Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Mary Ita Heffernan from Health Service Executive to give some advice for people considering this job:


Mary Ita Heffernan

Social Worker

Health Service Executive

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  Mary Ita Heffernan

Whilst in secondary school, I changed my mind many a time regarding the career path I wanted to pursue! I always knew that I wanted to work with people but was unsure about the profession which would most suit my interests and skills in this regard.

While in school, I definitely found that being unsure about the type or area of work you want to pursue is a very difficult and confusing position to be in, especially given the array of career choices now available and the pressure one feels in trying to make one’s mind up.

To this end, I would strongly advise anybody in this position to research courses and job descriptions well in order to make the most informed decision possible at that time in your life. 

I recommend one tries to gain as much work experience as possible as it will provide you with valuable insight into your skills, ability, likes/dislikes for certain areas of employment!!!!

Also I would research the courses and job areas as much as possible so that you can make an informed decision regarding your choices. If you can't gain enough information in school, contact the college directly or arrange to talk to somebody who facilitates the course. In particular, it would be really valuable to talk to somebody in the profession to gain a realistic and practical insight into the job.


Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Course Details

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Sports Science and Health

Ed Zone

Undergraduate awards typically reflect three to five years of study after secondary school and include Ordinary (Level 7) and Honours Bachelor Degrees and Higher Diplomas (Level 8's).

Undergraduate awards may be achieved directly or through a series of progression steps. Learners may choose to progress upwards from a Level 5 to a Level 6, Level 7 and finally a Level 8.

Undergraduate awards are awarded by the HETAC or Higher Education Institutes.

Career Opportunities
3rd level Graduates are qualified for a wide range of occupations, and their education prepares them for roles involving specific skills, and for coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

Level on the National Framework of Qualifications
3 Years
Duration of course
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Summary... header image

This degree course focuses on the medical aspects of physical activity.  Professionals in 'Sports Science and Health' will obtain a full and thorough understanding of the identification, treatment and prevention of injuries that happen during everyday life, illness, physical activity, athletic training, and sporting events. Courses will involve the study of injury prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management, and also understanding how illness and disease impact health, well-being and physical performance.

Course Details header image

Students will obtain a full and thorough understanding of the identification, treatment and prevention of injuries that happen during sporting events, athletic training, and physical activities.

From College Website...
TA316 - Sports Science and Health
IT Tallaght

From Qualifax...
TA316 - Sports Science and Health
Qualifax - The National Courses Database
DISCLAIMER: These links are to official sources of information for this course - we accept no responsibility for the information on them.

Entry Requirementsheader image

To view the Leaving Certificate minimum entry requirements for this course, Click Here [Source: Qualifax]

To view Mature Entry requirements, or alternative requirements, please visit Qualifax or the Colleges' website from the links available in the Course Details section above.

QQI FET/FETAC Links header image

This course will accept any QQI Level 5 or 6 Major Award as an entry requirement. Click on the link below to find PLC courses that also relate to this career sector. Note you can view more courses by adjusting the filters on the list page.

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Essential Module Requirements:
C20174 or C20175 or C20139 or 5N1833 or B20029 or 5N2066or 6N3395 or LCE Maths

Points Calculator for QQI Awards
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Career Progression header image

The career options available include:
It is possible to enter a career in the sport and leisure industry in the public or private sector directly from this degree course. Potential Employment/Business Opportunities include;

Fitness Centre/Leisure Centre Manager -  employed mainly in commercial public and private sector health clubs and gymnasia to manage the provision of physical fitness and lifestyle programmes.

Lifestyle Consultant - employed mainly in the private sector to provide physical fitness instruction and prescription of exercise/fitness programmes for individuals.

Sports Administrator - works within a governing body or the Sports Council incorporating a significant emphasis administrative and financial aspects.

Sports Coach/Instructor - This work can also form part of the work of a sports development officer or a recreation assistant in a sports centre.

Sports Development Officer - promotes various sports within the community, usually amongst particular target groups, or develops one sport on behalf of a local authority, governing body or professional association.

Sports Therapist - mainly concerned with the prevention and treatment of injury in sport and with improving and maintaining physical performance. 

Exercise Physiologist - studies the acute and chronic physiological responses and adaptations resulting from physical activity.  Exercise physiologists work and study in commercial, clinical and workplace settings to increase health, fitness and quality of life in the general population.

Physical / Occupational Physiologist - work with many different professionals to improve the performance of workers by enhancing their health and occupational abilities, preventing or rehabilitating workplace injuries and assisting in recovery from injuries or disease of the muscles, joints, nerves or bones.

Medical / Scientific Researcher - conducts studies from either a basic or applied science perspective such as ways to increase athletic performance or how to improve health and reduce disease.

Related Coursesheader image

The following course suggestions also prepare for work in this Career Sector, and may suit people with similar Career Interests. They are from colleges in the same region, and might also be worth exploring. You can sort the list by Title or College by clicking on the column headings. You can Tag any of these courses from within the individual course pages.

Course Title College
Pharmaceutical Healthcare DIT 
Biomedical Science DIT 
Physical Education with Biology DCU 
Physical Education with Mathematics DCU 
Psychology TCD 
Clinical Speech and Language Studies TCD 
General Nursing DCU 
Psychiatric Nursing DCU 
Intellectual Disability Nursing DCU 
Human Health and Disease TCD 
Childrens and General Nursing (Integrated) DCU 
Humanities (Psychology Major) DCU 
Dental Science TCD 
Physiotherapy TCD 
Occupational Therapy TCD 
Sports Science and Health IT Tallaght 
General Nursing - Meath and St. James TCD 
General Nursing (Adelaide School of Nursing) TCD 
Mental Health Nursing TCD 
Intellectual Disability Nursing TCD 
Dental Nursing TCD 
Dental Hygiene TCD 
Dental Technology TCD 
Childrens and General Nursing (Integrated) TCD 
Midwifery TCD 
Physiotherapy UCD (NUI) 
Public Health Nutrition DIT 
Physiotherapy Royal College of Surgeons 
Health and Society DCU 
Ophthalmic Dispensing DIT 
Sports Science and Health IT Tallaght 
General Nursing UCD (NUI) 
Childrens and General Nursing (Integrated) UCD (NUI) 
Midwifery UCD (NUI) 
Mental Health Nursing UCD (NUI) 
Clinical Measurement Science DIT 
Sport Science and Health DCU 
Athletic Therapy and Training DCU 
Gym Instructor & Personal Trainer Portobello Institute 
Applied Health Science (Physical Therapy Qualification) The Institute of Physical Therapy 
Sports Science & Physical Education Portobello Institute 
Sports Therapy Portobello Institute 
Sports and Exercise Management UCD (NUI) 
Sports Management UCD (NUI) 
Sports Management and Coaching IT Blanchardstown 
Sports Management and Coaching IT Blanchardstown 
Arts - Psychology TCD 
Applied Psychology Dun Laoghaire IADT 
Psychology UCD (NUI) 
Psychology DCU 
Psychology Dublin Business School 
Biomedical, Health and Life Sciences UCD (NUI) 

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