Recognition of professional qualifications in Ireland

Introduction

Professional qualifications are specific qualification requirements that a person must have to work in a regulated profession.

Some examples of regulated professions in Ireland are: electrician, teacher, architect, doctor, accountant, pharmacist, estate agent, gas installer, dental hygienist and security guard. You can check if your profession is regulated in Ireland (and in other EU member states, EEA countries and Switzerland) on the European Commission’s regulated professions database.

In the EU, there is a system of automatic recognition of professional qualifications for the following seven professions: nurses, midwives, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, architects and veterinary surgeons. Qualifications from these professions are therefore automatically recognised in Ireland. See the European Commission website for practical information on the automatic recognition of qualifications.

This document provides an overview of how professional qualifications are recognised in Ireland and Europe. For information on academic qualifications, see our document Getting your foreign qualifications recognised in Ireland.

How are professional qualifications regulated within the EU?

Each EU member state sets its own national system of education and training, which leads to its own professional qualifications.

The EU has systems for recognising diplomas and training that enable you to make full use of your training and skills in another EU country. The basic principle is that if you are qualified to work in a profession in your home country, you are qualified to work in the same profession in any other EU country.

However, if the profession is regulated in the country where you wish to work, you will need to register with the regulator for that country before you can start work. The bodies which regulate professions may also be called competent authorities. See ‘How are professional qualifications regulated in Ireland?’ below.

If your profession is not regulated in the country where you wish to work, no recognition of your qualifications is required.

Some professions are automatically recognised in the EU. If you are a doctor, a general nurse, a dentist, a midwife, a vet, a pharmacist or an architect, your national qualifications are recognised automatically. However, if you are looking for work in one of these 7 professions, you still need to register with the relevant professional body in order to practise in Ireland. You can find out more in the European Commission’s FAQs on regulated professions.

Will I still be able to use my professional qualifications in Ireland after Brexit?

Since 1 January 2021, mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ) between the EU (including Ireland) and the UK no longer applies.

Irish citizens who got their professional qualification in the UK, now need to get that qualification recognised in Ireland in any other EU member state where they intend to work. And UK nationals must also do this, regardless of where they got their qualification.

Qualifications from the UK were automatically recognised in Ireland during the transition period (from 1 February to 31 December 2020). If your qualification was recognised during this time, you don’t have to do anything and can continue to practice in Ireland or the EU.

If you have a query about your UK qualification being recognised in Ireland post-Brexit, you should contact the regulatory body for your profession (pdf).

The Gov.ie website will be updated with any new information about professional qualifications recognition.

European Professional Card (EPC)

The European Professional Card (EPC) is an electronic procedure you can use to have your EU professional qualifications recognised in another EU country. It is not a physical card. It is electronic proof that you have passed administrative checks.

After you get the EPC, and before you take up employment in Ireland, you must register with the relevant competent authority (pdf).

You can use the EPC procedure if you are a:

  • Nurse responsible for general care
  • Pharmacist
  • Physiotherapist
  • Mountain guide
  • Real estate agent

The European Commission has published an introductory video about the EPC on its Your Europe information portal. For more detailed information, you can also read the EPC User guide (pdf).

For more information on the EPC, see the Department of Education’s FAQs.

How are professional qualifications regulated in Ireland?

The Department of Education is responsible for coordinating the recognition of professional qualifications in Ireland. It provides online information on regulated professions and relevant EU legislation.

It also maintains a database of competent authorities (pdf). Competent authority means any regulatory or professional body that can validate professional qualifications that were obtained outside Ireland. You can seem some examples of regulated professions and contact details for those professions in the table below.

How do you get your foreign qualification recognised?

The first step to getting your foreign qualification recognised is to contact the competent authority for that profession in Ireland. You must do this whether or not your profession is automatically recognised in Ireland. You must also do this if you have an EPC.

If you do not find your profession on this list of competent authorities, you can email qualifications@education.gov.ie.

See the table below for some examples of regulated professions in Ireland.

What happens after you apply?

After you apply, the competent authority has 4 months to reply. It may accept your qualification, reject it or apply a compensation measure.

A compensation measure is where the competent authority considers that your training is significantly different in terms of duration or content from that in the host country. You may be asked to get additional professional experience to complete your training, or to take a training course or an aptitude test.

Examples of regulated professions in Ireland and contact details

Profession Contact details
All regulated professions.

Check this list of regulated professions in Ireland.

You need to check if your profession is regulated in Ireland and apply to the relevant competent authority for qualifications recognition.
Architects

Dentists

Doctors

Midwives

Nurses

Pharmacists

Veterinary surgeons

There is automatic recognition of these 7 ‘sectoral’ professional qualifications in the EU.

You still need to register with the relevant professional body to practise in Ireland.

Dietitians/dieticians

Occupational therapists

Radiographers and radiation therapists

Social workers

Speech and language therapists/speech therapists

Optometrists and dispensing opticians

Physiotherapists (can also use the European Professional card)

To work in Ireland you need to contact relevant competent authority to get your professional qualifications recognised.

You also have to apply to CORU to register for these professions to pracise in Ireland.

Nurses responsible for general care

Pharmacists

Physiotherapists

Mountain guides

Real estate agents

There is an online procedure to have your professional qualification recognised – the European Professional Card (EPC).

You still need to register with the relevant professional body to practise in Ireland.

Some examples of regulated construction industry professions are:

Articulated dumper operation

Built-up roof felting

Crane operation

Excavator operation

Locating under-ground services

Mini digger operation

Scaffolding

Shotfiring

Signing, lighting and guarding on roads

Slinging/signalling

Telescopic handler operation

Tractor/dozer operation Roof and wall cladding/sheeting

You need to check if your construction industry profession is regulated in Ireland. Search the EU database of regulated professions by country (Ireland).

If your profession is regulated, you need to contact SOLAS to have your qualification recognised.

You need to send your request, along with a copy of your qualification to the Construction Services Unit (Operations Section) in SOLAS.

Email: rpq@solas.ie.

If you have a query about your professional qualification, you should contact your profession’s relevant regulatory body.

Further information

The Professional Qualifications Recognition section of the Department of Education and Skills have useful FAQs about working in a regulated profession in Ireland. The Department also has a User Guide on Directive 2005/36/EC , the main EU legislation for the recognition of professional qualifications. The guide explains everything you need to know about the recognition of professional qualifications in Europe.

The Teaching Council of Ireland has information about registering as a teacher when you have qualified outside Ireland.

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) has registration information for nurses and midwives who trained outside Ireland.

The European Commission has FAQs on regulated professions.

Page edited: 12 January 2021