Course Overview

This course is offered at pre-undergraduate level in collaboration with Education Centres Nationally for those currently working as Special Needs Assistants in primary, post-primary and specialist settings and those who are interested in a position as a Special Needs Assistant but not currently working in the area.  The programme is accredited by NUI, Galway and is a recognised Department of Education and Skills (DES) qualification.

The course aims to:

  • develop skills, knowledge, attitudes and understanding of the role of the SNA to respond adequately to the SEN of pupils;
  • promote good practice amongst SNAs working with pupils experiencing SEN in mainstream primary and post-primary schools, special schools and classes;
  • provide a specialist qualification for SNAs and provide a basis for further study and career development.

This Certifciate is accredited by NUI Galway and recognised by the Department of Education and Skills.

Applications and Selections

Certificate in SEN for Special Needs Assistants Application Form‌ available to download from 19th February 2020
First preference is given to those working in SNA positions. 

Who Teaches this Course

Requirements and Assessment

Key Facts

Entry Requirements

Applicants should have an interest in special education and may be working in schools as Special Needs Assistants or wish to gain employment in this area.

The course is also of benefit to those who are interested in working in/already working in the early childhood sector, other educational settings or working as a personal assistant/carer. 

Additional Requirements


One Year, September-May, over 14 Saturday's (10.00am-4.00pm)

Next start date

Autumn 2020

A Level Grades ()

Average intake

20 per Education Centre

Closing Date

Closing date for receipt of applications is Friday, 20th March 2020.

NFQ level

Level 7

Mode of study

ECTS weighting



Certificate in Special Educational Needs for Special Needs Assistants


Course code

Course Outline

The following modules are completed during the course:

  • The Role of the SNA
  • Students with Special Educational Needs
  • Social and Curricular Inclusion for students with SEN - A Whole School Approach

Assessment is continuous, with each of the 3 modules being assessed independently through an assignment or equivalent.

Further Education

On successful completion of the Certificate in Special Educational Needs for Special Needs Assistants, other areas of study are available to graduates of the programme. The Centre for Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity is currently developing a Bachelor of Arts in Special Educational Needs, Inclusion and Diversity (NFQ, Level 8). This degree aims to provide a unique and dynamic qualification in inclusion and diversity for personnel involved in diverse fields such as; education, health, sport and justice. Moreover, the challenge of creating a truly inclusive working environment necessitates individuals being upskilled and actively cognisant of their roles and responsibilities in their working contexts.  Inclusion is a dynamic area demanding highly skilled, flexible, adaptable personnel able to respond proactively to evolving needs in society

Why Choose This Course?

Career Opportunities

The course is of benefit to those currently working as or those interested in working as as a Special Needs Assistant. It is also of benefit to those who are interested in working in/already working in the early childhood sector, other educational settings, or working as a personal assistant/carer.

Who’s Suited to This Course

Learning Outcomes


Work Placement

Study Abroad

Related Student Organisations

Course Fees

Fees: EU

€800.00 2020/2021

Fees: Tuition

Fees: Student levy

Fees: Non EU

Application fee of €25.00 applies (non-refundable)

Fees can be paid securely through our Online Payment Facility


Find out More

Ms Maxine Gilmartin
Special Educational Needs Officer
Education Department
T: +353(0)71 9195552