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Ecology and Practical Fieldwork (Applied Ecology)

This course is highly practical and focuses on the key skills and knowledge necessary for working in an ecologically based role. Learners will be able to demonstrate strategies and practices to help foster a more environmentally-friendly society.

Available through CAO
  • Reference
  • Location
  • Type
  • Duration
    40 weeks
  • Certification
    QQI Level 5
  • Fees
    No Fees
  • Start date
Apply now

What will I study?

  • Biological Diversity (5N1568)
  • Biology (5N2746)
  • Ecological Field Methods (5N1439)
  • Permaculture Design (5N1617)
  • Plant Identification & Use (5N2527)
  • Plant Science (5N2528)
  • Sustainable Water Management (5N5027)
  • Team-working (5N1367)
  • Work Experience (5N1356)

Where will I study?

This unique course will be delivered at in Killarney, with many of the practical elements 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.
Being in the heart of Ireland’s premiere National Park will provide an ideal location for the Level 5 Ecology course.

Why should I apply?

If you are interested in working outdoors and have an interest and passion for the natural environment, this is the course for you. This course gives you the foundation needed 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 and this course will support you in becoming a contributing member to the solution of this global emergency.

In Ireland in recent years, with increases in environmental awareness and realisation of some of our obligations to environmental issues, the scope for employment in the environmental and ecological fields has increased dramatically. Additionally, we have recognised the importance of this type of knowledge in all sectors. As a learner on this course, we will give you the skills and knowledge to apply environmental principles and knowledge to any of the sectors you may end up working in.

Successful participants on the course could also progress to a range of higher certificate and degree programmes.

This course is a path to explore the different educational and employment opportunities in the environmental sector.

What are the progression opportunities?

Graduates may 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 in Applied Plant Biology, Earth Science, Ecology & Environmental Biology, Environmental Science or Zoology
  • Munster Technological University (MTU) – Tralee – 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


Additionally, learners may choose to progress directly into the job market and bring their ecological knowledge to the works and practices of any sector. This type of expertise will hopefully see the decisions made in all sectors centred around the sustainability of our environment.

What are the employment opportunities?

Learners may seek employment with organisations such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service as general operatives, gardeners, horticultural assistants or rangers. The Office of Public Works and other organisations that manage estates, gardens and historic sites as general operatives, horticultural assistants also offer potential for employment. Learners from this course could work with ecological consultants assisting with field surveys, habitat assessments, flora & fauna surveys & monitoring. Additionally, one could become a self-employed carrying out ecological surveying and recording. Another avenue for employment is with Coillte and the forestry sector in tree nurseries and woodland management. With a variety of environmental organisations working on sustainability initiatives for communities (both rural & urban) a learner is sure to find employment suited to their newly acquired skills and knowledge.

What are the entry requirements?


  • Applicants must have reached the current statutory school leaving age (16+).
  • Leaving Cert, LCVP, LCA or QQI Level 4 Major Award is essential.
  • Mature applicant route available for applicants aged 23+.
  • Competent written and spoken English (CEFR B2 or Higher).
  • Non-EU/EEA applicants must have permission to work in Ireland.


  • An interest in ecology, sustainability and biodiversity.
  • Good numerical skills.
  • Basic Computer IT/Skills.
  • Leaving Cert Biology or equivalent is desirable.
  • A driving licence is desirable.
  • Garda vetting is a requirement for this programme and participation is subject to a satisfactory outcome of the Garda vetting process.

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 Killorglin Campus by telephone on 066 976 9244 or email [email protected]

For information on how to apply, contact our Kerry College Admissions Offices by telephone on 066 714 96 96 or 064 662 25 93 by email: [email protected]

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.

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.

Applicants are allowed to have a maximum of three live applications for full-time Kerry College courses.

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 Tralee Admissions team on 066-714 96 96 or Killarney Admissions team on 064-662 25 93.

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 Tralee Admisisons Office on 066-714 96 96 or Killarney Admissions Office on 064- 662 25 93 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 are free. 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 our Kerry College Admissions Offices –  Tralee on 066 714 9696, Killarney on 064 662 2593 or [email protected]

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