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Agriculture Courses - What are the Options?

The choice of agricultural courses is considerable. Students planning a career in the Agricultural or Horticultural sector and also qualifying as a young trained farmer may find it difficult to navigate the list of courses available. Education Officer Serena Gibbons gives a synopsis on the options

The delivery of courses has been challenging over the last two years. Students can now return and experience the classroom and practical delivery on site. Invaluable experience has also been gained in making the most of technology. This allows course providers to offer a blended course delivery where students can avail of a mix of face to face and on line tutorials.

Some of common questions facing students include: 

  • 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 the 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:

'Green Cert' courses are available nationwide. The 'Green Cert' 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

Full-time Course at Agricultural colleges:

The Distance Course:

  • Distance courses are delivered at Local Education Centres and at Agriculture Colleges
  • Available to students who have a QQI Major level 6 or higher qualification in a non- Agricultural area.
  • Generally delivered over an 18 month period. Students attend a Local Education Centre or college for a total of 18 - 24 days to complete practical skills. This is accompanied with online theory delivery. 

The Part-time Course:

  • This course is delivered at Local Education Centres and at Agriculture Collegeson a part-time basis at such as one day every two weeks (10am to 5pm) with one evening class and one evening via Zoom on the alternate week 
  • Students must be over 23yrs of age to apply to this course.

Note: 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 Courses:

Further level courses are suitable for people who are looking at 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

Find out more about Further Education Courses in the Education section of the Teagasc website here

Higher Level Courses:

University Colleges Dublin, Cork and Galway offer a number of 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 Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities. These courses are accredited by QQI. They provide the education and training needed by future farmers and skilled workers in the Agri industry.

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 honour 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.

More information on higher level courses delivered in conjunction with Teagasc is available here on our website 

The courses listed will qualify all graduates as trained farmers for the purposes of both the Department of Agriculture (DAFM) and Revenue schemes.

DAFM and Revenue Websites provide details of the acceptable equivalent courses to the 'Green Cert'.  Please note that the DAFM and Revenue differ slightly so ensure the course you are considering satisfies the DAFM and Revenue education requirements. 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

Additional information is available in the Education Section of the Teagasc website