As the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland, the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) gives people the opportunity to gain recognition for learning in education or training centres, in the work place and in the community.

The Open College – Ireland’s Leading Provider of distance learning courses has agreed its quality assurance policies and procedures with FETAC and is a registered provider to offer validated programmes leading to FETAC awards within the National Framework of Qualifications in Ireland.

Programmes offered by The Open College and accredited by FETAC meet the full rigours of the FETAC Quality Assurance Requirements.

FETAC’s functions include:

  • making and promoting awards
  • validating programmes
  • monitoring and ensuring the quality of programmes
  • determining standards

Programmes leading to FETAC awards are offered nationwide by a wide range of providers in diverse settings, including BIM, Failte Ireland (CERT), FAS and Teagasc centres, VEC’s, adult and community education and training centres, Institutes of Technology and in the workplace.

FETAC (Further Education and Training Awards Council – www.fetac.ie) is the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland.

FETAC awards fit into the overall National Framework of Qualifications for Ireland. There are 10 levels on the national framework – level 1 being the lowest and level 10 being the highest.

Award Equivalents:

National Framework of Qualifications FETAC Award Other Awards
Level 1 Level 1 Certificate
Level 2 Level 2 Certificate Primary Certificate
Level 3 Level 3 Certificate Junior Certificate, Intermediate Certificate, Group Certificate, National Foundation Certificate (NCVA)
Level 4 Level 4 Certificate Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied, National Vocational Certificate 1 (NCVA)
Level 5 Level 5 Certificate Leaving certificate, Post-leaving Certificate (PLC), National Vocational Certificate Level 2 (NCVA)
Level 6 Level 6 Advanced Certificate Higher certificate (HETAC/NCEA), National Vocational Certificate Level 3 (NCVA)
Level 7 – 10 None Higher Education awards only

FETAC’s Mission

FETAC’s mission is to make quality assured awards in accordance with national standards within the national framework, creating opportunities for all learners in further education and training to have their achievements recognised and providing access to systematic progression pathways.

FETAC offers programmes at levels 1-6 and third level colleges, universities and HETAC (Higher Education & Training Awards Council www.hetac.ie) normally offer programmes at levels 7 to 10. The Open College has been registered to deliver courses leading to FETAC awards at Levels 1 to 6.

Within the various levels FETAC offers major awards and minor awards. FETAC major awards are made up of a number of specified minor awards commonly known as modules or component certificates. Each module can be taken separately, or as part of an overall programme, incorporating all the required modules for a major award.

Students receive a component certificate for each module they successfully complete. When a student has successfully completed all of the required component certificates for a major award they automatically become eligible for the overall FETAC Certificate. The following is an example of how the component certificates fit together.

FETAC Level 6 major award certificate will be awarded to a candidate who reaches the required standard in at least 8 modules, totaling a credit value of 8, and made up as follows:

Compulsory Modules (2 credits)

  • Level 6 component certificate (1 credit value)
  • Level 6 component certificate (1 credit value)


Optional Modules (6 credits)

  • Choose from 8 Level 5 component certificates (0.5 credits value for each component certificate)
  • Choose from 22 Level 6 component certificates (1 credit value for each component certificate)

You need to be careful and know what award you are getting from a programme. Is it a component certificate or is it a major award?

However you can be sure that if you enrol on a programme which has FETAC accreditation the organisation delivering the programme has been through a rigorous quality assurance check and that your progress and grades will be internally and externally verified.

In addition you can be sure that the programme is monitored independently by FETAC to ensure they achieve the highest standard.

It is important to plan carefully what modules and what award you want to complete in order to maximise your investment and your time in getting your desired qualification. Visit www.fetac.ie for more guidance on this or contact our administration team at The Open College for further information.


Different approaches to and modes of learning are valued, and in all of its activities FETAC will keep this central to its policy development and practice.

FETAC values partnership with its stakeholders as essential to achieving its goals. This means partners will have well-structured opportunities to influence the policies that underpin FETAC’s services.

The value of enabling people also underpins FETAC’s work. FETAC will respect and encourage the potential and abilities of its staff. This value will also underpin FETAC’s interaction with its key stakeholders.

FETAC believes that quality should underpin all aspects of the service the organisation provides. To achieve its vision, FETAC values openness, engaging both internally and externally with challenges and the changing environment in which it operates.

FETAC Learner Charter:

Click Here to view FETAC’s Learner Charter.