Teacher qualifications

The regulation of teachers

The Teacher Education Section of the Department of Education oversees teacher education policy and practice for primary schools and post-primary schools.

The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for teaching and regulates the teaching profession in Ireland. The Teaching Council produces a code of professional conduct for teachers, which covers standards of teaching, knowledge, skill and competence. It also maintains a register of teachers – see ‘Registration of teachers’ below.

Teacher education and qualifications

Primary teachers

Primary school teachers must be qualified to teach the range of primary school subjects to children aged 4 to 12 years. You can find information on the qualifications you need to be a primary school teacher on the Teaching Council's website.

A list of recognised colleges providing approved programmes is available on the website of the Teaching Council.

Irish language requirements: Primary school teachers must be able to teach the Irish language and the range of primary school subjects through Irish.

Post-primary teachers

Post-primary teachers are normally required to teach at least 1 subject which they have studied to degree level. Post-primary teachers do not need to have a qualification in the Irish language unless they are employed by a Gaeltacht school or a school where Irish is the medium of instruction.

Qualification is usually achieved by gaining a primary degree from a recognised third-level institution. This degree must include at least 1 subject from the post-primary schools’ curriculum for the Leaving Certificate Programme. The Teaching Council is the professional standards body for teaching. The Council promotes and regulates the profession. The primary degree is followed by a postgraduate qualification in education such as the Professional Masters in Education (PME).

Recognition of qualifications

The Teaching Council is the statutory body that sets the standards of academic achievement and professional training required of teachers.

Student teachers

Student teachers who have successfully completed the first 2 years of an accredited undergraduate Initial Teacher Education programme can apply for registration with the Teaching Council.

Teachers who qualified outside Ireland

Recognition of qualifications

If you are a primary or post-primary school teacher who qualified outside Ireland and you wish to teach in a recognised school, you must apply for recognition of your qualifications prior to registration. The Teaching Council processes applications and regulates admissions to the teaching profession in Ireland.

Qualifications obtained outside the Ireland must be acceptable to the Council. Once your qualifications have been recognised, you may then apply for registration. The Teaching Council provides more information for teachers who qualified abroad.

Teachers who qualified in Ukraine

If you qualified as a teacher in Ukraine and have been granted EU Temporary Protection, you can apply to work as a teacher in Ireland under The Teaching Council’s tailored registration process for teachers from Ukraine.

Foreign language assistants scheme

This scheme allows for language assistants from France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy and Belgium/Wallonia-Brussels to be assigned to post-primary schools and colleges in Ireland. Their fluency can help students understand and speak a foreign language and give them a better understanding of the way of life and customs of other countries. In the same way Irish students of French, German, Italian and Spanish can apply to work as English language assistants in the countries listed above. You can find details of the English Language Assistant scheme on gov.ie.

Continuing professional development

There are a number of supports available to teachers for continuing professional development. The Department of Education provides support to school leaders and teachers in a number of areas such as curriculum reform, improving principals’ skills as leaders and managers, facilitating the management of schools and increasing the involvement of parents in the education of their children.

It also provides support to particular projects and initiatives including priority areas of education provision such as disadvantage and inclusion, education for students with special educational needs, positive behaviour management and language support for foreign national students.

Education centres

The nationwide network of education centres organise the local delivery of national programmes of teacher professional development on behalf of the Department of Education. The centres also organise a varied local programme of activities for teachers, school management and parents in response to demand.

Professional Development Service for Teachers

Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST) provides professional development and support to help teachers and schools to provide the best possible education for all pupils and students. Continuing Professional Development opportunities are provided for teachers nationwide and in collaboration with the Education Centre network.

Training for special educational needs

The Special Education Support Service co-ordinates, develops and delivers a range of professional development initiatives and support structures for school personnel working with students with special educational needs in a variety of educational settings. These include mainstream primary and post-primary schools, special schools and special classes attached to mainstream schools.

Registration of teachers

Teachers employed in State-funded teaching positions in recognised schools must be registered with the Teaching Council in order to be paid from public funds.

Garda vetting and a character reference is required to register. The Teaching Council provides details of registration for teachers.

Page edited: 27 November 2023