Special Needs Assistant

Special Needs Assistant

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QQI Level 5      Part time, one day a week



To provide the learner with an introduction to the theory and practice of working as a Special Needs Assistant in the Primary, Secondary or Pre-school system with a child with special needs.

Course content:

  • Special Needs Assisting (5N1786)
  • Understanding Special Needs (5N1709)

 Course duration:

Part time (1 morning per week 9.10am – 1.30pm)

Entry Requirements:

Leaving Certificate/Leaving Certificate Applied or QQI/ FETAC Level 4. Mature students with relevant life or work experience. All candidates will be interviewed individually. The Department of Education & Skills in accordance with Circular 0021/2011 requires a minimum of 3 grade Ds in the Junior Certificate or equivalent in order to work as a Special Needs Assistant in a school.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to take an assessment in English to establish the most suitable level of study for them.

Work Experience:

Work Experience is an essential part of this course. Garda Vetting is required and will be organised through the college.


QQI Level 5 Component Certificate.


Students can build up modules over a number of years to achieve full certification at Level 5. Successful completion of the course will enable learners to enter employment as a Special Needs Assistant (Provided they meet the Department of Education & Skills regulations). Learners can also progress onto QQI courses in related fields.

Students who have successfully completed the course have gained employment as SNAs in Primary and Secondary schools.

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