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How much Danish do you need to learn to get a job in Denmark?

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
How much Danish do you need to learn to get a job in Denmark?
Some level of Danish will always help in the workplace in Denmark. Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash.

Learning a new language like Danish is a process that can take years. So at what level can you test out your new skills and apply for a job in Danish? We spoke to a language teacher to find out.


There are many international companies in Denmark where the workplace language is English - opening up opportunities to many nationalities who want to live and work in Denmark. However for some professions, a certain level of Danish is a requirement and for others, working in Danish opens up more doors.

"The level we say you need to get a job is to have passed the Prøve i Dansk 3 (PD3), which is the official exam by the Ministry of Education. It is equivalent to the B2 European Framework level," Maria-Sophie Schmidt, language consultant at Studieskolen's private Danish department told The Local.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) is an international standard for describing language ability. It uses a six-point scale: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, where C2 is for those who are advanced and fluent in the language. It means employers and educational institutions can easily assess language abilities.

"When you pass Prøve i Dansk 3 and are B2 level, you're not completely fluent but you can function in Danish and read newspaper articles in Danish. Usually I say B2 level is like a driver's license we give you on your Danish. So you can drive a car but if you want to be a really good driver, you have to go practice in traffic. So after PD3 and with practice and with help perhaps, you should be able to write an application in Danish and go through an interview," Schmidt said.


"PD3 will always help you get a job because companies appreciate you have the certificate. There's a worry for some companies that you aren't fluent.

"It is also helpful because Danes like to socialise in our workplaces such as at julfrokost (Christmas lunch) or fredagsbar (Friday afternoon drinks) and some are uncomfortable having to change their language to English all the time, maybe because we don't feel we speak it well enough. So if you come as a foreigner and have a certificate of Prøve i Dansk 3, I think it's a big advantage," Schmidt added.

Foreign dentists and doctors need to have passed Prøve i dansk 3, as well as other professional tests before being able to start an evaluation period of working. 

However there are some sectors where passing the Danish language exam isn't a requirement. Due to current pressure on hospital waiting times in Denmark, nurses outside of the EU are no longer asked to pass Prøve i dansk 3. Instead, they can demonstrate their Danish language ability, in line with the requirements used for nurses from EU and EEA countries. This includes a six-month probation period where Danish communication skills are assessed.



The construction industry and engineering, as well as hospitality are other sectors where Danish language skills won't necessarily need to be B2 level or need certification. But whether or not you require the Prøve i Dansk 3 certificate, practicing Danish is the key to gaining confidence in the Danish workplace.

"Sign up for a language course or sign up to a sports club and surround yourself with Danish language. Insist on speaking Danish and if you know anyone speaking native Danish, ask to have a coffee and practice your Danish. If you have kids and meet other parents, speak Danish, or volunteer at somewhere like a nursing home," Schmidt suggested.


Language schools offer a Module 6 course, called Studieprøve to get to C1 level. Here you learn to read, write and speak more academic Danish. It is a requirement for those wanting to study in Danish but you don't need it for a job.

"At Studieskolen we offer Classes after PD3 - a conversation class at B2 and C1 level where you don't focus on grammar and writing but on speaking relevant topics in society such as what's going on now, newspaper articles, TV shows and practice speaking to colleagues in small talk and more complicated conversations. PD3 is a driver's license but you often can't join a conversation spontaneously or you may lack confidence and vocabulary, so those classes help that."



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