Online SNA course | QQI Level 5 & 6 Special Needs Assistant Training

Summary of online SNA course:

At Aspire Training, we are excited to offer learners the opportunity to complete both the QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting (QQI Code: 5N1786) and the Level 6 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting (QQI Code: 6N1957) together and online via distance learning. Completing this online SNA course can enhance employment opportunities in a variety of places such as mainstream schools, special schools, and areas within general community care or advocacy.

Programme Profile and Timeframe:

This online SNA course is designed to enable learners to work effectively as Special Needs Assistants and gain an understanding of the skills required to ensure that the children they are working with become independent learners. They will learn to work under the direction of the teacher and work as part of the multidisciplinary team.

See the learning outcomes and assessment breakdown for QQI Level 5 here.

See the learning outcomes and assessment breakdown for QQI Level 6 here.

This programme is currently run online and is very similar to physical classes, where a group of learners will attend a tutor-led online class once a week. Classes are live, and not recorded, therefore you will not have access to classes outside of the designated class time. There are 6 classes per module, via one weekly 3-hour zoom session for 6 consecutive weeks accumulating to 18 hours in total. As this is a QQI accredited course, learners must attend 80% of these hours in order to receive their QQI certificate.

Dates for the next QQI Level 5 & 6 Special Needs Assisting Combined Programme have been announced. It will start on Tuesday 12th July and will run for 12 weeks in total (6 weeks for each level). The 12 sessions are scheduled to run from 7PM – 10PM online via zoom every Tuesday, for the 12 weeks.

For any learners who have previously completed a level 5 SNA module, we can take you on for our next Level 6 module which commences Tuesday 14th June.

Click here to see a more in-depth schedule for our current and upcoming SNA courses.

SNA Special Needs Assisting training level 5 and level 6 module

Who Should Complete This Course:

Those who wish to pursue a career as a Special Needs Assistant (SNA) in a childcare setting, primary school or secondary school.

Teachers, childcare workers, childcare supervisors and others who work with children with special needs.

People who wish to gain an accredited qualification and wish to study at their own pace, and in their own time*.

Entry Requirements:

Fluent English is required and it is recommended that participants will have some relevant work or life experience in working with children with special needs.

Access, Transfer and Progression


Aspire Training Ltd is committed to doing as much as we can to facilitate learners’ entry and successful participation in our programmes. Access to our programmes is based on the learner having achieved a certification on the National Framework of Qualifications which is no lower than one level below the level of the training programme for which they are registering. If they cannot readily evidence achievement of this level then they may consider Recognition of Prior Learning.


Many of our programmes involve minor awards which are components of major awards. Minor awards achieved with Aspire Training may be used towards major awards with other providers, and we will assist learners to identify such transfer opportunities on request.


Some minor awards at one level on the National Framework of Qualifications may be prerequisites for progression to programmes at a higher level on the framework. We will assist learners with the identification of such progression opportunities on request.

IT Requirements

As this is currently an online SNA course, there are some IT requirements necessary:

– Basic working knowledge of how to use a computer, with access to the internet is required for this course. This includes how to send videos via e-mail to your tutor.

– How to use Zoom

– How to use Microsoft Word/Google Documents. This includes how to type, save, edit and send documents and e-mails.

– Learners must have access to a computer with sound and a working microphone

Work Experience:

There are 20 hours of work experience required per module, so 40 hours in total for the combined Level 5 & 6 SNA Programme. We do understand, that work experience may be a little difficult to source at the moment, given COVID restrictions. If any learner is having difficulty securing somewhere to complete their work experience, please let us know and we will try to assist. You will be given more information on work experience by your tutor. Please do not start work experience before you start the course.

Course Materials:

All course materials are provided by Aspire Training and will be available through various online platforms.

We do highly recommend the book ‘Assisting Children with Special Needs – An Irish Perspective 2nd Edition’ which has recently been taken out of print. Its replacement is not due to be published until late 2022, so we recommend seeking this book second hand.


All tutors on this programme are qualified in their specific fields to a minimum level of two above that of which they are teaching. Our tutors also have practical experience in their individual fields along with experience and qualifications in adult training and development.


Learners completing both Level 5 and 6 Special Needs Assisting can avail of a discounted price of €615.00.

Payment is made, direct to our bank account or via card payment, in two instalments as follows:

Payment 1: €307.50, a 50% Booking deposit, this is payable when booking to secure your place.

Payment 2: €307.50, the remaining balance is due 3 weeks after your start date.

For learners who wish to complete individual modules, for example just Level 5 or just Level 6 (having previously completed their Level 5) the cost will be €350.00 per module.

In this case, payment 1 will be €175.00, and payment 2 will be €175.00.

Please note that deposits/fees paid are non-refundable unless the course is cancelled by us.


If you are in receipt of a payment from the Department of Social Protection, on a CE Scheme or participating in activation schemes you may be eligible for some funding. Please contact the office or your local employment office for further advice in relation to this.

More information on funding is available here

Next Steps Following Course Completion

This course leads to a level 5 and level 6 minor award on the National Frameworks of Qualifications. On successful completion of the course, participants will be qualified to work as SNAs in primary, post-primary, and special school settings.

Learners who completed either their SNA level 5, level 6 or both, can also use the credits towards completing their QQI Major Award in Level 5 5M2009 Early Childhood Care & Education and/or Level 6 6M2007 Early Childhood Care & Education.

Learners can also choose to further develop their skills and their understanding of Special Needs Assisting by completing a QQI Level 7 Certificate in Special Educational Needs for Special Needs Assistants. The programme is accredited by NUI, Galway and is a recognised Department of Education and Skills (DES) qualification.

Protection for Learners

Protection of Enrolled Learners (‘PEL’) is a legal requirement for providers to put in place arrangements to ensure that if a programme of education and training ceases prematurely, learners will be able to complete a similar programme with another provider, or have their moneys refunded.

As Aspire Training continues to make quality improvements we are currently working on changing our PEL arrangements from using alternate providers, to using insurance arrangements. This will ensure contingency and learners will receive the most up-to-date information in the Learner Handbook.

Reasonable Accommodation

To reinforce inclusion for all our learners we offer customised learning support for individual applicants who require accommodations. Aspire Training provide a range of supports for learners to ensure that our programmes and services are accessible to all.

Upon registration for a course or programme with Aspire Training, learners will be asked to state any additional requirements needed. This is to ensure that the appropriate supports for teaching, learning and assessment can be considered. It is important that you discuss your needs with us as early as possible. If you would like to discuss this prior to registration, please contact

Upcoming and Current SNA Timetable

qqi accredited course