Special Needs Assistant – QQI Level 5 & 6



This course consists of three component certificates:

QQI Level 5 Component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (5N1786)
QQI Level 5 Component Certificate in Children with Additional Needs (5N2396)
QQI Level 6 Component Certificate in Special Needs Assisting (6N1957)

Progressive College’s QQI Level 5 & Level 6 Minor Award Special Needs Assisting Course is a qualification that will allow you to work as a special needs assistant in different settings. This combined SNA course consists of three modules: Special Needs Assisting (Level 5 5N1786), Children with Additional Needs (Level 5 5N2396), and Special Needs Assisting (Level 6 6N1957). The SNA combined QQI Level 5 & 6 course provides the learner with an in-depth understanding of children with additional needs, the role of a special needs assistant, and Irish Legislation.

The purpose of this course is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to work effectively, under direction, with young children with additional needs. Moreover, this combined SNA course equips the learner in the theory and practice underpinning the education and care of those who present with special educational needs.

Completing this SNA course will ensure you gain valuable insight from all three modules which makes you stand out when seeking employment. Upon completing this course, you will hold a QQI Level 5 & Level 6 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting enabling you to work as a special needs assistant.

Budget 2021 has allocated €2 billion to special needs education. This has resulted in the creation of 990 additional SNA posts, bringing the whole time equivalent (WTE) number of SNA posts to 18,000 for the 2021/22 school term. Read more about the news here.


Special Needs Assistant Course Content:

During this course, you will learn about development and learning in children with special needs and about the role of an SNA. You will learn about child development and behaviour theories. Learners will also explore different activities that promote physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development in children with a variety of disabilities. You will learn about EPSEN Act and Irish Legislation and how to implement Individual Educational Plans (IEP’s). This course will explore the role of the Multi-Disciplinary Teams to ensue integration, inclusion, and equal opportunities. This course also includes an overview of the primary and secondary school curriculum.

Modules of this course include:

  • Record Keeping
  • Disability Awareness
  • Equal Opportunities
  • Integration and Inclusion
  • Irish Legislation – EPSEN Act
  • Individual Education Plans (IEP’s)
  • Educational Provisions
  • Drama, Music
  • General Learning Difficulties

All our tutors are highly qualified in their field and have a wealth of experience in the field of special needs education. Our tutors are extremely supportive to all learners who are new in their journey in the area of special needs assisting.


Entry Requirements:

The minimum age is 17 Years. All learners must have a good standard of English.

Currently, the Department of Education and Science stipulates that all those gaining full-time employment in schools must have at least 3 passes at Junior Certificate or equivalent.

Applicants should also indicate how they plan to obtain their work experience during the course if they are not already working in the area.

As per QQI requirements, if you wish to use previously achieved modules to complete your Major Award, then they must have been achieved within the last five years.  You must provide the College with copies of these certificates in order to go forward for certification once you have completed your programme of training with us.



Continuous Assessment

You will be required to complete 60 hours of work experience. This will give you hands-on practical experience and enhance your overall learning experience. You will be required to secure your own work placement.


Garda Vetting

Garda Vetting is a legal requirement under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012 to 2016 for the vetting of persons carrying out work with children or vulnerable persons.

Students must complete the Garda Vetting process before commencing work placement.

Students who have spent more than 6 months living outside of Ireland will need to provide a copy of their Police Clearance Certification for all international addresses that they have lived at, before starting placement.

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