Awarding Bodies
Awarding bodies are organisations that are empowered to ‘make awards’, or ‘award qualifications’. This function should not be confused with similar functions such as award recognition or licence to practice, which reside with certain professional organisations. Most major awards are made by awarding bodies with statutory powers, but there are also many professional organisations that make their own awards. While most programmes and courses in Ireland lead to Irish qualifications, it is also the case that many programmes lead to non-Irish awards, for example awards from international bodies, or national awards from other jurisdictions (mainly UK).

Certain institutions are both providers of programmes and awarding bodies in their own right: these are the universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology.

In Ireland, following the changes in the qualifications system arising out of recent legislation, the range of statutory awarding bodies has been significantly reduced as the new awards Councils (FETAC and HETAC) have taken over the awarding functions previously fulfilled by several other bodies – National Council for Educational Awards (NCEA), National Council for Vocational Awards (NCVA), FÁS, Teagasc, the National Tourism Certification Board (CERT) and Bord Iascaigh Mhara.. The new arrangement simplifies and clarifies the situation.


Irish Awarding Bodies

The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)

As the national awarding body for all further education and training in Ireland, FETAC makes awards for learning in programmes in training centres, in further education colleges, in the community and in the workplace. In 2006, FETAC introduced a new set of awards at levels 1-6 in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC)

HETAC is the qualifications awarding body for higher education and training in Ireland outside the university sector, making awards for learning in a wide range of institutions, including the Institutes of Technology. Most of the Institutes now have had power to make awards at certain levels in the NFQ delegated from HETAC.

The State Examinations Commission (SEC)
SEC makes awards for learning in school programmes – Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.


The Irish universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology make awards for programmes provided under their own aegis, and for some programmes provided in other institutions. The universities are: University of Limerick, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, University College Cork, National University of Ireland Galway, National University of Ireland Maynooth.


The National University of Ireland makes awards for programmes provided in its constituent colleges.


Professional Bodies with statutory power to make awards in Ireland
The following professional bodies have power to make awards arising from either Irish legislation or European Directive:
An Bord Altranais
Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
Bord na Radharcmhastóirí / The Opticians Board
Law Society of Ireland
Council of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns
Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
National Social Work Qualifications Board
Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland
Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
Director of Telecommunications Regulation
Irish Aviation Authority
Royal College of Surgeons Ireland



Awarding Bodies from other jurisdictions
Several awarding bodies, that have authority in other jurisdictions to make awards in those jurisdictions, also make awards for learning on programmes in Ireland. In addition to a number of UK Universities, these include:
City and Guilds (UK)
Joint Examining Board (UK)
OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations, UK)
Edexcel (UK)

Education Development International

Comparison with UK Awards


Other awarding bodies
Many courses listed in QualifaX lead to awards made by other awarding bodies or professional bodies whose awarding powers are either non-statutory or unknown, sometimes in addition to an award made by one of the statutory bodies listed above. There are also awards made by international or transnational awarding bodies, e.g. ECDL or CIDESCO. The validity and relevance of awards made by such bodies is a matter for the learner to consider.