Primary school teaching

To become a primary school teacher in Ireland, you must complete a programme of initial teacher education (ITE).

There are two options to choose from.

  1. The first option is to complete an undergraduate ITE programme. This takes four years.
  2. The second option is to complete a postgraduate degree, called the Professional Master of Education (PME). This takes two years. You can apply for the PME during the final year of your Level 8 undergraduate degree, or when you've completed your Level 8 degree. 

                      Graphic showing two common pathways to primary school teaching


Accredited providers of initial teacher education for primary school teaching

  • Dublin City University
  • Hibernia College (PME only)
  • Marino Institute of Education
  • Mary Immaculate College
  • Maynooth University (Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education)

    Map of Ireland showing the accredited providers of initial teacher education qualifications for primary school teaching


Points to consider 

  1. Most applications for undergraduate ITE programmes are made through the Central Applications Office (CAO). You must check the application process with the university/college.
  2. As with all CAO courses, you need to meet all the entry requirements set by the university/college in your year of entry. This might mean attaining a certain number of points in your Leaving Certificate. Or for mature students, you may have to attend an interview. Before applying, make sure to check the full list of entry requirements, as they may vary between the third-level institutions.

  3. The application process for PME programmes can vary. You must consult the website of each third-level institution for up-to-date information on the entry requirements, how to submit your application, what the closing date is, and what the fees are.

  4. PME applicants must achieve 65% or higher on the oral component of the Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge (TEG) Meánleibhéal 1 (B1) Irish examination, prior to the closing date for applications. Applicants to the Hibernia College PME can present their TEG certificate or alternatively they can undertake an interview through Irish with the College.

  5. For primary teaching, there are minimum grades in Mathematics, English and Irish required at Leaving Certificate (or equivalent) set by the Department of Education. Full details on the entry requirements can be found on the websites of the third-level institutions.

  6. All primary ITE students are required to complete two placements in the Gaeltacht known as the Tréimhse Foghlama sa Ghaeltacht.

  7. If you study primary teaching outside of Ireland and gain the status of a ʻfully qualified teacherʼ you can apply to register as a teacher in Ireland under the EU Directive 2005/36/EC. Your qualifications will be assessed to ensure they are of comparable standard to those achieved by graduates of ITE programmes in Ireland. If significant differences are found between your qualification and the qualification achieved by graduates of accredited programmes in Ireland, conditions may be applied to your registration. This ensures that everyone teaching in Ireland has met the same minimum standards of initial teacher education. For more information, see Qualified Outside of Ireland.

Programme for Access to Higher Education (PATH) is a funding programme designed to support and provide increased access to ITE for certain categories of people. More information can be found at

A number of universities and colleges provide courses to support access to initial teacher education for persons from groups which traditionally have been under-represented in teaching. For more information, visit the Department of Education's Teaching Transforms webpage.


Where can I find further information?

The Department of Education’s Teaching Transforms webpage is an excellent source of information.

The Teaching Council and Department of Education staff regularly attend career fairs in colleges and universities. Keep an eye on social pages for updates on events @teachingcouncil / @Education_Ire

Upcoming 2023 events are listed below 

  • Thursday - Saturday,  12-14 January, BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition - RDS Dublin
  • Tuesday, 24 January - Internship and Graduate Fair - University of Galway
  • Tuesday, 07 February  - Love your career event - TU Dublin, Aungier St. Campus (Aungier St Building)
  • Thursday, 09 February - Love your career event - TU Dublin, Grangegorman (Central Quad Building)
  • Friday, 24 February - Careers in Teaching - Queen's University Belfast
  • Friday/Saturday,  10/11 March - Institute of Guidance Counsellors Annual Conference - ATU Sligo
  • Friday, 10 March - Belfast Career Fair - Assembly Buildings
  • Saturday, 03 April - DCU Open Day - Dublin City University, St. Patrick's Campus
  • Saturday, 22 April - MIC Thurles Open Day - Mary Immaculate College, Thurles
  • Monday/Tuesday, 24/25 April - School Summit - Air Dome, Connacht GAA Centre, Cloonacurry, Bekan, Co. Mayo