Awarding bodies in Ireland: an overview

By Anne Sexton - Last update


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When choosing a course it is important to know what award you’ll receive at the end. It is also important to know the awarding body responsible. There are a number of different awarding bodies in Ireland, but the biggest is QQI.

Established in 2012, QQI – Quality and Qualifications Ireland – is a state agency. They have replaced a number of older awarding bodies. These include Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC); the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC); the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB); and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).

QQI is responsible for maintaining the ten-level National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). They also set standards for the awards they make in the NFQ.

School qualifications are the responsibility of the State Examinations Commission. The SEC is responsible for the development and assessment, as well as the accreditation and certification of second-level examinations in Ireland. These are the Junior Certificate and the Leaving Certificate.

However, there are also a number of other awarding bodies in Ireland. For example, Irish universities confer awards as do some professional bodies, such as the Irish Aviation Authority. See our list of professional bodies for more information.

In addition, awards granted by a number of UK and European bodies are also accepted in Ireland. Here we look at some of the most important awarding bodies.

ACCA – Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

ACCA is the global body for professional accountants as well as a qualifications awarding body.

Accounting Technicians Ireland

Accounting Technicians Ireland is a professional body for accounting technicians. They also provide an internationally recognised business qualification.

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Chartered Accountants Ireland is a membership body which also has autonomous statutory awarding powers.

CIMA Chartered Institute of Management Accountants 

CIMA is the world’s largest and leading professional body of management accountants.

City & Guilds

City & Guilds is a vocational education organisation in the United Kingdom. They have been operating under Royal Charter since 1900.

CIBTAC

CIBTAC is the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology. Ofqual accredits CIBTAC qualifications.

CIDESCO

CIDESCO offers beauty and spa therapy qualifications. Furthermore, over 30 countries recognise their qualifications.

Cisco

Cisco Systems, Inc. is an American multinational technology corporation. They also offer IT certification, training, and testing programmes.

CompTIA

CompTIA is a non-profit trade association. In addition, they provide of professional certifications for the IT industry.

ECDL

The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) is a globally recognised computer literacy certification programme.

Excellence Ireland Quality Association (EIQA)

EIQA is responsible for Q Mark certification. Q Mark programmes are Quality Management System frameworks.

Honorable Society of King’s Inns

The Honorable Society of King’s Inns is the institution that controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland.

Institute of Public Administration (IPA)

The IPA is a recognised college of University College Dublin that offers postgraduate programmes in public management.

Joint Examining Board

Established in 1912, the Joint Examining Board offers various qualifications to support ICT teaching as well as skills development.

Law Society of Ireland

The Law Society of Ireland is the educational and representative, as well as regulatory body of the solicitors’ profession in the Republic of Ireland.  They run courses for people who wish to become solicitors. In addition, they offer Continuing Professional Development and post-qualification diploma and certificate courses.

Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII)

MII offers training and education programmes. These include the Postgraduate Diploma in Management and Marketing, as well as the MSc in Digital Marketing and Analytics.

Microsoft

Microsoft offers certifications on server and desktop, as well as application, database and developer platforms.

National Irish Safety Organisation

NISO’s mission is to make Irish workplaces among the safest and healthiest in Europe. They also run QQI accredited occupational health and safety training courses.

NCFE

NCFE is a UK national awarding organisation. They design, develop and certify diverse, nationally recognised qualifications and awards.

National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH)

NEBOSH offers a range of globally-recognised qualifications designed to meet the health, safety and environmental management needs of places of work.

Ofqual

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) is a UK non-ministerial government department that regulates qualifications, exams and tests in England.

Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI)

OCN NI is a UK Regulated Awarding Organisation and Educational Charity that designs, as well as awards vocational qualifications. These range from entry level up to and including Level 5, across all sector areas.

Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR)

OCR is a UK awarding body. They provide GCSEs and A Levels in over 40 subjects. In addition, they offer over 450 vocational qualifications.

Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

RCSI provides extensive education and training in the healthcare professions.

Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland

RIAI develops and supports architectural education. The Institute also accredits courses and qualifications in architecture and architectural technology.

Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT)

The Vocational Training Charitable Trust, is a UK government-approved awarding organisation. VTCT is also one of the UK’s largest suppliers of sport and active leisure courses.


Anne Sexton

A who's who of professional bodies recognised in Ireland
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