Qualification Obtained

Certificate in Payroll Techniques

NFQ Level

Level 6, Higher Education

Validated By


This payroll course provides learners with a thorough understanding of the operation of the PAYE system and the workings of payroll. It also covers the key areas of employment law which impact on the payroll function. The course material explains the workings of the legislation. This is supported by numerous examples and self-assessment questions which students can use to develop their knowledge while they study. The course is extremely practical and interesting and is designed to allow students to progress at a realistic pace. Whether you already work in payroll, or not, you will find this course extremely interesting, practical and relevant to you.

The payroll function is probably the only function which affects every employee in every company. Employers need to ensure that payroll staff are given the necessary training to enable them to perform their duties to the  highest standard. Apart from the positive effect on all staff, which an accurate and efficient payroll service will generate, employers need to ensure that inadequate or inaccurate knowledge of their payroll staff does not lead to problems with the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the Workplace relations Commission. In the present era of self-assessment and Revenue audits, professionally qualified payroll staff can make a huge difference to the financial and functional performance of any business.

Who should enrol?

  • Anyone who is working in payroll or responsible for processing payroll
  • Anyone who is responsible for maintaining their employer’s PAYE, PRSI and USC records or the completion of PAYE, PRSI and USC Returns
  • People working in a finance department
  • Accountants and Accounting Technicians
  • HR Personnel
  • People who wish to improve their knowledge of Payroll and Employment legislation
  • Anyone who whats to obtain a valuable qualification

It is a requirement that learners enrolling on this course whose first language is not English must have a minimum level of understanding of the English language.

English Tests on the list below will be accepted once the required level has been achieved.

All enrolments on the Certificate in Payroll Techniques must be accompanied by the certificate awarded from the relevant body.


Test Provider Requirement
Cambridge English Language Assessments (CELA) B2
Duolingo English Test 75
English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP) B2
International English Language Competency Assessment (IELCA) B2
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic 5.0
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 30
Test of English as a Foreign Language, internet base test (TOEFL iBT), and TOEFL iBT At Home Edition 61
TOEFL iBT® Paper Edition 61
TOEFL Revised Paper-Delivered Test no longer in use, however, results valid until April 2023**** 22
Oxford Test of English 100
Skills for English Four Facet Test B2
Language Cert B2
Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English

The CPT course is delivered over 2 semesters. You will receive a comprehensive course manual for each semester and you will be provided with access to our Online Learning Platform where you can access additional information and material relating to your course.

Classroom Learning 

February Intake: This course will run again in February 2024. There will be a face-face class in Dublin (IPASS Office). Classes will run 1 night a week, 3 hours per night, for 20 weeks in total.  Semester 1 will run from 10 weeks from February – May and Semester 2 will run for a further 10 weeks from September – December. Classes run from 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

September Intake: We will be running this course again in September 2024. There will be a face-face class in Dublin (IPASS Office), Dublin North, Dublin City Centre, Limerick, Cork & Athlone. Classes will run 1 night a week, 3 hours per night, for 20 weeks in total.  Semester 1 will run from 10 weeks from September – December and Semester 2 will run for a further 10 weeks from February – May. Classes run from 6.30pm – 9.30pm.

All venues will run subject to numbers and Government guidelines.

Online Learning 

The next intake for online learning will be February 2024. Studying online means you have the opportunity to attend a live online lecture, or view a pre-recorded lecture at a later time that suits you. Online classes will be held on a specific day from 6.30pm – 9.30pm. You will be assigned a tutor who will be available to assist and support you through-out your studies.

Class times are subject to change.

The syllabus below is for the term February 2024 – May 2024 and will be subject to change for new enrolments in September 2024.

Syllabus Stage 1

Syllabus Stage 2

  • Student Registration = €200 valid for the academic year in which you enrol
  • Fees can be paid in full with your enrolment or via credit/debit card. An admin fee of €25 will be added to your course fee. An initial fee of €500 is payable with your application followed by 5 monthly payments via credit/debit card. Student fees must be paid before the course commences unless prior arrangements have been made with IPASS.
  • Course Fee (Online Learning) = €1,050 which includes student registration, course fee, course manual and examination fee.
    1. Pay in full on application €1,050
    2. Pay monthly – €500 with your enrolment and then 5 monthly payments of €115 each. If you are paying by credit/debit card.

    Course Fee (Classroom Learning ) –  €1,300 which includes student registration, course fee, course manual and examination fee.
    1. Pay in full on application €1,300
    2. Pay monthly – €500 with your enrolment and then 5 monthly payments of €165 each. If you are paying by direct debit your application must include your deposit payment and your direct debit form.

Assessment of students consists of a hand written exam. For students enrolling from September 2023 onwards, the exam will take place in an examination centre. Students are required to sit and pass 1 exam for each semester in order to gain their qualification. Students will have 2 hours (120 minutes) to complete the exam paper.  IPASS reserve the right to change exam dates and times, subject to issuing due notice to students. Students are automatically entered into the examination immediately following their enrolment.

All examinations will run from 9.30am – 11.30am.

The exam paper will consist of 7 questions of which 6 will be required to be attempted as follows:

    • Part A– Compulsory – 2 questions for a total of 40 marks
    • Part B – Answer 4 out of 5 questions, each of which will carry 15 marks

Students will be required to answer a number of questions on the theory and application of PAYE, PRSI & USC and Employment legislation.

Examinations – Saturday 18th May 2024 in the following Examination Centres

The next revision course is scheduled to run online on Saturday 11th May 2024. A fee of €100 is payable for each revision day. Students who wish to attend the revision course can book online closer to the date.

Professional Payroll Manager Qualification

Students who successfully complete the Certificate in Payroll Techniques can progress to study the Professional Payroll Manager Qualification which is accredited by IPASS. As the qualification is a pre-requisite for many payroll positions, it greatly enhances your career prospects.

The IPASS Professional Payroll Manager Qualification is a superb 1 year course which has been specifically designed to meet the needs of Irish payroll managers and senior staff. Most, if not all senior payroll personnel are responsible for the management of a team of people and are required to contribute to their employer’s financial and HR decision making, quite apart from the additional technical knowledge required in relation to Employment Law, Income tax, PRSI and USC.

You will be provided with an extremely interesting and challenging Payroll Management programme. You will acquire a professional qualification, which will enhance your career prospects and improve your confidence and self-esteem.


Computerised Payroll Course

In order to apply the knowledge acquired when studying the Certificate in Payroll Techniques (CPT) qualification, IPASS also offers a Computerised Payroll course. While this course is optional, it enables students to:

  • Process payroll using payroll software.
  • Understand the process involved from setting up an employer and employees, and a payroll calendar on a payroll software system.
  • Process payroll on the Cumulative, Week 1/Month 1 and/or Emergency Basis.
  • Calculate Gross Pay, Taxable Pay, Pay for USC purposes, Pay for PRSI purposes, Statutory and non-Statutory deductions, Net Pay and Employer’s PRSI in respect of an employee.
  • Create and view payslips and payroll reports for each pay period.
  • Register new employees, retrieve Revenue Payroll Notifications (RPN) and make a Payroll Submission.

This course is only available online. You are required to register with IPASS to complete the course. Once registered, you will be provided with guidelines on how to download demo payroll software with a training digital certificate which enables the software to mimic a live payroll. An online user guide for the software is also available. You will be provided with an assignment with a set range of details for an employer and employees for a number of pay periods. You will be required to set up the employer and employees on the payroll software, process the payroll for a number of pay periods and create a backup or snapshot file once you have completed the assignment. You will be required to submit the snapshot file online for correction.


A fee of €120 is payable for this course by all students.


Only students who have completed the Certificate in Payroll Techniques are eligible to enrol on this course. A student must successfully complete the course and submit their supporting snapshot file  within 30 days of their enrolment date in order to achieve a Certificate of Completion.


To register on this course you must have previously completed the Certificate in Payroll Techniques course. Register and pay online. 

In compliance with Section 65(4)(a) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, Learner Protection arrangements have been put in place with Arachas Insurance, should the Irish Payroll Association (IPASS) cease to provide any of the following QQI programmes before learners have completed awards:

Certificate in Payroll Techniques 6S15578 Award Level 6

IPASS confirms that:

  • It has made a full disclosure of all facts and information pertinent to the Protection of Enrolled Learners (PEL) arrangements to QQI.
  • It has taken appropriate steps to satisfy itself that the PEL arrangements in respect of each programme are adequate and meet the legal obligations under Part 6 of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012.
  • The PEL arrangements are valid for the full period of accreditation for the programme.
  • It shall notify learners and QQI in writing of any change in the arrangements IPASS has in place as soon as possible but in any case, not later than 14 days, after becoming aware of that change.  Any changes to the PEL arrangement for the QQI accredited programme set out in this document and notified to QQI will be managed by IPASS.

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