Ask Brian: Can I teach in an Irish classroom even though I qualified abroad?
The Teaching Council assesses the qualifications of out-of-State teachers
The qualifications of teachers who qualified abroad are assessed by the Teaching Council to ensure they are of a comparable standard to Irish programmes. Photograph: iStock
I secured my teaching qualification abroad several years ago. I’ve since relocated to Ireland and want to teach, but have been told I need to be registered with the Teaching Council. How difficult will be it be to get my qualification recognised?
Fully-qualified teachers who have completed a recognised teacher education qualification are eligible to apply for registration with the Teaching Council. They must be able to provide a letter from the relevant teacher registration body or Ministry of Education.
The qualifications of teachers who qualified out-of-State are assessed by the Teaching Council to ensure they are of a comparable standard to those achieved by graduates of accredited programmes in Ireland. Where significant differences arise, conditions will be applied to the teacher’s registration.
This means that the teacher can seek employment as soon as they are registered and that they will have to do something, such as complete some modules of study, within a certain timeframe.
This timeframe is normally three years but may be extended upon application in certain circumstances.
To apply, an applicant must complete a form (available at www.teachingcouncil.ie) along with a number of required documents to assess the qualification.
They include a letter from the relevant teacher registration body confirming that you are a fully qualified teacher, a transcript of results and a description of the modules studied.
The Council accepts photocopies of these documents signed or certified by a relevant person such as a teacher registered with the Teaching Council - usually the most straightforward way - a Garda or a solicitor.
Once all documents have been received by the Teaching Council, the assessment process is carried out within a 12-week timeframe.
I’m told that incomplete applications are the most common cause of delay in processing, so it’s important to check all required information and documents are included with the form.
Another common issue is that applicants do not include module descriptors, such as documents or booklets that describe the content of a programme module in some detail. If you are unsure what to look for, just contact the Council in advance of submitting the application.
Once the qualification has been assessed and registration conditions identified, Council staff will check to ensure that all other requirements for registration have been met.
They include character reference, vetting (if you have lived outside of Ireland for a cumulative period of three years or more, you will need to secure police clearance from each country in which you lived), English language proficiency and - if applying to teach at primary level - Irish proficiency.