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 Tomas Flanagan from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Tomas Flanagan

Occupational Therapist

St. Michael's House

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  Tomas Flanagan

I would advise anyone interested in Occupational Therapy to read up on the profession or else try to meet a qualified Occupational Therapist and talk to them about their work.

The internet can be a great resource in getting information. Also information from the universities might indicate if this is a course that is suited to you. A lot of the course work relies on you being a self-directed learner. This makes the course different to other more mainstream/academic courses as the onus is on the student to complete a lot of work independently.

As this is a caring profession an interest in working with people is a must. You also need to be a good communicator as you will be working closely with clients, families and other staff on an ongoing basis.

Organisational skills are essential to enable you to manage a caseload.

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Enterprising 
Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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What Subjects to Take

Choosing which subjects to study occurs in both Junior Cycle and Senior Cycle. The choices made should reflect the interests and ability of your child, and take consideration of the possible career aspirations he/she may have.

In general, the Irish education system is not geared towards specific occupations or career pathways (the exception being the Leaving Cert Applied) - its aims are to provide a more fuller, rounded education. Therefore, for the most part, students can choose anything from the curriculum in order to gain a respectable and internationally recognised qualification.

This is particularly so for the Junior Cycle - which is very general in nature. Though is is normal to follow through with similar subjects from Junior Cert to Leaving Cert, it is not necessarily so - you can, for example take up Business or a Science subject in Leaving Cert without having studied it for the Junior Cert.

If your child is in Junior Cycle, follow the links for 1st year and 2nd year students to understand the options available.

If your child is in, or entering Senior Cycle, then follow our discussion in the Senior Cycle Choices section.
 
The following are some general tips and factors to consider when choosing subjects:
 
  • Ability & Aptitudes: All students have different strengths so consider their abilities in different subjects and choose subjects in which the student is likely to get good grades. 

  • Interest: Choosing subjects in which your son/daugher has a genuine interest in means they are much more likely to study them and do well.

  • Career: There are some subjects that are essential for some college courses and careers. It is important to check out these subject requirements with a Guidance Counsellor or the course provider.