Leaving Certificate Applied


The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) is a distinct, self-contained 2 year Leaving Certificate programme which prepares students for adult and working life.

The programme aims to recognise the talents of all students and provide opportunities to develop personal responsibility, self-esteem and self-knowledge. The programme helps students apply what they learn to the real world.

The 2 year programme consists of 4 half-year blocks called sessions. Achievements are credited in each session.

Leaving Certificate 2022

The results of the Leaving Certificate Applied were published on Friday, 2 September 2022

The Leaving Certificate Applied 2022 examinations finished on 16 June 2022. An alternative set of exams also ran for students affected by family bereavement, COVID-19 illness and certain other categories of serious illness.

Read more about Leaving Certificate 2022.

Leaving Certificate Applied courses

Courses are offered in three main areas:

  • Vocational preparation, involving work experience, enterprise and communication
  • General education, offering life skills, the arts, social education, leisure and language
  • Vocational education.

Course structure

Each course consists of a number of modules. Each module takes place over half a year. There is also a wide range of practical courses, called vocational specialisms, from which the student can choose.

Assessment and examinations

Students are assessed continuously throughout the course and there is a final examination.

Students are assessed on the completion of modules and practical activities that allow you to integrate your learning from different courses.

The final examination must be taken in:

  • English and communication
  • Two vocational specialisms
  • Mathematical applications
  • Language
  • Social education.

There are written and oral examinations in all languages. There are practical examinations in the vocational specialisms. The written examinations usually take place in June, at the same time as the examinations for the established Leaving Certificate.

The certificate awarded

Students who successfully complete the programme are awarded a Leaving Certificate from the Department of Education. The certificate is awarded at three levels:

Level Marks and Credits Required
Pass 60-69% (120-139 credits)
Merit 70-84% (140-169 credits)
Distinction 85-100% (170-200 credits)

Candidates who get less than 60% (120 credits) or who do not complete the course, are awarded a record of experience.

Eligibility for further education and third-level courses

A student who is awarded the Leaving Certificate Applied can go on to a very wide range of Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs). These are available in local post-primary schools and colleges.

PLCs offer courses in Art/Design, Business, Science, Services/Leisure and Communications/Media studies.

PLC courses can lead on to an award recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). You can find out if your course is recognised by NFQ.

Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied cannot gain direct entry through the Central Applications Office (CAO) system to the universities or institutes of technology. Many PLC courses lead to either a level 5 or level 6 award. In some cases, you can progress with this award to a third level course in a higher education institution such as an institute of technology or a university. You should discuss your options for progression with your course provider.

Students cannot go directly to nursing but may be eligible to apply as a mature student with certain qualifications or relevant experience.

Students with the Leaving Certificate Applied can also go on to apprenticeship programmes. Many students go directly to employment.

Leaving Certificate exam fees

There was no exam fee for the Leaving Certificate 2022.

How to apply

If you are a post-primary school student, your details will be sent to the State Examinations Commission by your school. If you are an external (non-school) candidate for the Leaving Certificate Applied you can apply online or on the application form from the SEC.

You can find the following documents on the State Examinations Commission website:

Where to apply

State Examinations Commission


Tel: (090) 644 2700
Fax: (090) 644 2744

Curriculum Development Unit

Sundrive Road
Dublin 12

Tel: (01) 453 5487
Fax: (01) 453 7659
Page edited: 4 October 2022