Ask Brian: Will my US teaching qualification be recognised in Ireland?

The Teaching Council determines if qualifications meet criteria under Irish legislation

Question: I am a special education teacher in the US, married to an Irishwoman from Co Monaghan. We've have been talking about moving home and raising our girls in Ireland. Would my BSc (Bachelor of Science) in early childhood development/special education transfer into the Irish or Northern Irish education system in any way?

Answer: In Ireland, the Teaching Council is the professional standards body for the teaching profession, which promotes and regulates professional standards in teaching.

The council welcomes applications from teachers who have qualified outside Europe and are deemed fully qualified in their home country.

Applicants who hold primary teaching qualifications which were awarded outside Europe and who are deemed fully qualified in their home country, must apply to have their qualifications assessed by the council to ensure they meet the qualifications criteria set out in Irish legislation.


These qualifications must be of a comparable standard to those of primary teacher education qualifications already recognised here. Application forms for the assessment of your qualifications can be downloaded from the Teaching Council’s website (

The General Teaching Council of Northern Ireland is the statutory, independent body for the teaching profession in the North. Application forms and guidance for applicants who have qualified outside Europe can be downloaded from the registration forms page of the its website (

Degree status

In the Republic, the Teaching Council will need to assess the status of your degree to determine if it is of a comparable standard to those of primary teacher qualifications in Ireland. To qualify to work in the area of special education needs in Ireland, one must meet initial teacher education requirements for registration, in addition to holding a qualification in special education needs.

Teachers hold a qualification in primary teacher education (junior infants to sixth class, normally in the age range of four to 12 years) obtained after satisfactory completion of a course in the theory and practice of education which usually includes the following three major areas: studies in the foundation disciplines of education, professional studies and school placement.

Recognised qualification

If you have completed a teacher education qualification outside of Ireland, the qualification must be recognised in the jurisdiction in which it was awarded.

Such teachers are required to provide a qualified teacher status certificate or letter of professional standing or a full state licence issued by the competent authority in which you qualified. In addition, you must hold a special education needs qualification.

The Teaching Council – which has been very helpful in formulating a response to your question – cannot be more specific in relation to your existing qualification.

However, it recommends that you apply to have your qualifications assessed by it at its website. You will need to look at its requirements and application form (PRQA-01). Having reviewed these, you will possibly know yourself if the content of your degree is comparable with Irish registration requirements.