About Colleges of Education

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If you want to become a primary school teacher in Ireland, you must train at one of the various Colleges of Education around the country. All colleges provide students with a Bachelors Degree in Education (BEd) and prepare students to teach subjects at primary level. They also provide teaching skills to look after a class of children.

You can enter a College of Education directly from the Leaving Cert through the CAO system. The courses are generally full-time in duration and take three years. The core courses study the Irish and English languages, as well as language development and mathematics. Other areas taught within the primary curriculum include music, art, physical education and environmental studies.
Some Colleges of Education offer full-time degree courses, which provide full training and preparation for a career as a post-primary Home Economics or Religion teacher. Secondary school teachers of other subjects usually take an undergraduate degree at another college or university and then proceed toward a one year Higher Diploma in Education (commonly known as the H. Dip).

The Colleges of Education are either attached to, or have links with, a university. The university oversees standards and officially sanctions the degrees. Historically, religion has played a huge role in the Irish education sector, and the Colleges of Education have traditionally had very close links with the major churches. As Irish society becomes more diverse, with children from a variety of backgrounds filling an increasing number of seats in the country’s classrooms, teacher training is adapting to these changes in society.

As the Irish language is very important in Irish primary schools, a good standard of Irish is currently an entry requirement for courses in primary teacher education. In certain cases, allowances can be made to get around this restriction.

Colleges of Education can offer the opportunity to study for an honours degree, which entails a fourth year of study. Students can take this immediately after finishing their basic degree, or come back a few years later. Students may work as full-time teachers while taking this fourth year of study.

Some Colleges of Education provide other courses besides Education degrees – these are generally in subjects related to education or arts and humanities.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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