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Early Years (Pre-school) Regulations and DCYA Childcare Programmes Qualification Requirements


DYCA has published a list of qualifications that meet the regulatory requirements for working in the Early Years sector in Ireland. The list can be viewed here.

This list contains all qualifications which have been approved by DCYA.  It also sets out the appropriate level of DCYA approval (i.e. meets regulatory requirements; eligible for Room Leader - standard capitation; eligible for Room Leader - higher capitation).  If your qualification is on the list you do not need to apply to DCYA for qualifications recognition. 

If your qualification does not appear on the list you may apply to have it assessed for approval by taking the following steps:

Download the application form here.

In order to receive qualifications recognition we require several pieces of documentation:

  • A fully completed application form
  • A copy of the award certificate for your qualification
  • Full academic transcripts for your qualification
  • Evidence of professional practice. This could be a reference from an employer or any practice placement completed as part of the course. This practice must be relevant to early years.


Please note the following:

  • 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.
  • DCYA will issue a Letter of Eligibility to Practice in respect of successful applications


DCYA does not provide advice on qualification levels.

For information on where your qualification is placed on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications), please check with QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) on their website here.

For international qualifications, QQI operates the Irish NARIC.  This shows compatibility between Irish and international qualification levels and can be accessed here.

Further information on the Early Years (Pre-school) Regulations, qualification requirements and the qualifications recognition process can be found here.


Workforce Development Plan

Work is continuing since May 2019 on the Workforce Development Plan, the Terms of Reference can be found here.