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Special Needs Assistant

PLC Post Leaving Cert

Special Needs Assistant is a purposely designed course to prepare you for work as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) in a variety of educational contexts, and community care settings. Our course explores a wide range of knowledge and practical skills attributes that support a productive career in this highly rewarding field. You will be able to prepare for a career as a Special Needs Assistants in primary and secondary school classrooms or special schools, assisting children with everyday practical tasks.

Award Name Level 5 Certificate (Level 5 NFQ)
NFQ Classification Major
Awarding Body QQI
NFQ Level Level 5 NFQ
Award Name NFQ Classification Awarding Body NFQ Level
Level 5 Certificate (Level 5 NFQ) Major QQI Level 5 NFQ
Alternate Provider:
Carlow Town
Attendance Options:
Full time, Daytime
Apply to:
Course provider

Entry Requirements

The basic entry requirement to all Level 5 courses is as follows:

•Over 18 years of age and/or successful completion of the Leaving Certificate (or equivalent international qualification)

•Successful completion of a Level 4 major award
(or equivalent international qualification)

The basic entry requirement to all Level 6 courses is as follows:

•Successful completion of a related Level 5 major award
(or equivalent international qualification)

Some programmes may require specific subjects, or skills.

If you have completed a Level 5 course and wish to study at Level 6, please remember that you need to complete a new application.

Our teachers will assess if the course is the right option for you at an interview. All reasonable efforts are made to facilitate diversity and to support learners with additional needs. See the section Open Learning and Students with Additional Needs for more information.

Mature applicants who don’t meet the minimum entry requirements, but who have acquired skills or experience, are welcome to apply, and we make sure the course is suitable at an interview.

Students aged between 18 and 23 years who do not have the minimum entry requirement or RPL will be referred to career guidance.

Garda Vetting (Clearance)

Garda Vetting (police / criminal records clearance) is a requirement on courses where students have access to children or vulnerable adults. Students must be vetted for clearance by the Gardaí prior to attending work experience. It is your responsibility to obtain Garda Vetting Clearance / criminal records clearance.

Students who have lived outside the jurisdiction of Ireland /Northern Ireland, and for whom Garda vetting / clearance is unavailable, are required to provide verifiable evidence of criminal records clearance from the relevant police authorities.

We will provide you with information about making an application for clearance, but it is your responsibility to complete any necessary application and to obtain clearance. If you are offered a place on a course, you will be issued with information at registration.

Careers / Further progression


Special Needs Assistant (SNA) in:
Primary Schools
Secondary Schools
Special School
Other educational contexts
Home and Residential Care Settings

QQI FET Links to CAO Courses

Course Web Page

Further information

These means-tested maintenance grants are available to eligible students attending approved full-time courses of further education, in approved Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) centres.

Applications are made online to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) through

You will be invited to an interview – this is to make sure that you’ve made the right choice!

Applications are now open for September 2024

This course can provide you with access directly to employment, and it also serves as a platform for further study in applied social studies, social care and early childhood care and education.

What Makes This Course Special
•Professional training qualification
•High-level practical skills training
•Detailed underpinning knowledge
•Expert teaching team
•Includes essential additional qualifications
•Excellent progression routes

Course Content

•Care Provision & Practice
•Equality & Disability
•Human Growth & Development
•Intellectual Disability Studies
•Safety & Health at Work
•Special Needs Assisting
•Work Experience

5M2786 - Community Care

QQI Level 5 Certificate in Community Care 5M2786
Patient Lifting and Manual Handling

PLSS Code: 415752
Coordinator: Siobhan O’Connell

Course is subject to minimum enrolment. The programme content shown is indicative and is subject to change according to Awarding Body requirements as well as enrolment and resources.

Phone: 059 913 4230 Email: Email: Web:

Alternate Provider:
Carlow Town
Attendance Options:
Full time, Daytime
Apply to:
Course provider