Minimum Qualifications to Work as an Early Years Professional

  • Staff in new services 

From September 2015 all preschool services opening a new service will need to ensure that all staff working with children will have a minimum of a National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Level 5 qualification major award in early years education. The Preschool Services Regulations 2006  are being changed in line with these new minimum standards. If the service plans to join the ECCE programme, all ECCE preschool leaders will need to have a minimum of a NFQ Level 6 relevant qualification.

  • Staff in Existing Services 

From the 31st of December 2016 (deadline extended in January 2016) all existing preschool services will be expected to meet the minimum qualifications above. In the meantime, all services participating in the ECCE have to ensure that the ECCE preschool leader/s have a minimum of an NFQ level 5 relevant qualification.

DCYA Recognised Early Years Qualifications

A list of Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) Recognised Early Years Qualifications that meet the minimum requirements has been published.

This list also sets out the qualifications that will be recognised for the purposes of the DCYA Childcare Programmes, in particular, that of the qualification requirement for the room leader in the ECCE programme and for a service to receive the ECCE Higher Capitation rate.


Qualification not on list?

Where a qualification is not published on the list of Department of Children and Youth Affairs Early Years Recognised Qualifications but you consider it to be an appropriate major award at Level 5 on the NFQ or equivalent or higher, you can apply to have it assessed. If it is approved for recognition the details of the qualification will be added to the list of DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications.