Qualifications in Ireland and Northern Ireland – comparisons

There are many different types of awards and qualifications available in Ireland and Northern Ireland.  When travelling between the two jurisdictions whether to live, work or study, it is useful to know how your qualifications translate in the other jurisdiction.

The Irish awarding bodies and qualifications authorities and Northern Ireland awarding and qualifications regulatory bodies undertook an exercise to align/cross reference the qualifications frameworks in the UK and Ireland.

North

  • UK NARIC is the UK’s National Academic Recognition Information Centre and provides services for individuals and organisations to compare international qualifications against UK qualification framework levels. It is a Government service, managed by ECCTIS Ltd.
  • The Northern Ireland Department for Employment and Learning (DELNI) provides advice to non-national clients who wish to have their qualifications checked.

South

  • Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) was established in November 2012 under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 as a new integrated agency under the ageis of the Department of Education and Skills (replacing the Further Education and Training Awards Council, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and incorporating the functions of the Irish Universities Quality Board).  QQI is responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training (including English language provision) and validates programmes and makes awards for certain providers in these sectors. QQI is also responsible for the maintenance, development and review of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
  • Qualifications Recognition, based at Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) provides advice on the academic recognition of foreign qualifications which can be used for the purpose of access to employment and / or further study.  Qualifications Recognition acts as the Irish centre in an international network known as ENIC-NARIC (European Network of Information Centres / National Academic Recognition Information Centres). This Network shares information on qualifications and education systems around the world.  Further information and contact details for each centre are available at www.enic-naric.net.    The fourth edition of the leaflet entitled ‘Qualifications can cross boundaries – a rough guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland‘ was published by QQI in 2017. The leaflet is a ready reckoner for employers, learners and other interested parties, designed to enable broad comparisons to be drawn between qualifications and their levels In Ireland and Northern Ireland. The leaflet is available to download at www.qualrec.ie/uk.html
  • In 2003, the National Framework of Qualifications was introduced. It provides a way to compare qualifications, and to ensure that they are quality assured and recognised at home and abroad.  The NFQ website contains useful information for Learners, Employers, Providers and Advisors.
  • The Europass initiative, launched in 2005 aims to help people make their skills and qualifications more clearly and easily understood in Europe, thus facilitating the mobility of both learners and workers.   The Irish National Europass Centre (NEC) is located at Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Further information is available at www.europass.ie.  In Northern Ireland please contact the UK National Europass Centre (NEC) – http://europass.org.uk

Professional qualifications

Under the EU Directives for the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications provisions are made whereby professionals qualified in one (home) Member State can seek professional recognition of their qualifications in another (host) Member State for the purpose of practising their profession in that host Member State.

These Directives apply only where the profession is regulated in the host Member State i.e where the practice of the profession is confined by law, regulation or administrative procedure to persons who hold specific qualifications, or registration/recognition from a specific competent authority or professional body.

FOR EXAMPLE:
There are a number of professions which are regulated in the South. Examples of such professions include teaching, medicine and physiotherapy. Access to regulated professions is regulated by law and in order to work in that profession in Ireland, you need the approval of the designated competent authority.

See also:

Page last checked: September 2017

This webpage is for general information purposes only and while we endeavour to keep it up-to-date, errors may occur.  It is very important that you check with the relevant body to ensure the information is current and is applicable to your situation.

If you would like to suggest amendments or highlight new information that could be useful to others please don’t hesitate to get in touch.