Regional Technical Colleges

The Regional Technical College system was established in Ireland around 1970 with 9 colleges, subsequently increased to 11. The Colleges, originally established under the Vocational Education system to provide apprentice and technician education, rapidly outgrew their original remit, and are now autonomous institutions providing a full range of 3rd-level courses mainly in the Business, Engineering and Science areas.

Entry-level courses in the Colleges, aimed at school leavers, normally are of two years duration; students who successfully complete them are awarded a National Certificate. Students who achieve an honours grade (Merit or Distinction) in the National Certificate are eligible to enter a one-year National Diploma course in the same discipline; as not all colleges offer National Diploma courses in all disciplines, the students may transfer to another college to continue their studies. Some colleges also offer Degree courses in some disciplines, generally as a one or two year post-Diploma course for those with an honours grade.

In addition to the add-on Diplomas and Degrees, some colleges also offer ab-initio courses where students enroll for a three or four year course instead of the incremental 2 + 1 + 1 approach.

Institute of Technology

In 1997, the Minister for Education changed the titles of the Colleges in the sector to "Institute of Technology", to more closely reflect the nature of their work and courses.

There are Institutes of Technology (former RTC's) in:

and, with a different history,

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AK 6th May 1998