Kerry ETB
Kerry ETB

Ecology & Practical Fieldwork Skills

For those who wish to pursue a career in an ecologically related field.

Unique to Kerry College Major Award New for 2020

  • Reference
  • Location
  • Type
  • Start date
  • Duration
    39 weeks
  • Certification
    QQI Level 5
  • Fees
    No Fees
Apply now

A highly practical course focused on the key skills and knowledge needed to carry out a range of ecological field survey methods. Learners will be able to demonstrate strategies and practices to help foster a more environmentally-friendly society.

What will I study?

  • Ecological Field Methods (5N1439)
  • Biology (5N2746)
  • Biological Diversity (5N1568)
  • Sustainable Water Management (5N5027)
  • Permaculture Design (5N1617)
  • Plant Identification And Use (5N2527)
  • Plant Science (5N2528)
  • Teamworking (5N1367)
  • Work Experience (5N1356)
  • Mountain Skills Certificate (BOS-MS)
  • First Aid
  • Manual Handling

Where will I study?

This unique course will be delivered at Killarney National Park Education Centre, in the heart of Ireland’s premier National Park.

As an established field studies centre run by Kerry ETB and The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), the Education Centre will provide an ideal location for the Level 5 Ecology course.

Many of the practical elements of the course will either be delivered in the variety of habitats of the National Park or close by on the peninsulas of Iveragh, Dingle and Beara or in the Burren.

Some aspects of the course such as Team Building & Mountain Skills will be delivered at Cappanalea, the National Outdoor Education & Training Centre. The team delivering the course are all experienced ecologists and field-studies tutors.  Both Centres are fully equipped with first-class facilities and professional equipment.

Why should I do this course?

This Ecology & Practical Fieldwork Skills course is a great starting point for those looking to pursue a career in Ecology, Botany, Wildlife Management, Forestry, Conservation, and other related industry sectors.

Governments worldwide have declared “climate change and biodiversity loss” a global emergency. In Ireland, there will be an increased scope for employment in the environmental and ecological fields.

You may also progress to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes at third-level.

What are the employment opportunities?

Graduates may seek employment with NPWS as gardeners, horticultural assistants, rangers. With OPW and other organisations that manage estates, gardens and historic sites as general operatives, horticultural assistants. With ecological consultants assisting with field surveys, habitat assessments, flora & fauna surveys & monitoring. Self-employed ecological surveying and recording. With Coillte and forestry sector in tree nurseries and woodland management. With a variety of environmental organisations working on sustainability initiatives for communities (rural & urban).

Graduates may also be eligible to apply through the CAO and/or the Higher Education Links Scheme for entry to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes at Institutes of Technology and Universities.

Such courses include:

  • University College Cork (UCC) – BSc’s in Applied Plant Biology, Earth Science, Ecology & Environmental Biology, Environmental Science or Zoology
  • Institute of Technology Tralee (ITT) – BSc in Wildlife Biology or the BSc in Environmental Outdoor Learning
  • Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) – Applied Bioscience
  • Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) BSc Forestry
  • Dublin City University (DCU) – Environment Science and Technology
  • National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway- BSc Marine Science
  • University of Limerick (UL) – BSc Environmental Science & Climate

What are the entry requirements?

  • Statutory School Leaving Age (16+)
  • QQI Level 4 Major Award, Leaving Certificate or equivalent
  • English (ESOL B1)
  • An interest in ecology, sustainability and biodiversity
  • Good numerical skills
  • Basic Computer IT/Skills
  • Leaving Cert Biology or equivalent is desirable
  • A drivers licence is desirable
  • Mature applicant route available
  • Non-EU/EEA applicants must have permission to work in Ireland

What's the certification?

QQI Level 5 Major Award Certificate in Applied Ecology (5M5028)


There are no fees payable on this course. All materials and books are provided.
Learner payments may be available to some applicants.

Further Information

For information on the qualification, the course or the fieldwork activities, contact Chris Barron at Killarney National Park Education Centre by telephone on 064 6635960 or email

Killarney National Park Education Centre is located at Knockreer House, Killarney, County Kerry V93 XFP6

For information on how to apply, contact Kerry College Admissions Office by telephone on 066 714 96 96 or by email:

Full-time Courses - FAQs

FET is short for Further Education & Training. Kerry College is an integrated college of FET which means we offer further education programmes which lead to third-level progression along with a range of employment-focused skills training programmes. We also offer a range of apprenticeships.

No, but if you are, you may qualify for a Training Allowance or Back to Education Allowance.

All of our employment-focused full-time day courses are fee-free and fully funded. Places are subject to an admissions interview and our course capacity - which can be as low as 14 in some cases.

Our progression focused full-time courses carry a 130 euro registration fee which is paid prior to enrollment. 

Again, you don't need to be on a social welfare payment to apply or secure a place. 

Our progression-focused courses are full time programmes and run from September to May each year. They provide you with the time and opportunity to explore a potential career and study path - before committing to a third level course of study.

You can achieve up to 390 points on our courses for progression which you can in turn use to access a range of third-level courses.

Kerry College has agreements in place with many Institutes of Technologies and Universities to allow our students to progress to study there.

You'll need to work hard though, achieving a full range of distinctions is often a requirement to progress.

Our employment-focused courses are full-time programmes focused on building knowledge, skill, and ability and essential qualifications to enter the jobs market.

Most have integrated work practice and/or industry placement. Many include unique, professional micro-certifications which further increase your employability.

Our courses for employment are a great choice for those wishing to career change, reskill, upskill, or start your career.

Specific entry criteria will vary depending on the course.

For most courses for employment, you must have completed a minimum of three years post-primary education or have a Junior Certificate. Some courses for employment require that you are either 18+ or 21+ before applying. Check each course page for further details.

For most courses for further study and university progression, applicants must be at least 16 years of age at course start date and ideally have a Leaving Certificate, LCVP, LCA or at the least QQI Level 4 Major Award. 

Mature students (over 23) may also apply. 

If you do not meet the specific entry criteria, you may be called for an information interview to secure a place, unless an interview is already part of the admissions process.

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a ten-level system (1–10) giving an academic or vocational value to qualifications obtained in Ireland.

Kerry College offers programmes at Levels 5 and 6 but also a range of industry-recognised professional certifications.

In addition, we also offer a number of pathway courses at Level 4.

A Minor award is commonly referred to as a module - but also as a component certificate or a certificate of unit credit. 

These single 'modules' may be completed and certificated individually. All minor awards are linked to a major award that allows learners to collect and build their minor awards and work towards gaining a major award. 

A Major award is a significant achievement and usually comprises of 8 minor awards or modules.

Gaining a major award allows progression to a range of third-level programmes or qualifies you for an entry-level job where you can build on your qualification with experience.

Our Monavalley Campus has full-time courses starting every month of the year. These courses range from 8 weeks to 56 weeks in duration. We don't do a mid-term or Easter break at Monavalley. Our Campus Locations at Clash Road, Denny Street, and Listowel run by the academic calendar - starting in September and ending in May and include breaks at mid-term and Easter. Our academic year is 38 contact weeks- so when you see 39 weeks, it's a year-long course of 38 weeks plus one week for Christmas.

Applications for all full-time programmes should be made online via the Kerry College website. Your application will be processed using FETCHCOURSES - the National FET Course Application System.

If you haven't signed up for a FETCH account, you'll need to do this first. It's free and a one-time setup.

FETCH COURSES is the national application system for all FET course applications. 

All new applicants must set up a free account on You must use this to apply for all further education and training progarmmes anywhere in Ireland. 

For existing FETCH COURSES account holders, login and apply as before. 

You can reset your password using your email or mobile phone. When you do, make sure you keep it for future reference.

Bear in mind, FETCH uses your PPS number to identify you - so although you might be able to set up a second account - it won't work properly.

If you're still stuck, contact our Admissions team on 066-714 96 96.

We use the admissions interview to ensure minimum entry requirements are met and to pre-screen applicants for work practice and/or industry placement. We also assess which applicants will gain the most from spending some time at Kerry College.

In preparation for the interview, consider why you’ve applied for the course, know the modules and the overall award, what you need to learn, and how you plan to use your new skills. You'll need to bring a copy of your CV and any relevant certificates.

In cases where there is a high demand for a course, you need to do well at the interview to make it onto the class-list.

Sometime, applicants don't meet the minimum entry criteria but feel they have the aptitute and experience to successfully complete the course. This is often where a mature learner is returning to education without a Leaving Certificate. 

Get in touch with us at the Admisisons Office on 066-714 96 96 where we will discuss your application with you.

Yes, you do. A lot can change in a year and we always like to catch up with you and see how we can help.

You have 3 funding routes to explore. If eligible, you may receive one of the following on a full-time Kerry College course:

Learner Payment, Back to Education Allowance, and SUSI Grant.


Also known as a Training Allowance. If you are on a qualifying DEASP payment, you may continue to receive this payment as a Learner Payment while on any full-time course at Kerry College. An F103 form is issued by Kerry College to applicants who accept a course place. This form must be completed by you and stamped and signed by DEASP/INTREO. Bring it with you on the first day of the course to have your Learner Payment processed. 


When you have been accepted onto any full-time course at Kerry College and you feel you may qualify for a Back To Education Allowance, notify DEASP by filling in the form BTE 1 – available for download here:


You may qualify for a SUSI Grant (via if you have applied for a SUSI approved course. Check their website for this list which includes many Kerry College courses for third level progression.

The responsibility for researching and applying for funding and financial supports is yours. We are always available to point you in the right direction though!

If you can't take up your place, you should let our team know immediately, so we can offer your place to another applicant.

We don't have a deferral policy in place for our full-time courses. 

Unfortunately, this is not possible.

Your Learner Payment payment (also called a training allowance) is payable on receipt of signed and stamped F103 form at course start. We send an individualised F103  to all successful applicants. If you are on a qualifying social welfare payment, DEASP/INTREO will stamp and sign this for you.

Our courses for employment are free. If you can attend full time, you can apply for a place. Despite not qualifying for funding or a grant, you may still get a travel payment (if you live more than 3 miles/5km away from the campus location) or an accommodation payment (if you live more than 20 miles/32km away from the campus location).

Our courses for progression carry an acceptance fee of 130 euro. At present, travel or accommodation payments are not part of these courses. 

Kerry College has abolished all online application fees and is working to make Further Education & Training free for everyone in County Kerry.

The NCS (National Childcare Scheme) is now in place and provides childcare supports for those on full-time education and training programmes. Full details can be found on the webpage.

Get in touch with Kerry County Childcare Committee at (066) 718 1582 to discuss which childcare supports are available to you should you enroll on a full-time FET course.

Still have questions?

Contact the Kerry College Admissions Office on 066 714 9696 or

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