Minimum Qualifications to work in an Early Years Service

As per Child Care ACT 1991 (Early Years SERVICES) REGULATIONS 2016

A registered provider shall ensure that, without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (2) and subject to paragraphs (5) and (6), each employee working directly with children attending the service holds at least a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the National Qualifications Framework or a qualification deemed by the Minister to be equivalent.

The Early Years DCYA Recognised Qualifications list can be viewed here.

This list shows all qualifications which have been approved by DCYA for work in the Early Years sector in Ireland to date. It also sets out the appropriate level of DCYA approval (meets regulatory requirements; eligible for Room Leader – Standard; eligible for Room Leader – Higher Capitation). If you have a qualification that is on the published list, you do not need to apply to DCYA for qualifications recognition.

Where a qualification is not published on the list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications but the holder considers it to be an appropriate Major Award at or above Level 5 on the NFQ or equivalent, they can apply to have their qualification assessed for approval. The application form for qualifications assessment can be downloaded here.

If it is approved the qualification may be added to this list. In some cases, a qualification will be approved, but for various reasons, may not be added to the published list. If this occurs, DCYA will issue a written statement of approval to the individual instead.

If you are applying for qualifications assessment, it’s very important to supply all the information and supporting documentation requested, as this will speed up the process. Please provide clear contact details. DCYA will only accept applications from the individual who holds the qualification to be assessed and we cannot provide information about the details of an application to a third party.

DCYA does not provide advice on qualification levels.  If you are not sure where your qualification is placed on the Irish NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), you should check with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland). We recommend that you first check the QQI website; most people will find the information they need there. For international qualifications, QQI operate the Irish NARIC which shows compatibility between Irish and international qualification levels: Naric Ireland