All you need to know about the Further Education and Training Awards Council



Further Education Training and Awards Council (FETAC) is the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland. FETAC awards fit into the overall National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland. There are 10 levels on the national framework 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.

FETAC offers programmes at levels 1-6 and third level colleges and universities normally offer programmes at levels 7 to 10.

FETAC offers Major awards and minor awards. FETAC Major Awards are made up of a number of specified (8 or more) minor awards commonly known as modules or component certificates. Each module can be taken separately or as part of an overall programme incorporating all the required modules for a major award. Learners receive a Component Certificate for each module they successfully complete. When a Learner has successfully completed the required Component Certificates for a major award they automatically become eligible for the overall Certificate. The following is an example of how the component certificates fit together:

FETAC (NCVA) Level 5 Major award certificates will be awarded to a candidate who reaches the required standard in at least 8 modules made up as follows:

  • 5 Vocational modules (including mandatory and elective modules)
  • 2 General Studies modules (one of which must be communications)
  • 1 Work Experience module

The General Studies module is intended to:

  • Provide breadth and balance in the curriculum
  • Enhance personal development
  • Complement the area of vocational study

The General Studies module may be chosen from the list of FETAC (NCVA) Level 5 modules, (provided that it is not an elective vocational module for that certificate) or from the list of locally devised modules developed by the programme provider and approved by the FETAC Council.

You need to be careful and know what award you are getting from a programme. i.e. is it a component certificate or is it a major award? You can generally judge by the number of contact hours. A minor award or component certificate can be completed in 30 or more contact hours. Whereas a major award will take you 240 or more contact hours to complete. However you can be sure if you enrol on a programme which has FETAC accreditation that the organisation delivering the programme has been through a rigorous quality assurance check and that the programme is monitored independently by FETAC to ensure they achieve the highest standard. It is important to plan carefully what modules and what award you want to complete in order to maximise your investment and your time in getting your desired qualification.

The College provides the following major awards which are delivered as full-time or part time programmes:


Childcare FETAC Level 5 DCHSC

Mandatory Component Certificates

  • Child Development - D20005
  • Working in Childcare - D20153
  • Early Childhood Education - D20007
  • Communications - G20001
  • Work Experience - W20008
  • Caring for Children (0 - 6 years) - D20159

Elective Component Certificates

  • Occupational First Aid - D20174
  •  Arts and Craft for Childcare - D20121

Optional Extra Component Certificates

  • Special Needs Assistant Training - L22100 FETAC Level 5
  • Special Needs Assistant - L32344 FETAC Level 6

See Details in Childcare Brochure

The Childcare award FETAC Level 5 as run by the College will allow students the opportunity to apply for a place on a Childcare or Social Studies degree programme (Level 7 or 8 on the national awards framework and is subject to the Universities entry requirements). e.g. Degree in Early Education if five or six distinctions are achieved.

Healthcare Support FETAC Level 5 - DHSXX - Nursing elements


Mandatory Component Certificates

  • Communications
  • Care Skills
  • Care Support
  • Safety and Health at Work
  • Work Experience

Elective Component Certificates

  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Human Growth and Development

Healthcare Support FETAC Level 5 - DHSXX - Care Assistant elements

Mandatory Component Certificates

  • Communications
  • Care skills
  • Care Support
  • Work Experience
  • Safety and Health at Work

Elective Component Certificates

  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Care of the Older Person
  • Care of People with Mental Illness

The Healthcare Support Certificate FETAC Level 5 as run by the College will allow students the opportunity to apply for a place on Degree Nursing programmes if five distinctions are achieved in specific modules. There are at least 40+ places available in Irish third level colleges for learners coming from the FETAC stream who wish to complete a nursing degree programme


The College also runs a Diploma in the Montessori Method of Education. This programme is not a FETAC Major award but it includes six Montessori FETAC Level 6 Component Certificates. The Component Certificates and the College’s own Advanced Certificate are widely recognised in the world of Montessori. The College in association with a number of other colleges is in contact with FETAC concerning the development of a Montessori major award at level 6.

Individual Modules

In addition the College runs a number of other individual component certificate programmes programmes via part time, traditional distance learning and online learning. This means learners can acquire individual FETAC Level 5 and 6 component certificates to add to their existing qualifications to make up a major award or to enhance their skills and career prospects.

The individual Component Certificate programmes that the College provides are:

FETAC Level 5

  • After School Care
  • Special Needs Assistant Training
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Caring for Children 0 - 6 Years
  • Working In Childcare
  • Child Development
  • Home Based Childcare
  • Caring for People with Disabilities
  • Care Provision and Practice
  • Introduction to Nursing
  • Care of the Older Person
  • Care Skills
  • Care Support
  • Safety and Health at Work
  • Communications
  • Care of People with Mental Illness
  • Intellectual Disability Studies
  • Challenging Behaviour Management

FETAC Level 6

  • Therapeutic Play
  • Special Needs Assistant
  • Montessori Practical Life Exercises
  • Supervision in Childcare
  • Early Childhood Programme


Map your past qualifications

Click here for information on how to have your past qualifications mapped to the NFQ. This information is particulalry relevant to past learners who have previously completed a City & Guilds or NCFE programme with the College.