Increase your knowledge of special needs with a choice of a complimentary distance learning short course worth up to €249 and save a further €200 when you enrol on Special Needs QQI Level 5 & 6 part time courses together. T&Cs apply 

The Special Needs Assistant Certificate is a part time evening course 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.

The field of Special Needs Education is one of enormous variety and ever changing needs. Portobello Institute wish to respond to the true needs within the sector by offering a course that will equip our students not only with knowledge but with empathy and understanding crucial to their future role as support to persons needing assistance in their learning. Our research in the field has found that Special Needs Assistants require practical skills and knowledge in a wide range of behaviours and abilities. Thus, we try to encapsulate the lifelong experience of persons with Special Needs within our courses, in Level 5 and in greater detail at Level 6.

Qualifications Gained

  • Portobello Institute Certificate in Special Needs Assistant Training
  • QQI Level 5 minor award (5N1786) Special Needs Assistant

Entry Requirements

Entry to this course is by direct application to the college. There are no previous academic requirements.


Course Structure

This is a part time course delivered one evening a week for 12 weeks.

Course Content Modules

  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



See below for a list of venues we are running this course in. We try to accommodate as many venues as possible but if there is a venue you would like to see us in, please get in touch with us and if we have enough numbers we would be delighted to accommodate you. Contact:   T: 01 8920024

Further Progression

For those that wish to progress to their Level 6 award in Special Needs we have scheduled a continuation course in each region to start approx two weeks after the Level 5 course ends. Where possible we have left the course on the same day. See here for schedules and regions of our Special Needs Level 6 courses. We have an offer running currently when a Special Needs Level 5 course is booked with a Level 6 course, see below for details.

Course Offer!

*Book onto this Special Needs Level 5 course and our Special Needs Level 6 course (part time) and get  €200 off the total cost and also receive a Distance Learning Course worth up to the value of €350! See details HERE


See below for a list of regions we are running this course in. You can book onto this course up to 1 week after the start date. Start dates as set out below.



Unfortunately the booking for this course is currently not available, please click on the contact us button below to find out more about this course:

Booking Enquiry