College choice: the ultimate careers guide

Which course, which college and why

 

College choices. Maybe you’re lucky and you’ve already got it all figured out. Or maybe you’re unlucky enough to think you have it all figured out.

There’s a lot to consider. First and foremost: the course, and the area of study you are most interested in. Second, think about the location: if you live in Limerick, Galway, Cork, Dublin, Kildare or Meath, you have more chance of being able to stay at home during college, but if you’re in, say, Longford or Donegal, your choice is either to stay at home and go to the nearest institute of technology or for your family to get the money together for you to go to college farther away.

Do you go with what really interests you or what you perceive to be a more practical option? What are the job prospects? How much might you earn? Are the CAO points realistic? Read on: it’s covered in our 2015 career guide.

 

Humanities and social science

Why humanities? Because you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, and a humanities (also known as arts) degree means you can defer that decision. That’s certainly the most common view on why students might plump for the humanities, but it’s a little simplistic. The majority of subjects on an arts course – yes, even philosophy; yes, even English – have a value in the real world.

Humanities students generally have a broad menu of options, including disciplines such as geography, drama, politics and maths, alongside less familiar options including folklore, creative writing, and Jewish studies. Social science degrees focus more on social issues, with students taking modules in social policy, sociology, politics and economics.

Although continuous assessment has increased the pressure on humanities and social science graduates, they still have much more free time than, for instance, engineering or medical students, and they have traditionally used this extra time to get involved in college clubs and societies, student newspapers and student politics.

Job prospects
Humanities graduates have traditionally fared well in the civil and public service, teaching, journalism, culture and heritage, but those with relevant postgrad qualifications are as likely to be found in the business world. Social science graduates have a natural home in policy, social work, and the NGO sector. Psychology is useful in a variety of fields as well as psychotherapy practice. Economics graduates have prospects in financial services and smaller businesses. Most of all, however, employers are screaming out for language graduates, and wily students choose humanities for this very reason. And as for philosophy, history, and English? Leaving aside their intrinsic value, they help wire the brain to research and analyse often complex information from multiple angles, and then communicate it. Employers value those skills.

Where to do it
It’s of the most widely offered course options in Ireland, with humanities available in every university and private college, and most institutes of technology.

Most arts courses, with the notable exception of Trinity College Dublin’s two-subject moderatorship programme, allow students to pick and mix their subjects after they start college. Arts at UCD is in no danger of losing its position as Ireland’s most popular college course, but NUI Galway has a really interesting suite of creative courses that are well worth a look. Teacher training colleges offer humanities courses as well. Social science options are available in UCD, UCC, Maynooth University and WIT.

Salary expectations
These vary hugely. Most graduates of humanities and social science will earn more money if they do a postgraduate course; language graduates will walk into a job. A qualified social worker, meanwhile, will start on €43,000+ a year.

Some chief executives on six-figure sums are arts graduates, but so are many people in low- to middle-income admin jobs. The average starting salary, according to a recent study by the Irish Central Bank, is down 19.1 per cent from 2007 to just €19,748 in 2012.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Arts, UCD: 340 Economics (as part of two-subject moderatorship) Trinity College: 490-570 Arts with human rights, NUI Galway: 380 Social science, Maynooth University: 380

 

Science

Why science?
Because it’s a highly valued degree that trains you to think logically, structurally and analytically. Because it’s a course where you learn all about how the world works and how you can test whether you’re right or wrong. And because science graduates have a diverse range of career options – don’t think you’re necessarily going to spend your days in a lab wearing a white coat; you could equally find yourself working in computers, finance, or even the heritage and tourism industry.

Science is a broad term for a vast range of disciplines, and this can be a surprise to graduates who are familiar with the natural sciences of physics, chemistry and biology. Sure, you’ll find these on college campuses, but you’ll also find geology, zoology, pharmacology, genetics, astronomy and nanotechnology, which studies and manipulates the tiniest atoms and molecules to create new objects and devices. Increasingly, higher-education institutions are encouraging students to take broad and general science degrees before choosing to specialise in their second or third year.

Job prospects
You’re unlikely to have major difficulty getting a job, but most science graduates go on to postgrad study and this improves employment prospects. Research and development, quality assurance and control, clinical trials, and regulation are some of the main employment areas, while biomedical clusters in Galway and pharmaceutical industries in Dublin and Cork also provide opportunities. According to the most recent National Skills Bulletin, there are particular job shortages in microbiology, product development and pharmaceuticals.

Where to do it
It’s worth considering choosing a common-entry science course before specialising later. UCD, Trinity, Maynooth, DIT, the GMIT and NUI Galway are among colleges offering general degrees, while the University of Limerick’s Science Choice course is designed to give students a taster of different science areas.

On the other hand, if you know exactly what science speciality you want, Dublin City University and University College Cork are good options.

There’s no shortage of places to study science, but the best courses are in those institutions with the best research profiles, because you’ll be taught by leading academics in the field and you’ll have more chance to engage in research yourself.

A few places stand out, and Trinity College is at the top of the pile. It has a world-class reputation and, according to international rankings, is one of the world’s top 100 universities for the biological sciences as well as pharmacy and pharmacology. It also scores well in immunology and nanoscience.

Salary expectations
According to gradireland, the average starting salary for a science graduate is €25,000. Medical laboratory scientists can earn €33,000-€50,400 (gradireland), a pharmacist in Dublin can earn between €50,000 and €70,000 (Morgan McKinley), a regulatory affairs officer will start on €29,000 and can earn up to €55,000 (CPL Recruitment) and a clinical operations manager can make from €55,000 to a high well over €79,000 a year.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Science, Trinity College: 515 DNA and Forensic Analysis, IT Tallaght: 355 Science choice, UL: 365 Genetics, UCC: 470

 

Engineering and Technology

Why engineering and technology?
Because maybe you were that kid who loved Lego and jigsaw puzzles. Because you want a technical and inventive job. Because you love maths and computers. And because you want a promising career with excellent salary and employment prospects.

Engineering is all about identifying a problem and figuring out a solution, whether how to create a medical device that can deliver the right drug to a patient, getting a human to Mars by 2030 or alleviating the worst effects of climate change.

Engineering is closely linked to science, technology and maths, with most college courses divided into chemical, civil, electrical and mechanical options. But there are many other fields of interest, with aerospace engineering, biomedical devices, energy engineering, manufacturing engineering and software engineering among the major growth areas in Ireland. Computer scientists have been in demand for a long time and that demand shows no sign of abating.

Job prospects
It seems like there’s an announcement of engineering and technology jobs almost every other day, with E-Mit Solutions in Dublin, Magico in Clare, Asystec in Limerick, Avaya in Galway and tech giant Amazon in Dublin all creating hundreds of new jobs.

Employers value the problem-solving skills of engineers but it does tend to be a particularly mobile job; if work dries up at home, they may need to look abroad. Prospects for civil engineers can fluctuate – they plummeted during the most recent recession – they’ll also find work abroad. The best prospects of all, however, are for electronic engineers, where shortages are projected long past 2019: Name your price.

Where to do it
Much like with science, there’s been a move away from specialised engineering courses to common entry, with students at UCD, Cork Institute of Technology, DIT, Trinity College, DCU, NUI Galway and UL all offering general entry courses; students choose a specialisation in second year.

Direct-entry options reign supreme at UCC, where students enter a first-year course in process and chemical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, energy engineering or other choices. At Maynooth University, there’s a focus on electronic engineering.

Computer science students, meanwhile, should look at UCD, which is the highest ranked course of its kind in Europe. DCU is also building a strong reputation here.

Although the universities generally have strong research profiles for engineering, this is an area where the institutes of technology – specialists in technical education with strong links to industry and strong employment prospects for graduates – really hold their own. For students in search of a job in Ireland’s thriving computer games industry, there are courses at Athlone IT, IT Carlow, IT Tralee, Limerick IT and Letterkenny IT. Sustainable energy engineering options include a BSc in Enviromental Science & Sustainable Technology at CIT and Sustainable Energy Engineering at Waterford Institute of Technology.

Salary expectations
Graduates can expect to be among Ireland’s top earners. According to gradireland, engineers and manufacturing professionals start on €30,000, while IT and telecoms professionals kick off careers at €29,000.

This rises fast. According to global professional recruitment consultancy Morgan McKinley, a chemical engineer in Dublin starts on €33,000 and can climb up to €70,000 after just five years. Electrical engineers outside Dublin have an impressive starting salary of €37,000-€42,000 which rises to between €45,000 and €55,000 after five years. Data from international human capital firm Payscale puts a software engineer on a starting salary of €26,424, rising up to just under €60,000; the firm points out that most people move on from this career into other higher paid IT roles within 20 years.

Selection of CAO points, 2014
Computer science, UCD: 470 Sustainable energy engineering, WIT: 285 Common-entry engineering, DCU: 375 Biomedical engineering, NUI Galway: 420

 

Business

Why business?
Because every business – from medicine to journalism, from agriculture to retail and even the creative arts – needs people with commercial nous and an ability to work out a plan for the future, or keep an eye on the figures. Because you like the cut-and-thrust of negotiating deals, or maybe you simply enjoy ploughing through numbers, or the challenge of sales.

Business is more diverse than it seems: you won’t necessarily be at a desk in a big financial firm. Students can choose two main paths: working with numbers in accounting, banking or actuarial roles, or working with people in jobs including procurement and supply chain, sales and marketing, and human relations.

Business courses increasingly offer valuable work placements, while careers in business probably offer the greatest chance for international travel. And did we mention that some business people (think of the bankers, won’t someone please think of the bankers) are among the highest paid of any profession in the world?

Where to do it
The best option for business students is to study it alongside a language, wherever possible. UCD has emerged as a big beast here, with its commerce course proving consistently popular and growing numbers taking it with German, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, Italian, French and – with an eye on the major market of Brazil – Portuguese.

But Trinity’s business, economics and social studies (BESS) degree option also draws a large crowd and has a strong reputation for the quality of its lecturers and the interdisciplinary of the course.

Other big players include DCU’s business school and the ambitious and fiercely competitive Kemmy Business School at UL. Both offer an innovative selection of courses, including a BA in global business (USA) at DCU and a BSc in economics and mathematical sciences at UL.

The other universities and institute of technologies offer a big range of business courses, as does National College of Ireland, and private colleges such as Dublin Business School and Griffith College.

Unusual options include the bachelor of business studies (BBS equine business) at NUI Maynooth – perfect if you’re interested in a career in Ireland’s well-established and successful horseracing industry.

Job prospects
For all its faults, the financial services industry is a major employer in Ireland and, with every new company that sets up here, there will be potentially lucrative job opportunities for business graduates. Entrepreneurs who set up their own business may be from science, technology, arts, agriculture or other backgrounds, but they need business expertise. Indeed, if you’re thinking of setting up your own company, a business degree is invaluable. From the smallest businesses employing fewer than 10 people to the biggest multinational firms, business graduates are valued.

Many big firms, particularly the big accountancy firms, take on graduates from business, science or even humanities backgrounds and offer further training and professional development opportunities. And if you’ve studied an international language with a business qualification, unemployment is a very unlikely prospect.

Salary expectations
Rather sky-high. Rightly or wrongly, chief executives can earn six-, or even seven-, figure sums. UCC says the starting salary for commerce graduates averaged at €24,000 in 2011. According to a salary survey by Morgan McKinley, a project accountant can earn up to €60,000 in their first year, rising to €70,000 after five years; a digital account manager will start on €30,000-€45,000; and a head of digital marketing can earn up to €90,000 after five years.

Those with postgrad business qualifications will, perhaps unsurprisingly, earn even more.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Commerce international, UCD: 510 Equine business, Maynooth University: 355 Commerce with Chinese studies, UCC: 405 Accounting, Galway-Mayo IT: 265

 

Health Sciences

Why health sciences?
Because you’ve always wanted to be a doctor. Or a nurse. Or a vet. Or a physiotherapist. Or a dentist. Okay, this one can be a bit of a vocation, and there’s a massive difference in the salary between a consultant doctor and a hospital nurse.

Health-science courses, as a whole, are probably the most competitive of all CAO choices, and it’s far from easy to get into medicine or dentistry. The HPat, which measures aptitude for medicine, has been credited with lowering CAO points, but it remains controversial.

Where to do it
Many students of health science – unlike, for instance, agriculture students – will find options close to home. Trinity leads in the international rankings, followed by UCC, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and UCD. NUI Galway also has an undergraduate medical course. It’s RCSI, however, which can probably claim to have the best overall suite of health courses, and collaboration between its academics also means the college has a strong research profile.

Nursing is one of the most widely available courses in Ireland, with options in all seven universities and six institutes of technology including Dundalk IT, Letterkenny IT, and Athlone. Options include general nursing, intellectual disability nursing and psychiatric nursing. DCU offers an integrated children’s and general nursing degree. Students interested in midwifery can look at UCD, Trinity, NUI Galway, UL, UCC and Dundalk IT.

Dentistry may require relocation, with only UCC and Trinity as options. If you’re looking at physiotherapy, Trinity, UCD and UL are all good options. Pharmacy is concentrated around Dublin, with courses in UCD, Trinity and RCSI, but UCC also takes in pharmacy students. Trinity is ranked in the world’s top 100 universities for pharmacy.

Finally, UCD has a radiography degree and DIT offers Ireland’s only optometry course.

Job prospects
There’s been significant focus on the relatively high numbers of Irish doctors and nurses emigrating to better pay and conditions overseas. Almost 8 per cent of graduate doctors left Ireland in 2013, although the majority did stay. On average, about 900 of approximately 1,300 nurses apply to bring their registration abroad each year: the Irish Nurses and Midwives union believes the majority of new nurses seek work overseas, with most choosing the UK, Canada and Australia. It’s likely the Government will move on this by 2020, but there’s no guarantee. Physiotherapists are still struggling to find work in Ireland. Dentistry graduates have almost full employment.

Salary expectations
Starting salaries are low for nurses, and are better abroad. A staff nurse will earn an average of €32,328 per year, although a director of nursing can earn close to €80,000. Doctors start off on €30,000 but specialist registrars earn almost €80,000, while academic consultants can earn well into the six figures. Dentists have an impressive starting salary of about €50,000, which increases quite quickly. A radiographer starts at about €34,000. Graduates in retail pharmacy start at about €60,000.

Selection of CAO points, 2014
Medicine, Trinity College: 733 Dentistry, UCC: 575 Physiotherapy, UL: 555 Pharmacy, RCSI: 555 General nursing, Dundalk IT: 405

 

Agriculture, Food Science & Veterinary Medicine

Why agriculture and food science?
Because agriculture and food science is a major growth area with excellent job prospects. Because it’s not about standing in a field and feeding cows or planting seeds; it’s increasingly about how we sustainably feed the world, and without these college courses, billions will die. Because veterinary students marry scientific thinking with caring for and working with animals.

Agriculture is surprisingly cross-disciplinary, with students exploring chemistry and biology alongside economics and business. Horticulture may be of interest to those who like gardening and want to make a living from it, while those who love the great outdoors might consider forestry courses.

Where to do it
Do it in UCD. Nowhere else in Ireland can match the quality of teaching and research for agriculture, food science and veterinary science courses. First-year agriculture students in UCD can take a broad, common-entry course before specialising at a later date in food and agribusiness management, animal science, engineering technology, or animal and crop production. They can also, however, pick their specialist option on the CAO form. UCD is also the only place in Ireland to offer veterinary medicine.

WIT has a well-respected level 8 agriculture course. After that, the main options are level 7 courses in some specialist colleges and institutes of technology.

UCD has, over the past decade, proven particularly strong in food science and nutritional science, and UCC and DIT also have well-respected nutritional science courses.

Job prospects
Job prospects are excellent in Ireland’s agri-food sector, which has been the unsung success story of the past decade. There’s a thriving export sector, while Irish researchers are working on major projects around genetics, global food systems, environmental sustainability, and new crops. Unemployed veterinary science graduates are very rare.

Salary expectations
According to Teagasc, the basic entry level for an agricultural science graduate working as an adviser or research officer is about €35,000. In 2013, average full-time dairy farm income was €64,000. According to Payscale, the average salary of a vet is €36,128, but many earn more than €70,000 with a few years experience.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Agricutural science, UCD: 465 Agricultural science, WIT: 430 Veterinary medicine, UCD: 580 Nutritional sciences, UCC: 495

Architecture/construction

Why architecture and construction?
Because it’s the right career for people who enjoyed technical subjects at school, such as technical graphics, woodwork and technology (although being good at technical graphics doesn’t mean you’ll be a good architect). Because it is a rewarding career for those who have the aptitude for it. Because it is a highly mobile profession: even if construction plummets here again, the skills of surveyors, construction workers and architects will always be in demand somewhere in the world. And because there are lots of career development opportunities and chances to carve out roles in private practice, commercial organisations, Government or local authorities.

Job prospects
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland anticipates a demand for workers in the property and construction sectors well into 2020 – but that assumes there won’t be a massive building boom followed by another collapse. New building regulations are also creating new employment opportunities. If there is another property bust, graduates from property and construction courses have a background in finance, economics, project management, technology and law, and employers value those skills. Where to do it It’s possible that there are too many architecture courses, but this gives more students the option to live at home during college. DIT, UCC, WIT, UL and CIT have courses, but UCD’s is the oldest and most established. DIT is particularly strong on property, surveying and construction courses, while GMIT, Dundalk IT, Limerick IT and WIT all have options.

Salary expectations
A design architect earns an average salary of €31,466 a year, according to Payscale, but the Royal Institute of Architects Ireland points out that salaries vary hugely in the profession. A partner or director in a firm can earn more than €100,000, according to gradireland.

Hays Recruitment says a project manager usually earns about €55,000, while a quantity surveying graduate starts on €25,000 and the typical salary for a senior quantity surveyor is €50,000, although it can be as high as €60,000.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Architecture, UCD: 490 Architectural technology, CIT: 285 Architecture, UL: 385 Quantity surveying and construction economics, DIT: 320

Law

Why law?
Because it is less specialised than people believe, and law students learn the arts of analysis, research and logical thinking. It’s hard to think of another course that so efficiently trains graduates to spot loopholes and flaws, and how to fix them. Law can be a financially and personally fulfilling career with a variety of specialisms, including banking, property, family, company, EU, intellectual property, human rights and criminal. But it’s worth bearing in mind that, contrary to popular belief, it can be a real struggle for barristers to find work, and many are abandoning the profession.

Where to do it
Lots of options here, including UCD, Trinity, DIT, Maynooth, NUI Galway, UCC and UL. Griffith, an independent college, has a strong reputation for a relatively low-points course. UL’s Law Plus course allows students to take law with a second subject (including include psychology, politics, history or a European language).

Job prospects
Definitely better than three years ago, when the property crash hit the demand for conveyancing. Bear in mind that anyone who wants to work as a solicitor or barrister can’t just do an undergraduate course: they have to pass further exams. That said, lots of employers are keen to take on law graduates because they have broadly useful skills; many work in banking or tax, while others work for NGOs or public-service organisations such as the new Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, or in the probation services.

Salary expectations
Salaries can be higher than in most other sectors of the economy. [Payscale puts average pay for a solicitor at €44,659 a year, but many solicitors will earn more than double this.] According to Sigmar Recruitment, a newly qualified solicitor starts on between €25,000 and €50,000, while a salaried partner in Dublin can earn from €75,000 to €200,000 – not to be sniffed at.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Law, Maynooth University: 450 Law, Griffith College Dublin: 305 Business and law, UCD: 520 Law Plus, UL: 425

Teaching

Why teaching?
Because you can imagine yourself working with children and young people to change their lives for the better. Because you are good at listening to and understanding people. Because you enjoy projects, ideas and perhaps delving into a particular subject. The holidays are a bonus, but most teachers work incredibly hard – if you’re in it only for the long summers, you’re making the wrong choice.

Primary and post-primary teaching are very different animals, with primary teaching having a much broader curriculum and more freedom for teachers not confined to preparing students for an exam.

Where to do it
Primary teaching is a specialist degree while, in most instances, secondary school teachers do a general undergraduate degree before a graduate diploma in education. St Patrick’s Drumcondra, the Church of Ireland College of Education and Mater Dei Institute of Education (both part of DCU from 2015), Marino Institute of Education in Dublin, and Mary Immaculate College of Education in Limerick all train primary teachers, as does the private online Hibernia College. Primary teaching can also be studied as a postgraduate addition to a primary degree.

Since Froebel became available at Maynooth University, it has become the most popular teacher-training course in Ireland, and it’s leading the way in research too. It offers the full suite of teacher training from preschool through to adult and community education. PE teachers can train at UL. DCU offers specialist science teacher training and St Angela’s in Sligo has home economics teacher training.

Job prospects
As it stands, it depends on what you teach. The Irish National Teachers Organisation says that there will be good career opportunities for primary teachers into the foreseeable future. Secondary school teachers don’t have it so easy, although the numbers in secondary school will rise in coming years, creating new jobs at a time when older teachers are retiring. Home economics teachers continue to have excellent employment prospects.

Salary expectations
Whisper it: Irish teachers, despite the cuts of recent years, are still among the best paid in the world. Controversially, new teachers are paid less than their older colleagues. Teachers start off on just under €29,000 while teachers at the top of the scale are on €59,359, but teachers earn allowances for taking on extra work or additional qualifications.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Primary teaching, Maynooth University: 510 PE teaching, UL: 485 Primary teaching, St Patrick’s, Drumcondra: 465

Media/communications

Why media and communications?
Because you love writing and you’re good at it. Because you like research and investigation. Because, crucially, you believe you will be able to get people to talk to you. And because, despite the slow demise of the traditional print media, there are new opportunities opening up all the time in the digital sphere – and don’t forget about TV, radio and film. This industry also includes web developers and designers, SEO specialists, technical directors and advertising sales.

Where to do it
Most journalists and career guidance experts try to steer students away from undergradaute journalism degrees. If you’re really serious about a career in the media, it’s far better to get a broad, general degree and take on journalism as a postgraduate course. Choose a college with a vibrant student media – UCD and Trinity are particularly strong – and get involved. Build up your portfolio for a journalism postgraduate course. If you are set on an undergraduate communications course, DCU is a clear leader, while NUIG, UL, Maynooth, DIT and private colleges such as Griffith and Dublin Business School also offer courses. The most important skills for upcoming journalists are digital, digital and digital, while the best writers in the world will fall flat if they don’t learn how to pitch to editors.

Job prospects
Good writers who know what editors are looking for will find opportunities, but it’s a fiercely competitive market. Look to digital for the most interesting prospects. Many journalists jump to the ‘dark side’ of public relations, where the growth of social media has created real opportunities.

Salary expectations
Freelancers can earn a little, or a decent amount, but it depends on how much and how well they can write, and whether they can persuade editors to publish it. According to Prosperity, Ireland’s leading digital, marketing, media and design recruitment company, journalists start on €20,000-25,000 and this can rise to over €45,000.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Journalism, DCU: 440 Digital media, Maynooth University: 360 Media and public relations, IT Carlow: 285 Film and television production (includes portfolio points) IADT 945

Creative arts

Why creative arts?
Because you’re an artist. Or because you’re a performer. Maybe you’ve been singing or writing music or drawing or acting since you were small. The creative arts, except for a tiny few, isn’t the most lucrative career choice, but it certainly seems to be among the most enjoyable.

Where to do it
Most drama and music courses require a portfolio or early application. Visual arts courses, including those at the National College of Art and Design and the Institute of Art, Design & Technology (IADT), also require a portfolio; [if you’re in sixth year, you probably should have built most of this up by now]. DIT has excellent music courses and, for anyone interested in contemporary music, there’s DIT’s BIMM (aka “School of Rock”) courses.

For drama, NUI Galway has a suite of courses that are closely linked to the city’s rich theatre culture and which, crucially, allow students to take a more practical subject with drama studies. Trinity College has a prestigious drama course. For animation, film and television, and photography, IADT has an excellent reputation. Griffith, a private college, has degrees in fashion and interior architecture.

It’s worth noting, however, that many of the best places to study drama, art and music are outside of the CAO, including the Royal Irish Academy of Music, the Lir Academy, and Ballyfermot College of Further Education.

Job prospects
Ahem. Career prospects for musicians aren’t great: digital makes it easier to get your work out there but it’s harder than ever to make money. Actors don’t get into it for the steady work. Many people in the creative arts will supplement their income with teaching, community arts work, or arts administration.

Salary expectations
Lower them. That said, if you’re happy to earn a living and not be an international star, session musicians can charge about €3,000 per job. Actors rarely earn more than €12,000 a year and have to supplement their income. Visual artists do struggle in the early years but, if they’re good enough, some can earn decent or even very good money. Those working in arts administration make, on average, between €50,000 and €55,000, but chief executives or directors can earn upwards of €60,000, or even €70,000.

Selection of CAO points 2014
Arts with drama, theatre and performance studies, NUI Galway: 405 Fine art, CIT (includes portfolio): 400 Commercial modern music, DIT (includes portfolio): 860 Animation, IADT (includes portfolio): 955

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