Childcare Level 5 FAQ

What is QQI level 5 equivalent to? 150 150 Chevron College

What is QQI level 5 equivalent to?

QQI Level 5 credentials are intended to give learners practical skills, basic knowledge, and vocational training in particular disciplines. They encompass a broad range of academic areas. They are frequently viewed as stepping stones to more education or entry-level jobs in a variety of sectors. Although the exact course and topic of study determine the equivalent credentials, QQI Level 5 certifications are generally equivalent to the following: Leaving Certificate: QQI Level 5 certifications can be used to gain admission to universities and technical institutes, as they are recognised as being equal to specific topics from the Leaving Certificate. Vocational Training: Qualifications at QQI Level 5 can also be used as a gateway to employment in particular industries or professions, as they are equivalent to some vocational training certificates and diplomas. For more information, please visit: National Framework of Qualifications | Quality and Qualifications Ireland (

The NFQ is aligned with the European Qualification Framework (EFQ) and the Qualifications Framework of the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA). This association allows you to make an easy comparison with qualifications across Europe.

Global Fan: The Global Fan includes the NFQ, EQF and QF, EHEA Frameworks which show how the levels on each relate to each other: click here for more information. If you obtained your qualification in the United Kingdom, it may be beneficial to refer to the Qualifications can Cross Boundaries. This is a guide to comparing qualifications in the UK and Ireland: the leaflet provides information that enables the comparability between qualifications across the UK and Ireland, and how those qualifications are organised. For more information, please visit:  Qualifications can Cross Boundaries (

Learn more about our QQI Level 5 Childcare course

How many modules are there in a QQI Level 5 Early Learning and care 150 150 Chevron College

How many modules are there in a QQI Level 5 Early Learning and care

There are 6 modules in total. There are 3 terms and 2 modules per term. The modules with a short description are as follows.

Module 1 – Introduction to ELC and Child Safeguarding: the purpose of this module is to provide learners with a in depth understanding of the ELC sector as it functions in Ireland. Some topics include policies and procedures, evolution of the ELC sector in Ireland, child protection laws, key frameworks and strategies and the roles and responsibilities of ELC stakeholders.

Module 2 – Holistic Care of Children in ELC: The goal of the module is to give students the information, abilities, and competence they need to support the safety, wellbeing, and health of every child in their care.  Students will think about how regulations, rules, and guidelines, among other things, promote holistic well-being of children in the ELC setting.

Module 3 – Professional Practice: This module’s objective is to provide students with the necessary information, abilities, and skills to collaborate with experienced professionals in authentic EARLY LEARNING AND CARE settings, under the guidance and supervision of a placement supervisor. Learners can observe, integrate knowledge and practice, grow and refine their skills, and engage in practice throughout professional practice.

Module 4 – Inclusive Education and Care of Children with Additional Needs in ELC: This module intends to provide an initial understanding of special education within the Irish education system, with a focus on the Early Years/Pre-school sector. It also gives them the opportunity to expand on their knowledge of inclusive practices, diversity and equality in Early Learning and Care.

Module 5 – Early Learning and Play: The objective of this module is to provide the learner with the necessary information, abilities and skills to promote inclusive, imaginative and fun inquiry-based learning. Students will be able to articulate the historical and contemporary settings of play and identify and reflect on the role of the adult in play.

Module 6 – Child Development: This module aims to give students an introduction of how children develop between the ages of 0 and 8. Students will study a variety of theories related to child development and get an understanding of fundamental ideas including developmental norms and the role that adults play in a kid’s growth. In the context of an ELC environment, the module will deepen the learners’ understanding of attachment and the value of helping kids create safe, healthy attachments. Students will gain knowledge of some of the main techniques for child observation as well as an introduction to child observation studies.

How many modules are there in a QQI Level 5 Early Learning and care


How much do creche workers earn? 150 150 Chevron College

How much do creche workers earn?

As of September 2022, pay rates for childcare workers increased.  Early Years Educators and SAC Practitioners hourly rate of pay varies by age, experience, and position. The rate of pay for Early Years Educators and SAC Practitioners is €13.00 per hour and €14.00 per hour for Early Years Lead Educators.

The following rate of salary is in relation to Early Years Educators and School Age Childcare (SAC) Practitioners.

The purpose of Early Years Educator is to provide support in full time day care. To be a member of the daycare team and to lead, watch over, encourage, and monitor kids in a secure and nurturing setting. He/she works in partnership with the early years team, families, and professions throughout the role.

How much do creche workers earn?


Age Hourly rate of pay
Under 18 €9.10
18 years old €10.40
19 years old €11.70
20 years old €13.00

Lead Educators and School Age Childcare Coordinators

The purpose of the lead educator’s role is to schedule and deliver educational programs supported with the current curriculum. Room Leaders supervise the operations of a specific room in a nursery or similar setting catering to children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), including baby, toddler, or preschool rooms. Their primary responsibilities include maintaining high standards of teaching and learning to stimulate children’s development, supporting, and supervising staff, sharing professional knowledge, and ensuring regulatory compliance. Room Leaders also prioritize building positive relationships with both staff and families to facilitate open communication and effective partnerships for smooth operation and high-quality care.

The rate of pay is €14.00 per hour.


Age Hourly rate of pay
Under 18 €9.80
18 years old €11.20
19 years old €12.60
20 years old €14.00

The rate of pay increases with further progression in Early Learning and Childcare, however further training to Childcare Level 7 is required.


Can you work in childcare with no qualifications? 150 150 Chevron College

Can you work in childcare with no qualifications?

In most circumstances no, some employers may consider non-accredited learning or informal or experiential learning method of assessment. This is outlined in the recognition of prior learning (RPL): Please click here to read more.  However, the Childcare Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016 state that all staff working directly with children at least be qualified with a QQI level 5 award in Early Childhood Care and Education. It is also important to note that without qualifications, your opportunities for advancement and career progression may be limited. As mentioned above in the recognition of prior learning (RPL), informal or experiential learning may be accepted.

Aside from professional opportunities and development, education in childcare offers numerous benefits not only for the individual but for society as a whole. These include personal fulfillment: working in childcare can be extremely rewarding, also continuous learning: individuals have the opportunity to stay up to date on best practices, networking with peers and professional development workshops. Additionally, creativity and innovation: childcare education involves developing and utilizing creative teaching strategies and activities. Individuals working in this role have the chance to show their creativity and modify their approaches to meet the needs of the individual child. Early years workers’ involvement with the next generation means they play a crucial role in shaping the future. They help the well-being of children, families and communities, building a strong groundwork for children’s future success in school and life.  Finally, working in childcare also offers a stable career and opportunities for progression: there are many career routes and opportunities for progression within the healthcare industry, enabling people to choose jobs that complement their skills, interests, and values.

Can you work in childcare with no qualifications?


Can you do level 6 childcare without Level 5? 150 150 Chevron College

Can you do level 6 childcare without Level 5?

Generally, you need to have successfully completed a QQI Level 5 Childcare course before progressing to a Level 6. Technically there are no other acceptable qualifications to gain entry to the ELC. However, learners can apply through recognition of prior learning (RPL) if they feel they have relevant work / life experience. This is judged on a case-by-case basis.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is a process of valuation which may permit learners to gain official recognition for prior knowledge, skills and competence that they already have. The learner may have to give evidence of their previous learning if it is certified or experiential learning. Evidence of prior learning may be enough, or a self-assessment exercise where the learner may be required to submit a portfolio or appropriate evidence of learning.

Prior learning may be acknowledged as accredited learning, non-accredited learning, informal or experiential learning. Accredited learning takes place in a formal learning setting and a qualification has been awarded. This may include a course or an element of a course you successfully completed, which is linked to the National Framework of qualifications. Non-accredited learning is learning that was deliberate but did not result in a qualification such as work experience or education courses. This may include education that was assessed but not included in the NFQ, e.g. professional certification programmes.  Finally, informal or experiential learning is learning through life and work experiences. This is learning that is unintentional and the learner may not have acknowledged that this contributed to his or her knowledge, skills and competence: Please click here to read more.

If you are interested in obtaining a level 6 childcare course and think you may meet the above criteria to bypass the level 5 childcare course, we would advise that you contact our admissions team at or alternatively contact an educational consultant at (01) 685 5300.  They will be happy to provide you with the information and guidance on the next steps to meet the entry requirements.

Can you do level 6 childcare without Level 5?


What is the difference between Level 5 and Level 6 childcare? 150 150 Chevron College

What is the difference between Level 5 and Level 6 childcare?

Completing a QQI Level 6 Childcare qualification may be necessary if you want to progress to a more senior position in your career. Some employers may prefer a Level 6, so it would give you an advantage when securing employment. Additionally, obtaining a QQI Childcare Level 6 indicates a level of expertise and knowledge in the field of childcare.

The modules in QQI Level 6 Childcare are Sociology and Social Policy in ELC, Effective Leadership within ELC, Advanced Professional Practice, Inclusion, Equality and Diversity in ELC, Advanced Child Development and Curriculum and Pedagogy.

The Level 6 Early Learning and Care programme includes of 12 compulsory modules, six at stage 1 (Level 5) and six at stage 2 (level 6), enabling the learner to develop the knowledge, skills and competencies required to work as an autonomous Early Years Educator and/or Lead Educator in an Early Learning and Care setting, and take responsibility for an area or room, leading and coordinating the provision of a quality Early Learning and Care environment. A level 6 blended learning (online with some face-to-face days).

More generally, with regards to QQI Level 6, the Outline National Framework of Qualifications state, “Learning outcomes at this level include a comprehensive range of skills which may be vocationally-specific and/or of a general supervisory nature, and require detailed theoretical understanding. The outcomes also provide for a particular focus on learning skills. The outcomes relate to working in a generally autonomous way to assume design and/or management and/or administrative responsibilities. Occupations at this level would include higher craft, junior technician and supervisor”.  Click here to read more.

What is the difference between Level 5 and Level 6 childcare?


How long does it take to complete a Level 5 childcare course? 150 150 Chevron College

How long does it take to complete a Level 5 childcare course?

How long does it take to complete a Level 5 childcare course?

It typically takes students 9-12 months to complete a Level 5 childcare course. However, learners have 16 months to complete any QQI level 5 or level 6 Major award if he/she needs it. This means learners completing multiple modules have two months per module, however, module(s) can be completed within quicker timeframes. Additionally, to successfully complete this programme, there is a requirement to spend 150 hours in two early learning and care settings, divided as follows.


    • At least 50 hours’ work experience with children between the ages of 0-2.8 years.
    • At least 50 hours’ work experience with children between the ages of 2.8 – 6 years.
    • The remainder 50 hours can be spent working with children across both age groups, however at least 30 hours is required in the second service.

Online learning has many benefits.


    1. Flexibility: Students can access course materials and attend sessions on their own time and at their own speed. This is especially useful for individuals who have demanding schedules or obligations, such as family or job duties.
    2. Accessibility: Online learning allows students to learn anytime, from anywhere in Ireland.
    3. Personalized learning experience: Online courses often incorporate interactive multimedia elements, learning technologies, and personalized feedback, allowing learners to tailor their learning experience to their individual needs and preferences.
    4. Enhanced communication and collaboration: Our online learning platform is Learn Upon. LearnUpon’s online discussion forum is designed to assist learners with their studies, facilitating discussion on course materials and assignment submissions.
    5. Cost-effectiveness: Online learning saves learners money on commuting, accommodation and other expenses in relation to attending classes in person. Additionally, the course fee is likely to be much lower compared to person classes.
How long does it take to complete a Level 5 childcare course?


What is a QQI Level 5 in Ireland? 150 150 Chevron College

What is a QQI Level 5 in Ireland?


QQI stands for Quality and Qualifications. QQI incorporates the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC); the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC); the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI).

The purpose of QQI is.


    1. Awarding and regulating qualifications: QQI is responsible for providing an extensive framework for all the qualifications in Ireland. QQI guarantees qualifications fulfil necessary standards and provides international established framework.
    2. Quality Assurance: In Ireland, all stages of education and training providers are developed and implemented with the assistance of QQI.
    3. Validation of education and training programs: QQI authenticates programs offered by education and training providers.
    4. Recognition of foreign qualifications: QQI offers advice and assessment services for individuals seeking to have international qualifications recognized.

QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) Level 5 indicates a certain level of knowledge and skill in a particular subject area. It’s part of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), which encompasses all qualifications in Ireland and aligns them based on their complexity and learning outcomes. These qualifications can provide learners with a foundation in a specific area of study or prepare them for entry-level positions in different industries. Examples of some QQI Level 5 qualifications include healthcare support, business studies, IT, childcare, special needs assistant.

The QQI Level 5 highlights vocational skills and requires a high understanding of theory. Determinations for the Outline National Framework of Qualifications state “Learning outcomes at this level include a broad range of skills that require some theoretical understanding. The outcomes may relate to engaging in a specific activity, with the capacity to use the instruments and techniques relating to an occupation. They are associated with work being undertaken independently, subject to general direction”: Click here to read more.  


What is a QQI Level 5 in Ireland?


Privacy Preferences

When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in the form of cookies. Here you can change your Privacy preferences. It is worth noting that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we are able to offer. Privacy Policy

Click to enable/disable Google Analytics tracking code.
Click to enable/disable Google Fonts.
Click to enable/disable Google Maps.
Click to enable/disable video embeds.
We use cookies to ensure that you have the best browsing experience, to help us improve our website and for targeted advertising. Click on Accept All Cookies to agree to the use of cookies on your device or Manage to review and update your preferences
Call Now Button Skip to content