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.


Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalists interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.

Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results, and prefer action to talking and discussing.
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Important advice before CAO deadline 2018

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Important advice before CAO deadline 2018

Tuesday, January 16, 2018 

Important advice before CAO deadline 2018

For students planning to go to college this year, the first of several important deadlines is fast approaching - the closing date for early bird online applications to CAO 2017 (30 Euro) is Friday 20th January at 5.15pm.

Getting started can be the most challenging part of making the CAO application for both parents and students. There is a myriad of advice out there, but there are two invaluable tools that will really help you with the application process right now:

The CAO CourseFinder Tool


And ...

The CAO Points Calculator App

The CAO CourseFinder tool will take the pain out of course research, making it quick and easy to find courses that suit your interests and allow you to explore them in detail. Any courses which you are interested in can then be saved to your Career File.

CourseFinder allows users to search the range of available undergraduate courses using any combination of filters including:

  • Career Interests
  • Career Sectors
  • Region
  • Colleges
  • CAO Points level;
  • Availability of QQI Progression routes
  • All New courses for 2018

Popular unique and additional filter options include:

  • Minimum Entry Requirements
  • No Maths required
  • Accepts Foundation Maths
  • Accepts Ordinary Maths
  • Lab Science not required
  • Modern Language not required

Results are instant with information available on Further Education and Training (FET) Progression Links as well as Career Options. Check it out here.

Favourite courses can be tagged and saved in the student’s FREE career file and accessed at any time from any device where a user has the option to print and compare saved courses. You can use it to tag favourite courses, print out the list and compare them. To save your research more permanently, simply register for a free Career File here.

Calculating CAO Points

This is the second year of the revised Leaving Cert grading system and CAO points scale, and parents and students may still be feeling a little uncertain. Help is at hand in the form of this easy-to-use CAO Points Calculator from Simply input your (anticipated) grades, and the calculator will do the rest for you.

It is always a good idea to ensure that your course list includes one or two courses for which you are confident you will achieve the entry requirements. Courses that are traditionally in high demand will continue to require high points for entry. Meanwhile, courses where demand is low, relative to the number of available places, will have lower points.

Points Calculator App for iPad, iPhone and Android

Be ready for the mock exams and download the Leaving Cert CAO Points Calculator app. Calculate your CAO points instantly based on your exam results.

Download your FREE Android Leaving Cert CAO Points Calculator App NOW! 


Download your FREE Apple Leaving Cert CAO Points Calculator App NOW! 

Early-bird deadline: 20th January 2018

Students who make their application on or before 20th January at 5.15pm will pay a reduced fee of €30.00. After this, the application fee increases to €45.00 until the 1st February deadline, which is the final date for including any restricted courses on your CAO application.

Restricted Courses: 1st February 2018

Certain courses are Restricted-Application Courses. They have early assessment procedures which may start as early as February. You must check the relevant prospectus for details.

In the lists of courses in the CAO Handbook, these courses are identified by the words "(Restricted - see page 3)". You can also search for restricted courses here 

A CAO application for a Restricted-Application Course will not be considered unless

  • it has been included among your original course choices by 1st February


  • it has been added to your existing application not later than the final date for correction of errors or omissions (see pages 14 and 15). This date will normally be 1st March and it is your responsibility to ensure that any Restricted-Application Courses are present and correct by that date.

Restricted-Application Courses which are included in Late Applications are invalid choices and will not be considered.

If a restricted course shares the exact same assessment procedures with a course you had applied for by 1st February (fulfilling conditions a) or b) above), you may be permitted to introduce it on a Change of Mind.

You should consult with the relevant HEI before introducing such a course.

A restricted course is any course that requires a test, an interview, a portfolio or an audition as part of the application process.

However, it is important to remember that there is plenty of time to revisit your application in the weeks and months ahead, once you have made a start. Choices made now, with the exception of restricted courses, can be changed right up until the 1st July final deadline.

Key Dates

  • 20th Jaunary 2018 - CAO application Deadline for reduced application fee (€30.00) 
  • 1st February 5.15pm - Normal CAO application deadline with full fee (€45.00)
  • 1st March 5.15pm - CAO Change of Mind Facility Closes but reopens at a later date

A full list of key dates for 2018 can be Key Dates.

The CareersPortal Team