Until 1991, in addition to meeting certain academic requirements in the leaving certificate, candidates wishing to train as primary teachers were required to pass a test in oral Irish, to undergo a test in music and to appear before an interview board to determine their suitability for a course of training as a primary teacher. Since 1992, as part of the general improvement and streamlining of procedures for entry to institutions of higher education, applications for entry to the colleges of education have been processed through the Central Applications Office.
The suitability of students for a career in teaching is carefully monitored and assessed by the colleges of education during their course of training, with the objective of identifying those students who are unsuited to teaching. All the colleges of education have courses in arts education, and music is available in both Mary Immaculate College and St. Patrick's College as an academic option to degree level. Music is also available to students in these two colleges as an elective in their third year.