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Do I Need a Level 5 qualification in order to do a Level 6?

One question that we get a lot at Aspire Training is in relation to entry requirements. Some people come from different disciplines with degrees as high as QQI level 8 and level 9, while others have level 3 and 4 awards such as  Junior or Leaving Certificates. 

Unfortunately the answer is not as straightforward as a simple yes or no. The answer depends on a variety of things such as which training provider you are with, what your qualifications are in and/or what previous relevant experience you have obtained. 

The most common area this question is usually poised is in special needs assisting. Although it is not completely mandatory, it is highly advisable by both QQI and the majority of training providers that a learner first completes their level 5 award in Special Needs Assisting, before enrolling in the level 6 award.We strongly feel that this is the most ethical training path for Special Needs Assistants. And having liaised with school principals around the same, it seems to be the general consensus. We are, after all, training people to work with one of the most vulnerable groups in society, therefore, the proper training path is of the utmost importance

 Despite this, a small number of providers permit learners to go straight into the level 6, having previously earned higher, unrelated awards on the National Framework of Qualifications. 

Think of it this way, you’re not going to enrol into Advanced French Lessons just because you have a Master’s Degree in Music, right? 

confused about entry requirements to SNA childcare education course online

Why do most providers prohibit this?

Most training providers advise starting at level 5 irrespective of their background due to advice directly from QQI. In order to successfully complete a level 6 certificate, module or course, learners must use the skills and knowledge gained in the level 5. In Special Needs Assisting training, the level 5 consists of vital information. This information includes; classroom strategies, individual education plans (IEPs), guidelines set out by the EPSEN Act (2004) and other duties involved in the role of an SNA. Therefore, during a level 6 SNA module, learners are expected to fully understand these aforementioned topics. You will be expected to look at IEPs and case studies and develop classroom strategies to support same. It is for these reasons that it is highly advisable to undertake a level 5 first, to give you the best chance of succeeding in the level 6.  

What if I have experience of these areas without a Level 5 certificate? 

If a learner has some relevant work, or life experience in the areas and topics covered in a level 5, it is possible that they may be eligible to start straight into a level 6 programme. However, much like the question, “Do I Need a Level 5 in order to do a Level 6?”, this situation is also quite ambiguous. Despite the fact that a learner may have some relevant experience, their knowledge base still may not be quite at the level expected in order to complete a level 6. However, this experience will certainly assist them greatly and assist them in completing their level 5 research. Nonetheless, if you truly believe that you do not need to complete the level 5 and possess the experience, knowledge and ability to successfully complete the level 6, then feel free to contact the office and discuss the matter with an expert.

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