(1) Get Good Advice 

The best advice we can give you is to meet with an Adult Education Guidance Counsellor and chat about what you want to do BEFORE you start any course.   

** This is a free and confidential service** 

It is important to discuss your past work experience, your education, and your hopes and dreams for the future in terms of education and employment in order to find the right path for you. 

An Education Guidance Counsellor will provide impartial careers and education information, they can offer one-to-one guidance as well as group guidance if you prefer that. 

Click on the map image or click HERE to access the government guidance site where you can find an Education Guidance Counsellor near you. 

(2) Understand the Education Structure 

In Ireland there are 10 levels of education. 

The NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications) is a 10-level system that describes qualifications in the Irish education and training system.  The NFQ shows how General Education Awards, Further Education and Training, and Higher Education Awards are mapped against the 10 levels of the framework.  

 QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) is the independent state agency responsible for quality and accountability in education in Ireland. They develop and maintain the NFQ. 

Click image below for more information

Below are some examples:

  • Level 1-3 enable you to gain recognition for specific skills or reconnect to education.
  • Level 3 - Junior Certificate, normally taken by 15-year-olds in secondary school.
  • Level 5 - Leaving Certificate, normally taken by 18-year-olds at the end of school.
  • Level 5/6 - Post Leaving Certificate, takes one year. 
  • Level 7/8 - Undergraduate degree, typically lasts 3 or 4 years. 
  • Level 9 - Postgraduate (masters) degree, which can last 1 or 2 years. 
  • Level 10 - A Doctorate (PhD) degree can last 3 or 4 years. 
  • Levels 5 and 6 are generally called Further Education. 
  • Levels 7-10 are generally called Higher Education.

(3) How To Have Your Previous Degree Recognised In Ireland 

NARIC (National Academic Recognition Information Centre) Ireland provides advice on the academic recognition of a foreign qualification by comparing it, where possible, to a major award type and level on the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) (see (2) above). A comparability statement for each qualification listed is available for download – you can search HERE. 
If your qualification is NOT listed in the database, you can apply for advice on the general academic recognition of your qualification HERE 

You can access their guide in English HERE. 

You can access the guide in other languages HERE – click the drop-down menu to see other languages. 

Generally, NARIC can only offer comparability statements for fully completed degrees. 

If you have a degree from another country, it is important to know that you cannot receive state funding to complete a 2nd degree in Ireland.  Nobody can receive funding for two undergraduate degrees or two postgraduate degrees, not even an Irish citizen. 

Please don't hesitate to contact NARIC if you have any questions about your past education. You can contact them HERE or email them at [email protected]. 

(4) Summary of what you are eligible for and when 

How long are you in Ireland?

What education is available to you?

Where to find information.

Click on the links below.

Less than 6 months

Level 1-3 on the NFQ

See ‘Understand the Education Structure’ (2) above

Between 6 months and 3 years

You will need a work permit to access more education.

Level 5-6 PLC courses (FET)


Sanctuary Scholarships

Apply for Work Permit  

Click here

Click here

Click here

More than 3 years

State funding

(1)   International Protection Student Scheme

(2)   SUSI (when you receive your refugee status, stamp 4 visa)


Click here


Click here