Recognition of an Early Years Qualification

Recognition of an Early Years Qualification

From Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth 

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Under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, all staff working directly with children in a pre-school service must hold at least a Level 5 major award in early childhood care and education on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), or a qualification that the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has deemed to be equivalent.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth has published a list of qualifications that meet both regulatory and funding requirements for working in early learning and care services. The list can be found at this link:

DCEDIY Early Years Recognised Qualifications August 2023

If an individual's qualification does not appear on the list, an individual can apply to the Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth to have it assessed for equivalence.

To be approved to practise in the sector, an individual's studies must be of a standard at least at level 5 on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications NFQ (or equivalent) and must include the following content:

• Child development for children aged 0-6.

• Early childhood education - theory and practice.

• Child health and welfare for children aged 0-6.

• Evidence that the qualification contains a supervised practicum/practice placement working in an early learning and care setting.

Temporary Student recruitment in Early Learning and Care


On a temporary basis DCEDIY is re introducing its accelerated process for assessment of equivalence with the level 5 minimum qualification requirement for students currently enrolled on a recognised level 6, 7 or 8 course. Students who are approved through the accelerated assessment process will receive a “Letter of Temporary Permission to Practise” from DCEDIY.

A student who wishes to seek temporary employment in an ELC or SAC at this time may look for temporary job opportunities at or by directly contacting an ELC or SAC service that is looking for temporary staff.

If a student does not yet have either a Level 5 or higher qualification or a Letter of Eligibility to Practise, the student may apply for a Letter of Temporary Permission to Practise provided the student:

  • Is currently registered on a level 6, 7 or 8 programme listed on the DCEDIY approved qualification list;
  • Has successfully completed the first year of the course; and
  • Has successfully completed a practice placement working with children in an ELC setting as part of their studies.

In order to apply for a Letter of Temporary Permission to Practise, a student should:

  • Complete a Student Fast Track Application Form for Temporary Permission to Practise and have it signed and stamped by their further or higher education institution; then
  • Email a scanned copy of this signed and stamped form to where it will be assessed and, if approved, a Letter of Temporary Permission to Practise will be issued to the student.

A student who has a Letter of Temporary Permission to Practise may be employed to work with children in an ELC setting until at latest 1st September 2023.

A student may also apply at the same time for a general – not time-limited – Letter of Eligibility to Practise.

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Student Fast-Track Application Form for Temporary Permission to Practise


Application Process Requirements:

  • A fully completed application form (below).
  • A copy of the award certificate for your qualification.
  • Full academic transcripts for your qualification.
  • Evidence of supervised practicum as part of your studies with ages of children placement was completed with; and/or
  • Evidence of professional practice. This could be a reference from an employer which must be relevant to early years with details of the ages and activities undertaken.
  • DCEDIY may ask for further information or documents before making a decision
  • Please clearly mark your documents with your Name and description of each attachment e.g. Application_First Name_ Surname, Certificate_First Name_Surname, Transcripts/Modules_First Name_Surname, References etc . We are dealing with a very large volume of applications and this will help in the process.


Additional Notes:

  • Applications take several weeks to process and are dealt with strictly in order of receipt; DCEDIY cannot prioritise one application over another.
  • Due to GDPR applications can only be accepted from the person who holds the qualification to be assessed and cannot be accepted from a third party (such as an employer or prospective employer).
  • Information about the status of an application cannot be provided to a third party.
  • Please sign and date the application form (unsigned forms cannot be accepted).
  • Documents must be in English or Irish, any documents not originally in English or Irish must be accompanied with a certified translation to English or Irish.
  • Applications without supporting documentation will not be accepted.
  • DCEDIY cannot access external drives such as Google drive. Only PDF/JPEG documents can be accepted.
  • DCEDIY will issue a Letter of Eligibility to Practice in respect of successful applications.

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Application Form: Qualification Recognition for work in the Early Learning and Care sector in Ireland




For more information on Early Years Recognised Qualifications see here.