What is Tertiary Vocational Education

Tertiary vocational education provides vocational education founded on upper secondary education or equivalent prior learning and work experience, and comprises the equivalent of at least one-half and no more than two entire academic years.

The Tertiary Vocational Education Act defines vocational education as "education that provides competence for working life without further general training measures". Pursuant to the Act, the tertiary vocational colleges shall provide education of high quality and equip students with satisfactory skills and conditions.

The county authorities are responsible for ensuring the provision of accredited tertiary vocational education that considers local, regional and national competence requirements within priority sectors. Tertiary vocational education is important in order to secure brief, vocational provisions in line with new skills needed and requirements set in working life. Tertiary vocational education and higher education are two different alternatives to education after upper secondary school, each with its own legislation and objective. The overarching goal of tertiary vocational education is that "approved tertiary vocational education shall be of high quality and provide students with quality-assured, flexible education programmes tailored to the job market", cf. draft resolution Prop. 1 S (2012–2013) for the Ministry of Education and Research.

All tertiary vocational education must be approved by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT). In order to be accredited, the education must satisfy national performance standards stipulated by regulation. NOKUT supervises tertiary vocational education and accredits tertiary vocational colleges' internal quality assurance systems. In 2012, there were a total of 115 tertiary vocational colleges, with a total of 15 852 tertiary vocational college students, which together cover a wide range of studies within many disciplines.