Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Open College Government approved?
Yes. The Open College has agreed its quality assurance procedures with FETAC/QQI (answerable to the Department of Education in Ireland) and is registered with FETAC to offer programmes leading to FETAC awards in the National Framework of Qualifications. The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), is the national awarding body for further education and training in Ireland. Click here for more information.


I am unemployed, Can I get funding for a FETAC Course?
Yes. Jobseekers wishing to participate on The Open College’s extensive range of training courses, may be eligible to avail of Department of Social Welfare funding to facilitate their entry to a particular training programme.

The allocation of funding for participation on our courses, will be solely at the discretion of Social welfare job facilitator and will be dependent upon the availability of funding at the time of application and the applicant’s ability to satisfy the eligibility criteria.

Occasionally employers fund courses fully or partially. Local Charitable Organisations may assist with fee contributions, if approached.

In order to make an application for funding for your desired course from Department of Social Welfare the following steps need to be completed:

  • Please print off the course details of interest to you.
  • Arrange an appointment with a job facilitator in your local Department of Social Welfare office to check your eligibility for funding.
  • During the meeting with your Department of Social Welfare job facilitator please inform the Facilitator that completing the training course forms a key element of your back to work plan.
  • Provide the Facilitator with the course brochure and request funding to participate on the training course.
  • If you are successful in obtaining funding, your Facilitator will provide you with funding forms for us to fill out.
  • Please post these forms to The Open College where they will be completed, signed and returned to your local social welfare office
  • If you are successful in obtaining funding please contact us to secure your place on the next available course.


What programmes do you offer?
We offer over 90 FETAC/QQI Levels 5 & 6 award programmes and we are Ireland’s dedicated provider of FETAC awards. We have programmes available in Childcare, Healthcare, Teaching, Special Needs, Journalism, Bsuness, Management, Law Digital Media and many more. All the FETAC awards are recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications in Ireland, UK and Europe. These awards are also recognised Internationally. For a full list of our programmes please click here.


Can you help with Garda Vetting?
Yes, The Open College is now a registered organistaion with the Garda vetting Unit and is in a position to offer students a Garda vetting service. There may be a delay in processing applications with the Garda Vetting Unit due to high demand on the unit so we advise you to complete the forms on registration. Please ask for details.


Can you pay for Open College courses by instalments?
Yes. All our distance learning courses can be paid for over a three or six month period (depending on course length) – Interest Free!.

We may also at certain times during the year run extra Easy Payment offers on our Major Awards (Childcare, Healthcare & Business) in which payments can be spread over 10 months. Terms and Conditions may apply. Please click here for further details. 


Are my Fees secure on courses of over 3 months Duration?
Yes. We have Protection for Learners for courses of more than 3 months duration. This means that if, for whatever reason, we cease to provide the programme that is over 3 months in duration which you enrolled for, we have specific and legally binding arrangements in place to finish out that programme for you at no extra cost. All Major Award course fees for programmes over 3 months in duration are fully protected and secured by a Bank Guarantee.

If we cease trading those learners who have not finished their programme will be fully protected by this Bank Guarantee which will be automatically triggered and the fund that covers all Fees paid by learners will be transferred to FETAC by our Bank to enable FETAC provide further study options for these leaners or the refund of fees most recently paid so that they can complete their programme and all of this will be at no extra cost to the learners affected.


Do I receive Tutor Support?
Yes. Our main aim is to help you enjoy your learning experience and to successfully complete your course. You are appointed a tutor for the duration of your course. Tutors will:

  • Help you understand the course content
  • Assess your progress on the course through assignments
  • Provide you with written feedback on your assignments
  • Help you with course-related challenges.


Can you Progress to Third Level Colleges with The Open College FETAC Awards?
Yes. The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) links specific FETAC Level 5 and 6 Advanced Certificates to reserved places in a variety of higher education programmes. For 2014/15 FETAC CAO applicants there are 40 higher education institutions including universities, institutes of technology and private third level colleges offering places on a variety of courses.

In addition to the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) which links specific FETAC Level 5 Certificates and some Level 6 Advanced Certificates to a number of reserved places on higher education courses, the Institutes of Technology and some higher education institutions operate an admissions criteria and scoring system for non-specific FETAC Level 5 Certificate and Level 6 Advanced Certificate applicants. In addition some higher institutions may have further education requirements, so it is important that you confirm this and any other specific requirements with the CAO and the Admissions Office of the individual institutions.

For further details click below to Download a pdf version of :
Progression from FETAC Level 5 Certificates and Level 6 Advanced Certificates to Higher Education Courses 2013.


HELs Progression FETAC Update – July 2012:

A new scoring system has been agreed by FETAC/QQI for all level 5 and 6 awards, providing access through CAO to the first year of programmes leading to awards at levels 6, 7 and 8. This will be applied from 2013.


How does the FETAC Certification Process work?

When will I receive my Certificate? Once you have completed your course and all of the required assessment work your Tutor will notify the college of your completion. It is also vital that you complete the End of Course Certification Form as this is required for certification. Based on your course completion date you are then assigned to the next available certification period. Please contact us on 01 2061828 or for details on the next FETAC Certification dates. Your completed assessments are then Internally Verified by The Open College before being presented to a FETAC External Authenticator for moderation. Your Provisional results are issued to you following this process. FETAC will then issue all certificates to The Open College which will then be sent to you at the address supplied on the during the enrolment process.

What is Internal Verification? FETAC/QQI State that the Internal Verification Process involves “verifying that the provider’s assessment procedures have been applied across the range of assessment activities and confirming assessment results by checking learner evidence exists and marks and grades are recorded accurately” (

During The Open Colleges Internal Verification process your work is reviewed by the Internal Verifier to ensure that all of the required assessments are complete. The Internal Verifier opens each assessment to check that it has been sent in correctly and that all assignments are present. A sample of your work will be checked for plagiarism using plagiarism detector software and the results will be recorded. Your work may be viewed by the External Authenticator when they visit the college as part of the External Authentication process.

What is External Authentication? FETAC/QQI state that the purpose of the External Authentication process is to “ensure fairness, consistency and validity of assessment and of the outcome of assessment for learner results across each major, special purpose, or supplement award.  The authentication process will ensure that FETAC receive accurate and quality assured learner results.” (

The external authenticator is an independent individual who is selected from the FETAC quality assured panel of external authenticators.

The external authenticator visits the college and as part of the External Authentication process and reviews ALL of our students work and reviews the college’s assessment process. Once the the reviews are complete they then authenticate the results.

As part of FETAC quality assurance procedures final grade cannot be issued to students until the Internal Verification and External Authentication is complete.

If you have any further questions on our Certification process please do not hesitate in contacting us at 01 2897564 or


7 Day Refund Guarantee:
If you decide that you wish to cancel your enrolment, you may do so provided that you notify us of cancellation in writing within 7 days of enrolment stating the reasons for cancellation and that you return all Course Materials to us in their original form. The €85 registration fee is non refundable. For further details on Refunds and other Terms and Conditions please click here.


How Can I pay for a Course?
There are several ways to pay your course fees. You can pay online or by cheque, credit or debit card, cash, banker’s draft or bank transfer.

Online Payment
Online payments can be made securely by Credit or Debit Card with all payments processed through our secure Irish payment provider – Realex.

Cheque or Postal Order Payments Alternatively you may post a Cheque, Postal Order or Money order made payable to The Open College, The Learning Centre, Leopardstown Business Centre, Leopardstown, Dublin 18, Ireland.

Cash Payment Please note we accept cash payments only in Euros.

Paying by Bank Transfer The fastest way of making payments to The Open College is by direct bank transfer. For students transferring funds directly to the College account please contact us on 01 2061828 for our account details. Please Note: Always mention your student ID whenever you make a transfer.

If you would like help, email us at or call us at 01 206 1828 / 01 2061829.


How long do I have to complete my course?
For most of our distance learning courses you have between 3 months to 12 months to complete your course (please see individual course information for details). We encourage you to complete your studies within the set timeframe. However, if you do not have time to complete your course during the specified period simply contact us, as course extensions can be agreed – please see terms and conditions of enrolment.


Do I need to attend Classes / Lectures?
For some courses students will be required to attend workshops and exams. This dates and times will be available before the student signs up for the course. All information can be found on the individual course details.


Where can I get additional Reading / Books?
Once you enrol, we will post a Course pack to you. Course packs are very comprehensive and cover the entire course. While it is not necessary to purchase additional books, this would benefit your learning and knowledge on the subject matter.


Can I transfer to another Course?
Enrolled Students are allowed transfer to another course of their choice, provided that: such requests are made in writing (by email, fax or post) within 30 days of enrolment, that additional Course Fees (if any) have been paid in full, and that the original course material is returned in its original condition. There is an administration charge of €65 for transferring to another course.


Can I get exemptions because of my previous qualifications?
As some students already have degrees, diplomas or certificates in areas related to courses, it is possible to apply for exemption from modules of a course whose content has already been covered by existing qualifications – this is called Recognition of Prior Learning. It is not possible to obtain exemptions on the basis of work experience only. If you wish to apply for exemptions please contact the College.


Can I Appeal a result?
Yes. An appeals process is in place in relation to passing of: (1) tutor marked assignments, (2) final grades awarded, and (3) programmes. All Appeals must be submitted within 14 days of receipt of the result. Information on appeals may be found here


How Does Assessment work?
For the vast majority of our courses, assessment is based upon assignments/project work which is completed throughout the course. In some cases, there is a Final assessment, which also must be completed. Assessments must be made by students within specified deadlines. Failure to do so, may result in the award not being awarded to the student. All student work for FETAC programmes will be marked by an Internal Assessor, then checked by an Internal Verifier and an FETAC External Authenticator.


Can I extent the time to complete my course?
Extensions may be allowed depending on the time elapsed, and will be considered on an individual basis. Applications should be made by contacting the college. Students are allowed resubmit assignments within the course timeframe. All students’ work must be their own original work. The college has a strict policy in relation to plagiarism of submitted work, and if it is established, the penalties may include resubmission of work (where the maximum grade awarded is a pass) or exclusion from the programme. Please read your student guide for detailed information on this and how to avoid plagiarism.


Do I need access to a computer?
Access to a computer would be desirable however, access to a computer is not compulsory as we can arrange for everything to be processed by post under extreme circumstances.


Will I receive a certificate at the end of my course?

Upon successful completion of all courses, you will receive a The Open College certificate of completion in recognition of your achievement. What’s more, you will have the knowledge you need to make the most of your new skills.
In addition, many of our courses allow you to gain a qualification from the Irish Accreditation body FETAC (Further Education Training Accreditation Council). These qualifications are at Level  5 and 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications and your certificate will reflect this.


Who writes the courses?
All of the courses available on The Open College Distance Learning programme have been written by professionally qualified industry experts and are updated regularly to ensure that the information is accurate and relevant.


Email Address:

Request a Free 2014 Prospectus: »Click here to Request Prospectus

Send us your Query: »Click here for Enquiry Form