Higher Certificate in Applied Management (Human Services) – Level 6 (Major)

The Higher Certificate in Applied Management (Human Services) is a one-year professional development programme created for people working in the human services, community and non-profit sector. It will:

  • Explore leadership as a sector-specific management issue
  • Examine how the organisational structures and operating principles characteristic of the sector determine how you manage
  • Look at the role of human resource management in human services and non-profit organisations
  • Investigate organisational finance  as a management challenge

After completing the course, you should be better equipped to meet the challenges of managing in a human services and non-profit organisation and be able to work more effectively for the benefit of your team and service users.


Successful completion of this Award will lead to a Higher Certificate in Applied Management. This is a QQI Higher Education and Training (HET) Major Award (6M15633) at Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Click here if you need to understand what this means and why it matters.

At a Glance

  • Audience Managers, supervisors & those interested in developing first line management capabilities
  • Award Higher Certificate in Applied Management (6M15633)
  • Award Type QQI HET Major
  • Level on NFQ Level 6 (60 Credits)
  • Apply by June 30th, 2019
  • Start DateOctober, 2019
  • Duration 1 Year
  • Fees €2,640 inclusive of Protection of Enrolled Learner (PEL) insurance cost. (Quarterly instalment plan available)

Continue to Application Centre


Higher Cert Applied management Graduate
Higher Cert Applied management Graduate
Higher Cert Applied management Graduate

Key Features


The course is exclusively aimed at people working in human services and non-profit organisations. It was put together by people with extensive first-line experience who fully understand the sector and the problems that come with attempting to balance work, life and learning when you work in it.


The course is designed to accommodate the pressures and responsibilities that you face. Its mixture of workshops, tutorials and online learning will allow you balance you work, life and college commitments. Remember; our active learning community (made up of students, tutors and learning support staff) is always there to support you as you learn.


We work in partnership with over 220 organisations from the human services and non-profit sector. Together we ensure that the Higher Certificate in Applied Management always reflects the:

  • Current regulatory and public policy environment
  • Challenges driving the sector, and
  • Contemporary best practices for managing them


The Higher Certificate in Applied Management is a level 6 Major Award on the National Framework of Qualifications (60 credits). The programme is accredited by QQI.  It is also designed to support continuing professional development. Successful completion will satisfy, for example, the entry requirements for our BA in Applied Management degree.


It is an applied programme addressing real world challenges. The course materials deal with management issues specific to human services and the non profit sector. That makes it much easier to apply what you learn. Similarly, our assignments tackle issues that you are likely to face in the workplace. While undertaking them you will have access to our expert tutors and a community of people who are almost certainly trying to deal with the same issues. As such, successfully completing the course will provide you with a unique opportunity to address real world challenges and improve the quality of service your organisation delivers.

Course Overview

The course is based on:

  • Our expertise in contemporary management principles and practices in the human services and non-profit sector
  • Ongoing feedback from course participants
  • Input from employers, professional bodies and regulatory authorities on staff training requirements

This is reflected in the choice of learning objectives, course contents and the approach that have developed to deliver the course.  

Learning Objectives

After successfully completing the course you should:

  • Describe how leadership and the role of the leader is understood in contemporary management
  • Appreciate the importance of leadership skills in managing change within an organisation
  • Use a range of leadership and change management models and tools in your organisation
  • Understand the role, function and importance of the human resources function in the human services and non profit sector
  • Explored the legal context of Irish HRM operations
  • Examined how the HRM function’s role in determining and delivering staff upskilling in a diverse organisation
  • Explain what ‘critical thinking’, ’emotional intelligence’ and ‘action learning’ are and outline their uses in the sector
Higher Cert Applied management learmomg objectives
  • Apply these principles, processes and practices to improve your management capabilities and benefit your organisation, team and service users
  • Understand how organisational objectives and the wider organisational environment determine how you work as a supervisor or first line manager
  • Appreciate the role organisational structure and culture play in:
    • Normal day-to-day operations
    • Defining relationships between co-workers
    • Determining the quality of service
  • Understand empowerment as an organisational concept, objective, challenge and resource
  • Understand the financial management requirements, challenges and issues animating the operation of organisations in he human services and non-profit sector

Course Content

The course is made up of five modules.

Management of the Individualised Service

  • Organisational Structure
  • Organisational Culture
  • Organisational Objectives
  • The Empowering Service

Human Resource Management & Supervision

  • Human Resource Management
  • Increasing Productivity in Others
  • Managing Volunteers
  • Reporting to Others

Creative Problem Solving & Action Planning

  • Thinking Effectively
  • Working Effectively
  • Action Planning

  Financial Management

  • Managing Your Budget
  • Raising Funds
  • Financial Accountability

Managing Change

  • Leadership
  • Change Management
  • Skills for Effecting Change
  • Implementing Change

 View the provisional course calendar (provisional) here (November 2018 commencement):

Studying with the Open Training College

A Learning Community

The course uses a ‘blended’ approach. Each module combines online learning, tutorials (telephone, online, virtual) and face-to face workshops. Learning materials are explicitly designed to accommodate the pressures that come with trying to balance work, life and learning. They make it possible to build study time around your work schedule. Regular online tutorials will expand your knowledge of the topic and answer any questions you have as you study. Each one-day seminar focuses on how the module topic is impacting the sector, will deepen your understanding of the subject matter and help you apply it in your working practice. Underpinning all of this is our learning community. This is made up of tutors who have extensive first-line experience, learning support staff who understand the human challenges people can face when attending college and our students who are defined by their commitment to supporting each other. We believe this creates a learning experience that is unique to the Open Training College, one that meets the specific requirements of people working in our sector and improves the quality of service our users receive. This is known as the Supported Open Learning Model. You can read more about it here.

Meet Brendan Collins – the Course Director

How do you think the course benefits students and service users?

Students get the chance to acquire management knowledge and skills that relate specifically to their role in human services and non-profit organisations. They also learn how to apply these new skills in an environment where they have support of their tutors and fellow students who are most importantly colleagues who are likely to be facing the exact same challenges. Working together I think they become more effective advocates for the people their agency supports. People also learn how to best support and manage their team and grow to understand that the more effective their team is, the better the quality of service their organisation delivers to the end user.

More generally, what motivated you to become a tutor in the first place?

I became a tutor because I like to work with people to make a difference. It is really rewarding to be part of helping somebody learn to develop the skills required to first complete a course and then provide a better life to their service users.

Meet Jimmy Lynch, Graduate

Why Did You Choose the College?

I chose the College because it had a course I was interested in that was specific to the nonprofit sector. It provided an overview of an area which I had been working in for many years without any specific training or education, where I was providing advice and support to managers and Boards. The Course has been very helpful in putting a theoretical frame around my work, and in sharpening my perception and analysis of issues. Being an applied course it also forced me to focus attention on particular work issues. The outcomes have together contributed to better quality in my work and improved services for beneficiaries. An unexpected surprise on the course was the way assignments could be directly used to gain a strong handle on issues at work.

How did you find the College to deal with?

The Open Training College offers significant supports and my assigned tutor was always ready to answer if I was stuck or unsure about what was expected. I never felt demotivated, quite the opposite; everyone was always very encouraging and motivating but realistic at the same time about what could be achieved. I really enjoyed my time with the College and I would certainly recommend the Higher Certificate in Applied Management (Nonprofit/Human Services) to others.

Higher Cert Applied management Graduate

Watch a Video Where Some Students Explain Why They Chose to Study With Us

How Do I Apply?

Applications for this course are accepted through our online application centre. To apply for the degree, you will need to:

  • Satisfy the entry requirements for the programme
  • Provide a range of documents to support your application
  • Submit a personal statement explaining why you want to apply

What are the Course Entry Requirements?

Applicants need to have successfully completed the Open Training College Certificate in Applied Management OR currently hold at least a Level 6 cognate* management qualification of 60 credits (NFQ) or more within the last 10 years.
The course is specifically designed as an add-on programme for the holders of the Certificate in Applied Management (6H15631). However, all relevant applications will be considered (i.e. applicants who hold a recognised management qualification at Level 6 on the NFQ or a qualification with a significant management focus).
Applicants wishing to transfer from another course will need to meet certain criteria. Click here to determine if you are eligible to transfer.
Applicants are expected to be currently working in the human services, community or not for profit sector and need to be able to apply their learning to an appropriate work setting

What Supporting Documents Will I Need?

You will need to provide us with a range of documents as part of your application. These are:

  • Proof of identity. Common examples included scanned copies of a driving license or passport (for international applicants).
  • Educational Transcripts: These are copies of previous educational achievements that confirm you satisfy the course entry requirements. They could, for example, include a copy of your Leaving Certificate or a scan of a Level 5 certificate. It is particularly important that applicants wishing to transfer from another course, or be considered for Advanced Entry, provide transcripts confirming they have completed a Level 6/7 course worth at least 60 credits (NFQ) or more.
  • Personal Statement: This document essentially explains why you want to take the course and how you see it helping you achieve your professional and personal goals. You can learn more about it below and download a simple document that will help you write it.
  • International Applicants: International applicants are required to provide documentary evidence of proficiency in English and eligibility to study in Ireland before beginning an accredited course. A document explaining why it is necessary and what documents are required for a successful application can be found below.

What is a Personal Statement and Why is it Important?

A personal statement briefly describes:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • What you hope to achieve in your career on both a personal and professional level
  • How you think the course will help you achieve your goals

Personal statements are particularly important for us when assessing individual applications. We believe in selecting students not just based on their previous academic achievements but on how a particular educational programme can help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Personal statements help us understand why you want to take the course and if it is the right one for you.


PLEASE NOTE: We’ve also provided a checklist to help with your application. We generally recommend you gather together all the documents you will require to support your application before you begin but our online application system will allow you add documents as and when you have them once you’ve begun submitting your application. You can learn more by visiting the online application centre.

What Courses Can I Progress to After Successfully Completing the Course?

Learners having successfully completed this course can progress to the Bachelor of Arts in Applied Management at Level 7 (NFQ), subject to meeting entry requirements.

Start Making Your Application

All applications are processed through our application centre where you can:

  • Submit your application
  • Learn about what happens after you’ve made your application
  • Monitor the progress of your application

Visit the online application centre.

A Special Note About Protecting Enrolled Users

Open Training College (OTC) has approval to offer students learner protection insurance in respect of Protection of Enrolled Learners (PEL) for this course. Find out more about PEL here.

How Can We Help?

Contact us if you want to know more about the Higher Certificate in Applied Management course.

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