Courses Menu

Special Needs QQI Level 5 - Distance Learning

Book Your Place Now

Approx 3 months


QQI Level 5


Awarding Body

Start Date

Start Date
Start at any time

Special Needs QQI Level 5 - Distance Learning

Are you interested in Special Needs Assistant? This distance learning course is suited to anyone who has an interest in Special Needs Education, whether to pursue it as a career or use the knowledge for personal or family reasons. Portobello Institute’s QQI Level 5 Minor Award Special Needs Assisting is a qualification that will allow you to work as a special needs assistant in schools, hospitals and care homes. During this 3-month course you will acquire not only knowledge but empathy and understanding crucial to your future role as support to persons needing assistance in their learning. You can study this degree in your own time through distance learning, allowing you to fit learning around your busy working and family life. The course materials for this QQI certified course are thorough and easy to read and can be downloaded in your own time and from the comfort of your own home. You will also be required to complete 20 hours of work experience enabling you to get practical experience to compliment your studies. These factors, together with the one to one tutorial support, offer you a course that is accessible, affordable and achievable.

Special offer applies when booking Level 5 & 6 together with new low price of €1000. A saving of €190.

What is the role of a Special Needs Assistance?

Special needs assistants play an important role in supporting those with learning, physical or behavioural difficulties. The role of an SNA in the classroom involves assisting the teacher to support students with special educational needs who may also have significant care needs. Through education, knowledge and understanding an SNA can ensure that a child with special needs experiences a positive learning experience developing their confidence and independence.

Why should I study this course?

Portobello Institute's QQI level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting gives you the opportunity to learn from a range of experts all of whom are passionate about the field of special needs education. They bring their insight, depth of experience and passion for teaching to this course. Portobello Institute’s Special need course will learn to support and understand the process by which a child with learning, physical or behavioural needs learns. This qualification will allow you to work alongside a in a school as well as care settings.

What will I learn during this QQI Level 5 Minor Award Special Needs Assisting?

During this course, you will learn about development and learning in children with special needs and about the role of an SNA. You will learn about child development and behaviour theories and how a range of activities can promote physical, social, emotional and intellectual development in children with learning, physical and behavioural disabilities. You will develop the capacity to work and communicate effectively with parents, families, colleagues and other professionals to safeguard, support and promote children’s learning, development and well-being.

Who will I learn from?

The programme management and tutoring team on course have been carefully selected on the basis of their qualifications and wealth of practical experience in the sector and education. Each member of our tutoring team is passionate about the effects a special needs assistant has on a child’s development and are eager to share their knowledge and experience with you. Meet our Team by clicking here

Who will recognise this qualification?

Upon completing this course, you will hold a QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting enabling you to work as an SNA. This course is an essential introduction to the role of an SNA and theories in special needs education that will prepare you for QQI Level 6 Minor award in special needs assisting should you wish to further your studies.

  • Upon successful completion of this programme, you will be awarded a QQI Level 5 Minor Award in Special Needs Assisting. This is awarded at level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications

    Qualifications Frameworks in Ireland and the UK

    The Irish and UK qualifications authorities have collaborated on initiatives that promote the transparency, recognition and mobility of qualifications between our respective jurisdictions. The qualifications authorities in the UK and Ireland have agreed the qualifications frameworks in operation, Brexit will not impact this agreement. Further guidance on this framework is available here. 

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college. To access programmes leading to this award the learner should have reached the standards of knowledge, skill and competence associated with the preceding level of the National Framework of Qualifications. This may have been achieved through a formal qualification or through relevant life and work experience.

This distance learning course is completed over 3 months through Portobello Institute’s online platform. The course materials can be accessed online and can be downloaded to read in your own. You will also be assigned a personal tutor for the duration of the course who will help you with any challenges you may encounter and will offer feedback on assignments.

Work Experience Programme

As part of this course you must complete 20 hours of work experience in an SNA setting. This gives you the opportunity to put into practice the exercises and skills you will have learned during the programme. You will have the opportunity by using these skills to stimulate, develop and guide the children under your direction to develop to their full potential. We aim to ensure you that have the opportunity to gain experience in a setting that is aligned with your career ambitions.

  1. The Role of the Special Needs Assistant
  2. Equal Opportunities Child Development (Overview)
  3. Theories of Learning and Behaviour
  4. Physical and Intellectual Disabilities
  5. Communications and Language Disabilities
  6. Work Experience*
    * 20 Hours Work experience is required


The cost of this course is €595

Book onto this Special Needs Level 5 course and the Special Needs Level 6 distance learning courses and get €190 off the total cost and also receive a Distance Learning Course worth up to the value of €350 depending on the course chosen.


“It is a very insightful course not only for the role of an SNA but also for anyone working with children including parents.” Read more

Alban Hysa


“The option to complete the course over a week particularly suited my needs and overall goal. “ Read more

Apply Now

Course Code Location & Info Price
DLSNFL518 Portobello Institute, Dublin 1

Students can commence this course at any time
Study at your own pace
€595 Book Now
We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. Read More Allow Cookies