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What agricultural course should I study?

Thinking about studying agriculture in college? In this article, Serena Gibbons, Education Officer, Teagasc Galway/Clare, discusses agricultural courses options in Ireland.

With lots of courses available, it is important to give careful consideration to course choice:

  • Which course will bring the qualification I require?
  • Will it suit my current home/work situation?
  • Is completing the Green Cert all I need or will an alternative third-level course in agriculture also qualify students as young trained farmers?
  • If I don’t get the points for a straight entry into a degree course, do I have options?
Agricultural courses in Ireland 
Green Cert:

Green Cert courses are available nationwide. The Green Cert, also known as the Certificate in Agriculture, is the most widely accepted course to qualify for the Department of Agriculture schemes such as The Young Farmers scheme and TAMS.

It is also the qualification required for Stamp Duty exemption to those under 35 years of age on the transfer of land.

There are three options available to student wishing to complete the Green Cert:

  1. Full-time course in agricultural colleges – includes placement on host farm
  2. Part-time course, available in regional Teagasc offices, to over 23-year-olds. Students can apply to the local Teagasc Education officer.

Students apply directly to their chosen agricultural college. applications can be made here.

The next part-time courses in Athenry and Ennis Teagasc offices will take place in autumn 2021.

  1. Distance Course, available at colleges and some regional offices for students who hold a level 6 or higher non-Agricultural Award.ie students with a Trade (Level 6), Diploma (Level 7), Degree (Level 8) in a non-agricultural area;
  2. Dairy herd management;
  3. Drystock herd management;
  4. Forestry;
  5. Crops and machinery management;
  6. Pig management;
  7. Poultry management.

Mountbellew Agricultural College is now taking applications for the next Distance course commencing in March 2021.

Students who successfully complete the Certificate in Agriculture/Advanced Certificate in Agriculture may have the opportunities to gain entry to higher education courses.

This is a great opportunity to further your studies post-Green Cert.

Further Education:

The further level courses are suitable for people who wish to make a career in agriculture but who do not wish to complete a higher-level course. QQI accredited courses are suitable for future farmers and for people seeking employment on farms.

All courses are 2-year full-time courses and are delivered at various agricultural colleges.

Higher Level courses:

University College Dublin offers agricultural degree programmes in a variety of areas such as forestry, environment, engineering, horticulture, and food science.

Other agricultural degree courses are run in partnership with the Institutes of Technology. These courses are accredited by QQI. They provide the education and training needed by future farmers and skilled workers in the agri industry.

All higher-level courses are available at Level 7 or Level 8 (Honours Degree Level)

Level 7 course duration is 3 years, while the level 8 honours degree will take 4 years. Students apply for higher-level courses through the CAO application.

Also, these courses include valuable work placements in the many different agricultural industries both in Ireland and aboard, affording students’ great opportunities and experiences. These work placements often lead to graduate employment opportunities.

Examples of higher education courses:

  • BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Science – Waterford IT
  • Higher Certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation
  • Bachelor of Business in Rural Enterprise &Agri-Business (Level 7/8) Mountbellew/GMIT
  • Bachelor of Science in Agriculture & Environmental Mgt (Level 7/8) Mountbellew/GMIT
  • Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Agricultural Engineering (Level 7/8)
Mountbellew/GMIT
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) in Dairy Business, UCD
  • Bachelor of Science in Horticulture (Level 7)

Details of the courses listed are available here.

More information

Both the Department of Agriculture (DAFM) and Revenue Websites have lists available with acceptable equivalent courses to the Green Cert (Cert in Agriculture).

Please note that the DAFM and Revenue differ slightly so please ensure the course you are considering is on both.

It is important to put thought into what you want from your course as it takes time and commitment to complete your studies.

Should you require any further information, please contact your local Teagasc Education Officer or course provider.

For testimonials from students, read our Student Focus profiles here.

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