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


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. We can 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.

Please be advised that we have a large volume of queries and applications at present. Applications made in December may not receive decisions until January 2017.

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

Further information in relation to the Early Years (Pre-school) Regulations and DCYA Childcare Programmes Qualification Requirements and DCYA Qualifications Recognition Application Process can be download here

The DCYA is currently testing a trial  searchable database. (NB as this database is not yet finally approved, information may contain some errors. If you have any questions in regard to the information it has provided please contact

Survey of Early Years Practitioners:

For your Information, the Department of Education and Skills has published its 'Survey of Early Years Practitioners: Consultation for the Review of Education and Training Programmes in Early Years (May 2016)

follow us on twitter skills to work Supporting SMEs Be Winter Ready The Better Start Access and Inclusion Model (AIM) is a model of supports designed to ensure that children with disabilities can access the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme