System of professional qualifications
The system of professional qualifications plays an important role in supporting the competitiveness of the Estonian labour force by contributing to the implementation of the principles of lifelong learning and serving as the support structure for our educational system.
A new eight-level qualifications framework corresponding to the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) is implemented in Estonia in accordance with the Professions Act approved in 2008. The general requirements related to the study results within the educational system and the qualification levels within the system of professional qualifications are defined in the descriptions of the eight levels of the qualifications framework, which serve as the basis for the transition to a system of curricula based on study results.
Professional certificates are issued to people who have passed their professional examinations where the skills, knowledge and personal qualities required for working in a specific profession are assessed.
According to the Vocational Education Standard, vocational students have the right to take the relevant professional examination instead of the vocational graduation examination. A graduate of a vocational educational institution can take a professional examination for free within a year of graduation. In the 2011/2012 academic year, 53% of graduates took the professional examination, 80% of whom passed the exam.