The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is intended to put you, the learner, at the centre of the education and training system in Ireland. The NFQ is used to classify and compare qualifications. This means that you can use the NFQ to find out more about courses that you are interested in and to help you to make informed decisions when choosing a course. The NFQ also makes it easier for you to explain to others what qualifications you hold, or are studying for. This becomes very important when you are considering further learning or when you are applying for a job - at home or abroad.

To get the most from your choices about education and training, it is worth asking the following questions:

  • What qualification does a particular course lead to?
  • Who is the awarding body?
  • Does a course lead to a qualification that is included on the NFQ?
  • What level is the qualification on the NFQ?
  • What type of qualification is it, for example minor or major?
  • What are the options to progress further after completing it?

The NFQ, illustrated by the “fan diagram”, is a system of ten levels. Each level tells you about the range of knowledge, skill and competence required to achieve a particular qualification.  School qualifications (Junior and Leaving Certificates) awarded by the State Examinations Commission, further and higher education and training qualifications awarded by QQI,  Dublin Institute of Technology, other Institutes of Technology and the Universities are all included in the Framework.

Qualifications in the NFQ are quality assured. This means that you, the learner, can have confidence that your course, and the institution at which you are studying, are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Quality assurance is intended to ensure that all learners have a high quality learning experience regardless of where you are studying.

The European and international dimensions of the NFQ are also important.  Increasingly, learners and workers are travelling to other countries to access further learning or employment. All qualifications in the NFQ are recognised at home and abroad. The NFQ is used to compare Irish qualifications with foreign qualifications, and acts as a valuable tool for Irish citizens travelling abroad who wish to use their Irish qualifications while living and working overseas. In addition, learners or workers travelling to Ireland with qualifications gained abroad can use the NFQ to have these qualifications recognised. More information can be found on the QQI website here.

This video describes what the National Framework of Qualifications is and how it used to connect education systems across the globe. It also describes the European Qualifications Framework. English Version

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