The Leaving Certificate Applied is a two-year Leaving Certificate, available to students who wish to follow a practical or vocationally orientated programme. It is one of three Leaving Certificate options offered by the Department of Education and Science.
The Leaving Certificate Applied is different in a number of ways:
- it is a distinct and self-contained programme made up of a number of courses
- it is a practical programme that makes wide use of active and student centred learning methodologies
- it includes seven Student Tasks that bring together the different learning experiences that the students have gained from the courses they have taken
- it uses a unique system of assessment. The students’ work is assessed over the two years of the programme and they gain credits as they go along. Practicals, interviews and terminal written papers are among the different forms of assessment used. The students’ communication, problem solving and practical skills are also assessed
As students complete their Leaving Certificate Applied course work they collect credits. It is possible to collect a total of 200 credits. A maximum of 62 credits are awarded for completing the required courses, 70 credits for the seven Student Tasks completed over the two years, and 68 credits for the examinations at the end of Year 2.
The Leaving Certificate Applied is awarded at three levels.
- Pass 120 – 139 credits (60% – 69%)
- Merit 140 – 169 credits (70% – 84%)
- Distinction 170 – 200 credits (85% – 100%)
Students who accumulate fewer than 60 credits will receive a Record of Experience.
Structure of the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme
The programme is divided into three main areas:
(i) Vocational Preparation
Work experience is essential to this element of the programme. Students are prepared for adult and working life through a range of courses and modules including English and Communication, Guidance, Jobsearch, Work Experience, Enterprise, Community Work and Work and Living.
(ii) Vocational Education
All students take courses in Mathematical Applications and an Introduction to Information and Communication Technology. They also choose two specialist courses from the following career related areas:
- Active Leisure Studies
- Childcare/Community Care
- Craft and Design
- Graphics and Construction Studies
- Hair and Beauty
- Hotel, Catering and Tourism
- Office Administration and Customer Care
- Information and Communications Technology
In Collinstown Park all students take Information and Communications Technology and one elective. Electives offered have included Agriculture / Horticulture, Craft and Design, Graphics and Construction studies, Engineering, Hair and Beauty and Hotel, Catering and Tourism.
(iii) General Education
Students experience a broader dimension to their education through courses in Arts Education, Gaeilge, Modern Languages/Sign Language, Leisure and Recreation and Social Education. Students can also take other approved elective courses such as Religious Education and Science.
Each of the courses mentioned above are designed on a modular basis. A module is of thirty hours duration. Students must take a total of 44 modules over the two-year course.
Options after the LCA
The options after the Leaving Certficate Applied are:
The programme places particular emphasis on preparation for the world of work. This Leaving Certificate has generated a good degree of interest among employers, who regard Leaving Certificate Applied students as being eligible to apply for many career vacancies in their organisations.
Further Education and Training
The Leaving Certificate Applied is accepted for most Post Leaving Certificate Courses (PLCs). Completing these courses will in many cases allow a student to progress to third level Institutes of Technology. The Leaving Certificate Applied provides access to most apprenticeships.
Graduates of the Leaving Certificate Applied do not have direct access to Higher Education through the Central Applications Office (CAO). However, graduates of the Leaving Certificate Applied who progress to an appropriate further education award can become eligible for admission to some third level courses in the Institutes of Technology and following that to some degree courses in the Institutes of Technology and in the Universities.