FAQs on Social Care Work

1. What is a social care worker?

Social care workers are professional practitioners engaged in the practice of social care work. Social care work is a relationship based approach to the purposeful planning and provision of care, protection, psychosocial support and advocacy in partnership with vulnerable individuals and groups who experience marginalisation, disadvantage or special needs. Principles of social justice and human rights are central to the practice of social care workers. Social care workers directly work with clients to provide care and meet their physical, psychosocial, and emotional needs. Social care workers help clients to interpret and access the different options available to them. 

2. Why should I register with CORU as a social care worker?

CORU is a multi-profession health and social care regulator, and Protection of Title is an essential part of CORU’s function to protect the public. If you wish to be recognised as a 'social care worker' and use this title while practising in Ireland, you must register with CORU. The move to statutory regulation for ‘social care workers’ is a positive development that will undoubtedly enhance the profession’s standing. Regulation will give reassurance to members of the public that registered social care workers meet the specified approved standards as set by CORU.

3. What does registration mean for me?

  • A Code of Professional Conduct and Ethics to follow.
  • Your name available on the Register, which is accessible to search online.
  • Use of the CORU logo on your work-related materials.
  • Undertaking Continuing Professional Development to ensure your knowledge and skills are up to date.

4. When does the register open?

The Social Care Workers Register opened on 30 November 2023. This will begin a 2-year transitional period for existing practitioners to apply to register with CORU. On 1 December 2025, the title 'social care worker' will become a legally protected title in Ireland.

5. What documentation do I need to apply for registration?

You will need:

  • Evidence of Qualification(s)
  • Evidence of Identity
  • Fit and Proper Questionnaire (Health & Character)
  • eVetting and International Police Clearance
  • Statutory Declaration
  • Confirmation of good standing with other international regulator (if applicable)
  • Employment History/Evidence of Practice (S91)/(S38)

Visit CORU's registration section for further information on what type of applicant you are and what you will need to begin the process.

6. Is there a fee for registration?

The current registration fee is set at €100. The annual renewal fee is also set at €100 per annum which is the same for all of CORU's regulated professions as set under the National Pay Agreement. 

7. Can CORU tell me if I’m eligible for registration upon applying?

CORU is not in a position to advise on each individual’s application or eligibility to register as this future decision can only be made by the Social Care Workers Registration Board when the register opens in November 2023. 

8. Is my qualification approved by CORU?

One of the functions of the Registration Boards at CORU is to approve and monitor education and training programmes. It must be satisfied that the programmes are suitable for the education and training of candidates for registration. The Social Care Workers Registration Board approved a number of qualifications which can be found on the CORU website.

9. Can I register without a qualification in social care?

Yes. The transitional arrangement in place for CORU registration recognises that existing practitioners who do not hold a schedule 3 or sufficiently relevant qualification can apply providing an employer's opinion of competence or complete an assessment of professional competence. If successful, the Social Care Workers Registration Board will grant registration to the applicant. Further information is outlined here.

10. I am an international applicant looking to practise in Ireland. What is the process?

Applicants who have qualified outside the State must be recognised by CORU. Recognition is a prerequisite for registration. The recognition process requires an assessment of qualifications and experience held by an applicant in the context of the standard of proficiency for the profession in Ireland. Applications for recognition of qualifications can be made from the day the register opens. General information on how the recognition process works can be found on the CORU website. 

11. If I work in a social care setting, can I apply for registration?

In making an application to apply to register under the grandparenting/transitional route, applicants must provide a Proof of Professional Employment form, which is verification from the employer that the applicant has been engaged in the practice of the profession for the required period. An employer can provide attestation that the applicant has been engaged in the practice of the profession, in this case, social care work. While the Act does not specify limitations of professional title, the emphasis is on ‘engaged in practice of the profession.’ 

You can find out more information on the transitional route to register as a social care worker here. 

12. Will my employer support me with my registration?

While it is the responsibility of an applicant to organise their documents for registration and submit these to CORU, a current or former employer can support in the process also. 

  • An applicant to the register will be required to provide evidence of engagement in the practice of the profession for a minimum of two years out of five on the date of application. In this instance, the employer will be requested to complete a Proof of Professional Employment Form.
  • If an applicant does not have a relevant qualification as approved by the Social Care Workers Registration Board, an employer can be requested to provide an opinion attesting to the applicant’s competence to practise in the profession. This is called an Employer Opinion of Competence Form and this opinion will be based off whether an applicant meets the Standards of Proficiency for Social Care Workers.

Please note, an employer is not obliged to provide an opinion of competence. An applicant who does not hold a relevant qualification may undertake an Assessment of Professional Competence (AoPC) as a route to register instead. Please see Question 12 below for more detail. 

13. What details are required for the Assessment of Professional Competence?

If you do not hold an approvedSchedule 3 or sufficiently relevant qualification or an employer's opinion of competence, you must undertake an Assessment of Professional Competence (AOPC) in order to apply for registration.

The purpose of the assessment is to prove that:

  • You have been engaged in the practice of the profession
  • You can meet the standards of proficiency for the profession

To qualify for an AOPC you must demonstrate that you have a minimum amount of practice (as specified by the Registration Board for your profession). 

The Assessment of Professional Competence is based on the standards of proficiency for your profession. Please note, further information on the AOPC for social care will be communicated by the Social Care Workers Registration Board in due course.