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Is completing the Green Cert all I need?

Students are in a fortunate position nowadays with lots of choice and course availability in agricultural education, writes Serena Gibbons, Education Officer, Teagasc Galway/Clare.

However, this can also make it difficult to make the decision on which course is best, with a lot of factors influencing your 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?

Green Cert options:

The 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 students wishing to complete the Green Cert: 

  1. Full-time course in agricultural colleges which includes placement on a host farm;
  2. Part-time course, available in regional Teagasc offices, to over 23-year-olds;
  3. Distance course, available at colleges/some regional offices for students who hold a level 6 or higher non-Agriculture Award.


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

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This is a great opportunity to further your studies post-Green Cert. Please contact the relevant higher education institute for further information.

Further education:

The further education 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.

Examples of further education courses are;

  • Dairy herd management;
  • Drystock herd management;
  • Forestry;
  • Crops and machinery management;
  • Pig management;
  • Poultry management.

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

Higher-level courses:

Higher-level courses are run in partnership with 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).

The 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.  These courses also 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 – 4 years, Waterford IT
  • BSc (Hons) in Agricultural Science – 3 years Level 7; 4 years Level 8, Tralee IT
  • Higher Certificate in Engineering in Agricultural Mechanisation, Limerick
  • 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

Details of the courses listed are available here.

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 perusing is on both.

It is important to put some 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.

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