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 Paul Dowling from Teagasc to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Paul Dowling

Horticulturist

Teagasc

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  Paul Dowling
Ideally, try and get a job in the industry for a summer, or get a bit of experience before you go into it. You have to be happy with working outside, and doing physical work. If you are not prepared to work hard or are looking for a soft job, don't go into Landscaping. Design is very sexy at the moment, everyone wants to be a designer, a Landscape Designer. It's different on the ground, you have to be out there on sites in all weather and you have to make sure projects are managed well and you're able to muck in with everyone else. Biology is most important for anyone going into Horticulture or Landscaping as it covers propagation and helps with the identification of plant names, species and families through the universal use of Latin. Chemistry is also helpful as the use of various chemicals is a constant in horticulture. The chemical content and dangers of fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides in use in Amenity Horticulture needs to be understood anyone going into this business. Geography would be a relevant subject as well. Also, the simple things like having a full, clean driving licence, which can make you a lot more employable if you are trying for a job with a Landscape Conractor. This indicates that you are more mobile and can also drive a company van if needed. Be sure you're happy with the outdoor life. Having taken a Horticulture course will give you an advantage. However, it's possible to take a job first and study later, e.g. in IT Blanchardstown it is possible to study at night. I think you cannot beat doing the Diploma Course in the National Botanic Gardens because it is a good practical course which also covers all the theory and is invaluable for gaining plant knowledge.
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Naturalist?
Naturalist 
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.

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Education and Training

Marks Distribution 2014:
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Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 6329 students who sat the Higher level Agricultural Science exam in 2014.

Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1597 students who sat the Ordinary level Agricultural Science exam in 2014.

 
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Senior Cycle - Agricultural Science

Subject Group: Science
These subjects demonstrate how to explore nature using carefully planned methods, and teach the basic methods and findings of scientific investigation.

Agricultural science is the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture. It aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes concerning the factors that affect the long-term well-being of agricultural resources, and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources. It is steadily growing in popularity every year. It is recognised as a labaoratory science subject for almost all 3rd level courses including nursing.

It can be a good study to subject with Biology and/or Geography due to the overlap in course content. Some experience of farming would be desirable. 

The Programme covers the following topics:

  • the rearing of animals
  • the growing of crops
  • soil types
  • genetics
  • ecology
  • animal and plant science

Careers Possibilities

Careers in this area include: Greenkeeping, Horticulture, Food Science, Agricultural Advisers, Sports Turf Management, Environmental Science, Forestry, Farming, Marine Science, Careers in Renewable Energy and Teaching.

Third Level Entry Requirements
This subject is not an essential requirement for any courses in the CAO system.

Podcast
Listen to Audio Podcast on this subject Preparing for Leaving Cert Agricultural Science - 20mins [Source - www.frogblog.ie ] 


Subject Content
The course consists of the study of a variety of aspects of agriculture under the following headings:

  • Soils
  • The general structure and function of plants
  • Farm crops - cereal and roots
  • Farm crops - grassland
  • Trees and shelter
  • Structure and function of the animal body
  • The cow, the sheep, horse, and pig
  • Farm buildings (fro school assessment only)
  • Farm-house environment (for school assessment only)

Exam Structure
The examination in Agricultural Science consist of (a) a terminal examination paper and (b) an assessment of the work of the candidate during the course under the headings: identification of plant and animal types associated with agriculture; practical experience with crops, livestock, house and farmyard layouts; investigations carried out related to ecology, soil science, animal physiology, plant physiology, genetics and microbiology.



Data Sources: The information on these pages has been compiled from a variety of sources including the NCCA, Newbridge College / Brian Howard, Dept. of Education & Skills, and student interviews. Information in the 'People who took this subject' section reflects the views of those people interviewed on this website and is offered as informal and potentially useful information only.

While CareersPortal.ie attempts to keep this information as up to date and accurate as possible, we do not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of this information or decisions made on the basis of this information. Students should always discuss subject options with parents / guardians / guidance counsellors..
Go to curriculum website 
View / Download full curriculum [pdf file]
http://agsciencevideos.blogspot.com/
http://www.pdst.ie/sc/agscience/resources

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People who took this subject... 5
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Mechanical Engineer - John Harding
John Harding, ESB I always knew I wanted some form of a technical or design job so I took the following subjects for leaving cert; (Maths, English, Irish - because you have to) Physics, Engineering, Building Construction & Agricultural Science. I believe these subjects have all helped me throughout my college days as they gave a great basis of what is taught in college. 
 
Farmer - Dairy - Denis Reidy
Denis Reidy, Teagasc Generally I chose well & wouldn't change my choices. I started off studying Agricultural Science & Engineering for the Leaving Cert. which were both a help.

I attended Pallaskenry & Kildalton Agricultural colleges on route to completing the A.C.F.M. Course. 

I also completed various stints of work placements. 
 
Farmer - Dairy - Bryan Daniels
Bryan Daniels, Teagasc

Agricultural Science - I really enjoyed it and it gave me a good understanding of the basics in agriculture. Technical Drawing and Construction Studies - I enjoyed the hands on building as well as the planning and design aspect which has assisted me in planning and building my farm yard from the parlour, sheds, workshops and even my new house.

If I could go back in time I think I would of taken Business Studies to give me a better grasp of the financial aspects that are involve in my farming business.

 
 
Network Technician - Rose Griffin
Rose Griffin, ESB I did English, Irish and Maths, and then Geography, Agricultural science and Construction studies. Studying Construction studies definitely influenced my career path, I loved the subject and it helped that I had a great teacher also.

It helps you to become a more practical minded person, and you get good at working with your hands. I always knew I’d go on and work in something in the construction back ground round when I started studying construction studies. 
 
Farm Manager - Dry Stock - Kieran Magee
Kieran Magee, Teagasc All the subjects I choose had a practical aspect to them,e.g. Woodwork, Metalwork, Technical graphics and of course the usuals.  I suppose looking back on it I was always working with my hands and that's what I enjoyed.

The likes of Woodwork and Metalwork are skills which are used every day when out in the yard or down the back of a field fixing a broken machine. If I went back to pick better subjects I probably would have added Agricultural Science into the bunch, but other than that I'd stick with the same. 
 
  
 
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Junior Cycle Subjects  Junior Cycle Subjects
Leaving Cert Subjects  Leaving Cert Subjects

 Leaving Cert Subjects Guide to Subject Choice
 Leaving Cert Subjects Exam Papers
 Leaving Cert Subjects Marking Schemes 


 
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