Awarding bodies are organisations that are empowered to ‘make awards’, or ‘award qualifications’. This function should not be confused with similar functions such as award recognition or licence to practice, which reside with certain professional organisations.
Most major awards are made by awarding bodies with statutory powers, but there are also many professional organisations that make their own awards. While most programmes and courses in Ireland lead to Irish qualifications on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), it is also the case that many programmes lead to non-Irish awards, for example awards from international bodies, or national awards from other jurisdictions (mainly UK).
Certain institutions are both providers of programmes and awarding bodies in their own right: these are the universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology.
Irish Awarding Bodies
Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI awards)
As the national awarding body for all further education and training in Ireland, QQI makes awards for learning in programmes in training centres, in further education colleges, in the community and in the workplace.
It is anticipated that increasing number of learners achieving QQI further education and training awards will use these qualifications to achieve entry to higher education programmes in the coming years, including directly through the CAO system.
Reference to the former awarding bodies “FETAC” and “HETAC” has been removed and now replaced by “QQI”.
The State Examinations Commission (SEC)
SEC makes awards for learning in school programmes – Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate.
Third Level Providers
The Irish universities and the Dublin Institute of Technology make awards for programmes provided under their own aegis, and for some programmes provided in other institutions. The universities are:
- University of Limerick
- Dublin City University
- Trinity College Dublin
- University College Dublin
- University College Cork
- National University of Ireland Galway
- National University of Ireland Maynooth
The National University of Ireland makes awards for programmes provided in its constituent colleges.
The following professional bodies have power to make awards arising from either Irish legislation or European Directive:
- An Bord Altranais
- Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland
- Bord na Radharcmhastóirí / The Opticians Board
- Law Society of Ireland
- Council of the Honourable Society of King’s Inns
- Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland
- National Social Work Qualifications Board
- Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland
- Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources
- Director of Telecommunications Regulation
- Irish Aviation Authority
- Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
Awarding Bodies from outside Ireland
Several awarding bodies, that have authority in other jurisdictions to make awards in those jurisdictions, also make awards for learning on programmes in Ireland. In addition to a number of UK Universities, these include:
- City and Guilds (UK)
- Joint Examining Board (UK)
- OCR (Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Examinations, UK)
- Edexcel (UK)
- Education Development International
- ITEC (UK and International Countries)
Other awarding bodies
Many courses lead to awards made by other awarding bodies or professional bodies whose awarding powers are either non-statutory or unknown, sometimes in addition to an award made by one of the statutory bodies listed above. There are also awards made by international or transnational awarding bodies, e.g. ECDL or CIDESCO. The validity and relevance of awards made by such bodies is a matter for the learner to consider.