Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice

Level 7
2 Years
Start Date


Are you looking to develop a career in the area of Childcare or Adolescent Care? If so, then consider the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice. This is one of the most comprehensive and dynamic programmes of its type currently on offer in Ireland. This higher certificate provides particpants with the skills, knowledge and approach to working with children and adolescents in a range of different areas including chilcare facilities, youth areas, youth projects and public sector roles working with children and adolesents.  This higher certificate will also allow student to progress to the Level 8 programme – the BA(Hons) in childhood and Adolescent care and practice.   It also meets government guidelines for the sector and is approved by the Department of Social and Community affairs for ECCE funding.


The Higher certificate in Childhood and Adolescent practice is a  2 year programme which allows learners to gain the initial  skills, knowledge and approaches necessary to work as professional practitioners in the childcare and adolescent sector.

Across both years of the programme, students will develop their knowledge of key areas of childhood care and practice including developmental psychology, ethical issues, developmental psychology, and dedicated modules on theoretical and practical elements of childhood and adolescent care and practice.

Can I study this programme on a full or part-time basis?

Students considering doing the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice can take this course on either a full-time or part-time basis.The course will commence in September . The course is delivered over 2 years and each year has two twelve week terms, September to December and January to April.

The programme is run through a combination of classroom based modules as well as some that are ‘blended’. Blended learning combines face to face and web based teaching.  The course uses both classroom based and blended learning techniques. This allows the learner to access classes in person or using on-line facilities to allow for a better work/life/study balance. In certain modules attendance may be a requirement.

Full-time option:

The full-time programme runs 3 days per week at the ICHAS College Limerick from 9.30am to 4.30pm.

Part-time option:

The part-time programme runs 1 evening per week (6pm to 10pm)  and saturdays (9.30am to 4.30pm) over the 2 semesters September to December and January to April.


A central component of the ICHAS vision is the provision of flexible and affordable education for all. In line with this approach, the fees for the programme whether full or part time are in line with those of Universities and Institutes of Technology. The fee for the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice is €3,450 p/a. Students can pay in instalments and all fees are fully protected under our Protection of Enrolled Learners’ Policy.

Academic Administration fees are charged separately and are €300 p/a.

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby, in the event of the provider ceasing to provide the programme for any reason, enrolled learners may transfer to a similar programme at another provider, or, in the event that this is not practicable, the fees most recently paid will be refunded

Structure of Course

The Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Care and Practice covers a range of subjects which when taken together provide a syllabus designed to develop competent professional practitioners. The subjects covered are designed to be both practical and theoretical leading to a broad range of knowledge, skills and competencies, as per the table below.

Higher Certificate in Child and Adolescent  Practice
Year 1 Year 2
Ethics & Practice Adolescent Care and Practice 1
Childhood Care and Practice 1 Adolescent Care and Practice 2
Childhood Care and Practice 2 Supervised Professional Practice 2
Developmental Psychology Sociology
Legal Issues in Childhood and Adolescent Care Contemporary Social Policy
Supervised Professional Practice Research Methodologies and Methods
Ethics & Practice Adolescent Care and Practice 1
Childhood Care and Practice 1 Adolescent Care and Practice 2


In both years of the programme, students will undertake 100 hours of supervised practice, giving them the opportunity to apply their knowledge practically

How will I be assessed?

The modules above will be assessed using a range of assessment approaches including continuous assessment, project work, practical exercises and terminal assessments.

ICHAS has always, and will continue to work closely with students to employ a range of assessment activities, and support students to achieve their best in each type of assessment activity. We recognise that many students may not have studied in a long time and we have developed systems and individual approaches to support students as they adapt to higher education.

What supports will I have?

ICHAS is a college with a proven track record in delivering high quality education. At ICHAS, every faculty member is committed to this ideal and to its implementation. We work on an individual basis with our students to bring this about, ensuring we meet your specific needs. We pride ourselves on working with our students to overcome any barriers to progression during their studies.

If you are returning to third level study as a mature student we understand you may have concerns about going or returning to college and all that’s involved. However, at ICHAS we have a long tradition of working with similar students. Your educational journey is extremely important to us and we will support you in every way.

Who Awards My Qualification and how well recognised is it?

On successful completion of the programme,  your qualification is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and this will appear on your parchment. QQI is one of the principal Irish awarding bodies for the higher education sector in Ireland and sets the standards for awards on the NFQ.

This course is recognised in Ireland and all over Europe. See www.qqi.ie for further information.

Where Can I progress to on completion of the course?

Upon successful completion of the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent  Practice students will be eligible to progress to the B.A (Hons) in Childhood and Adolescent Care and Practice at level 8.

What are the entry requirements for this course?

To join the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Care and Practice), applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Be over 18 years of age.
  • Complete and submit the completed application form <download here>and provide all requested information.
  • For non- CAO, complete an interview process, which is designed to explore your reasons for taking the programme and to ensure that it is suitable for your needs. ICHAS is committed to ensuring that the programme you are on is right for you.
  • Complete the Garda vetting procedure.
  • English language proficiency certificates (e.g. IELTS of 6.0 or equivalent) if applicable. Please see http://ichas.ie/prospective-students/international-applicants/

If you are under 23 years of age and applying for the fulltime programme you have to  apply through the CAO website on www.cao.ie.  Normally this requires applicants to have successfully completed the Leaving Certificate programme and to have obtained a minimum of 250 points.  A minimum grade of D1 in English is stipulated.


If you have any difficulty in applying for this course, then please contact the college on 061 216288 where we will be only too pleased to assist you.

Employment potential for graduates of the Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice  can be viewed across the complete spectrum of occupations within the child and adolescent care sectors. A range of established as well as new professions are engaged in the provision of professional care to children and adolescents, including schools, crèches, statutory organisations,non-governmental agencies and the social work sector, among others.

Specific areas of employment may include:

  • Working in childcare facilities
  • Working in Community groups and Partnerships
  • Working in childcare provision across Leader funded programmes and groups
  • Working with the Department of Education & Department of Justice on  funded youth and adolescent programmes e.g. Youthreach, Community Training Workshops
  • Working in range of non-governmental agencies in the areas of youth and adolescents e.g. Barnardos
  • Working within HSE funded residential, non- residential and outreach programmes.

The Higher Certificate in Childhood and Adolescent Practice  has many  features that make it one of the leading programmes of this type in Ireland, these include;

  • This programme is part of a suite of programmes that have been validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), ensuring up to date teaching methods, programme content and quality.
  • It is delivered by lecturers who work in the field of Childhood and Adolescents
  • It is part of the affordable and flexible access system within ICHAS, meaning students pay the same fees as public college system.
  • It mixes theory and practice together to provide a complete understanding of the areas.
  • This course has a progression to Honours Degree level.
  • It is recognised widely by employers, opening opportunities to graduates in a range of different areas including; working with young people in all areas and helping them to deal with all the issues and problems that modern day living brings.
  • The course uses both classroom based and blended learning techniques. This allows the learner to access classes in person or using on-line facilities to allow for a better work/life/study balance. In certain modules attendance may be a requirement.
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M.A. Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy – Graduate 2011

Joining ICHAS at diploma level, my aspiration was to discover what counselling was about. After the diploma and through the Level 8 and Level 9 programmes, it became more about discovering who I was and then becoming a reflective counsellor. Understanding my self was most important if I was to help others with their journey. An additional benefit from this course was meeting so many different people from different backgrounds and with different views which taught me more about working with people, as a client or otherwise.

The college, course, staff and peers enabled this journey for me, where I have become a more holistic person. Now that I have ended up with a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy through the various challenges along the way is a great achievement for me.


Sinead MCGuinness
(Graduate of the MA in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; BA (Hons) in Counselling and PsychotherapyBA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I began my voyage with ICHAS in Studying for the BA degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy studies was the beginning of my voyage with ICHAS. I never imaged what an amazing voyage this would be and all the amazing people I would meet along my way.  I am still on my voyage and still meeting amazing people and still learning every day. My studies with ICHAS went further than I could ever have believed with finding myself growing both on a personal and professional level. The college at all times (more…)


Patrick Fitzgerald
(BA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I came into ICHAS knowing that I wanted to help and work with people. Currently in my third year and all I can say is that I am amazed by how much I have grown both as a person and as a student. I was out of education for two years before starting and had fears and reservations about my ability as an academic and still not fully sure what I wanted to do with my life. The environment here compared to University’s or Institutes is not focused on just delivering the content and getting you through your degree or masters. Here they are looking at the individual behind the books and making sure that each student receives the same quality engagement that I have not seen anywhere else. ICHAS has allowed me over the last three years to see my true potential and ability through the stimulating learning environment here. I recommend this college to anyone looking into the areas of Counselling and Psychotherapy due to the high level of engagement with peers and lecturers.

Phone: 061 216 288
Walton House, Lonsdale Rd., National Technology Park,
Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland