. 

To apply for upper secondary education, you must be able to show proof of Norwegian primary school education or equivalent. This involves English skills that correspond to 9 years of primary school education. Although knowledge of Norwegian is not required, lectures are held in Norwegian only. You are not entitled to facilitation such as an interpreter. Therefore, we recommend at least A2 level for vocational education and B1 level for general education.

You may find more information at our website about higher secondary school education. The information is given in Norwegian.

Higher secondary school education for adults (in Norwegian)

 The application process step by step:

  • Before we can process your application, you have to apply through 
  • Choose "Voksenopplæring eller realkompetanse" to proceed.
  • You have to log in through ID-porten which makes it necessary that you have BankID, MinID or BuypassID or Commfides. Since the applicational process requires access to websites which are asking for login by one of these methods, you may not apply if you not yet have gotten access to one of these. 
  • Make sure that the right county - Agder - is chosen and proceed through the page with personal details, and information about former education in Norway before you continue by clicking "Fortsett" at the page "Send søknad til VIGO Voksen"
  • You will now get an information about Karriere Agder. Click on "Gå videre" after you have confirmed that you have read the information. 
  • Fill in your education background, information about courses, practical experience, certificates, and others. 
  • At the application page, you have to choose if you want veiledning (counselling), realkompetansevurdering (assessment of non-formal competence), and/or opplæring (education), as well as which sluttkompetanse (final competence) you are aiming for. You may also add a comment and have to select a contact method and the responsible carreer centre. 

Where to find Karriere Agder in Agder county?

We have three different locations in Agder and while you are not bound to one certain location we would recommend to contact the location which is responsible for your area. 

If you are located in an area within the postal codes 4724 to 4994, you may contact Karriere Arendal:
Karriere Arendal (Google Translate)

If you are located in an area within the postal codes 4604 to 4721, you may contact Karriere Kristiansand:
Karriere Kristiansand (Google Translate)

If you are located in an area within the postal codes 4400 to 4597, you may contact Karriere Lyngdal:
Karriere Lyngdal (Google Translate)

 Assessment of non-formal competence

In Norway there is a recognition system for non-formal competence which is called realkompetansevurdering. Assessment of non-formal competence is a way of assessing whether adults' formal, non-formal and informal competence is equivalent to competence gained through upper secondary education.

Getting a this kind of assessment can be relevant both for adults who want to take upper secondary education, and for adults who want to document their competence, for example to an employer. Through the assessment, you can have your competence documented without having to go through traditional testing schemes. The purpose is to find out which non-formal competence one has and to document this. 

Be aware that assessment of non-formal competence not always is the right way to go, and that this form of assessment only can be done once per assessable subject whether you pass or not. 

You apply for assessment of non-formal competence the same way you apply for higher secondary education for adults. You may read more about this process longer up on this page.

Application process step by step

The assessment process step by step

The assessment is a multi-step process. Karriere Agder is only responsible for assessment of competence at upper secondary education level. The assessment takes place in several phases:

  1. Guidance and clarification: 
    In this phase, a specialist (often a teacher) will have a counselling with you so that it becomes clear what the purpose of the non-formal competence assessment is, and which final competence shall be achieved. The result of this phase is decisive for the following phases. The specialist may also advice against an assessment since the possibilities of passing may be to low. In this case we want to advice to follow the specialists' advice.
  2. Mapping:
    In the mapping phase, Karriere Agder will ensure that it is clarified what skills you have. In collaboration with you, we must ensure that all relevant documentation relating to your formal, non-formal and informal competence is obtained.
  3. Assessment of practical competence:
    In the assessment and evaluation phase, one or more specialists decide whether the competence you demonstrate is equivalent to the competence achieved through upper secondary education.
  4. Documentation:
    The documentation phase is the last phase. Karriere Agder will document the result of the assessment and the content of the assessment in an administrative decision. You will also obtain a certificate of competence that states what you have been approved for. This will be prepared as soon as possible.

 CV and cover letter - applying for a job in Norway

In Norway you will typically send in a CV and a cover letter (søknadsbrev) along with the documentation of your education or experience. These two main application documents have two different functions. 


Your CV is a list of your education, previous work experience, skills, and data in table form. That means that the information should be precise and short, so that it is easy for the recruiter or recruiting manager to capture all of your valuable information as fast as possible. A clean and well-structured CV is an useful asset in an application process. It is not necessary but also not uncommon to have a picture of yourself included at the top of the CV. Your picture should fit the role you are applying for. Usually, your CV should contain the following information:

  • Personal information (as name, address, contact information)
  • Education history (chronological: start with the newest one)
  • Work experience (chronological: start with the newest one)
  • Courses, skills, languages (additional information that gives you a benefit)
  • Interests and hobbies (if beneficial for the role you apply to)

Try to write the CV in Norwegian if you feel comfortable enough with the language. That shows that you already are in the process of learning the language. The CV should not extend two pages!

You can have a short explanation of your work tasks and the skills acquired by your education in form of bullet points or a short text. Try to keep it short and just give information that is relevant for the role that you are applying to.

Cover letter

The cover letter is a document where you explain how the skills, education and experience from your CV make you a good fit for the role. In other words, you set your experience in relation to the information given in the job advert. 

The cover letter should not extend one page and should be structured in several paragraphs. You can start with a subject line that states which job you are applying for. The first, and rather short, paragraph should give information about where you found the advert and why you chose to apply for the position. The paragraphs afterwards can be structured the way you want, but it might be good to have a paragraph about how your education fits the work tasks, another paragraph about how you can use your previous work experience in this role and a paragraph about your personal interests and your personality and how you see yourself as a good fit for the role.

If you do not yet feel comfortable writing in Norwegian, you should write the cover letter in English and address that your still in the process of learning the language.

 Do you need a mentor?

If you would like to get someone who can follow you up and support you on your way, mentor-programme "Sammen om jobb" can be useful for you. It is a 6 month's programme that focus on giving you the skills that you need regarding the Norwegian labour market. Check out their website (Only available in Norwegian):