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 Dave McDonald from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:


Dave McDonald


Smart Futures

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  Dave McDonald

A caring attitude is essential for Health and Safety – you need to be passionate about getting the message across to people and telling them why it is so important. After all, no-one wants to see anyone suffer harm or be in pain.

For astronomy, a yearning for answering the unanswered questions is a must. You also need to be dedicated and focused and not put off by the weather


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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CAO Points Calculator

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Leaving Cert. Grades to CAO Points

Marks Grade Points for
Higher Level
Points for Ordinary Level
90 - 100 H1 / O1 100 56
80 < 90 H2 / O2 88 46
70 < 80 H3 / O3 77 37
60 < 70 H4 / O4 66 28
50 < 60 H5 / O5 56 20
40 < 50 H6 / O6 46 12
30 < 40 H7 / O7 37 0
0 < 40 H8 / O8 0 0

Link Modules

Distinction 66  

Link Modules

Merit 46  

Link Modules

Pass 28  
Note: Best scores from 6 subjects used to calculate points.

Note: 25 Points are awarded to any passing grade in Higher Mathematics, i.e. H6 and above.

QQI / FETAC Grades to CAO Points

The calculation of CAO points from QQI courses is more complex, as the modules may have different credit scores. We recommend using our QQI / FETAC Points Calculator to calculate your CAO points from QQI / FETAC courses.

Calculators for 2016

The following are links to CAO points calculators that are valid for 2016 Awards only.

Download our
Points Calculator
and Course Search App pointsCalcImage
Download CAOCalc on the app store Download CAOCalc on the google paly store