The Leaving Certificate Applied Programme


What is the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme?

LCA stands for Leaving Certificate Applied. It is a two-year programme aimed at preparing students for adult and working life. It is marked differently to the traditional Leaving Certificate established programme but it is still a gateway to third level education.

The Leaving Certificate Applied is a distinct, self-contained Leaving Certificate programme and it is structured around three main elements- Vocational Preparation, Vocational Education and General Education- which are inter-related and independent. This programme is characterised by educational experiences of an active, practical and student-centred nature.

The Leaving Certificate Applied (LCA) is a two-year programme, available to students who wish to follow a practical or vocational orientated programme. The word ‘applied’ is used because the programme is designed to allow the students to apply the learning and experiences they gain over the two years of the programme to practical educational tasks at school, in the workplace and in the wider community.

What is different about the Leaving Certificate Applied?

LCA 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 use of active and student-centred learning methodologies.

  • It includes seven Student Tasks that bring together learning experiences, that the students gain from the courses they take.

  • It uses a unique system of assessment. The students’ work is assessed over the two years of the programme, which are divided up into four sessions and they gain credits as they go along. Practical interviews and terminal written papers are among the different forms of assessment used. The students’ communication, problem solving and practical skills are also assessed.

Programme Requirements

The LCA programme consists of a range of courses, each designed on a modular basis. A module is of thirty hours duration. Each year of the two-year programme is divided into two sessions, September to January and February to June, to facilitate the modular structure of the course. A module within a given course is usually completed within a session. Over the two-year programme the participants will complete 44 modules.

Courses/Subjects available in Crana College for LCA

Vocational Preparation:

Vocational Preparation and Guidance - Career Guidance and Enterprise

English and Communication

Vocational Education:

Vocational Specialisms - 2 full courses: Engineering/ Graphics & Construction, Craft & Design

Mathematical Applications

Introduction to Information and Communication Technology

General Education:

Social Education - Health and Social Education and Contemporary Issues


Arts Education - Drama/ Music

Leisure and Recreation (including PE)

Elective Modules:


Hair & Beauty/Mechanics

NOTE: If any student has an exemption from Irish at Junior Cycle it carries over to the LCA course also, but the student may not be exempt from Modern European Languages.

How are students awarded Credits?

As students complete their LCA course 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 two. Students who accumulate fewer than 60 credits will receive a Record of Experience.

Credits are marks which are given to students after the completion of Key Assignments. A Key Assignment is like a piece of homework each student must complete in each module or course. Each module has 4 Key Assignments that must be completed during each session over the two-year programme. Each module is awarded 1 or 2 credits depending on whether there is a terminal written exam or not.

NOTE: It is important to note that a student must complete all Key Assignments and have a 90% attendance to pass each module in the various subjects on offer.

Allocation of Credits

Satisfactory Completion of Modules*

62 Credits


7 Student Tasks

70 Credits


Final Examinations

68 Credits


*With regard to the assessment component of Module Completion, modules in the non-examination courses, e.g. Religion, will have a value of two credits. Courses also assessed in the Final Examinations will have a value of one credit per module.

The LCA is awarded at three levels:


120-139 credits



140-169 credits



170-200 credits


Participant/student achievement is recorded in three modes:

Students get a statement of their results four times throughout the year, so they receive regular feedback on how they are progressing.








Why study LCA in Crana College?

  • Regular Work Experience
  • Small Class size
  • Increased individual teacher assistance and pastoral support
  • Practical and Vocational based timetable
  • Varied Teaching methodologies (pair/group work)
  • Continuous assessment
  • More computer based work
  • Final exams are not as long, or as intensive, as the established Leaving Certificate
  • LCA is a recognised qualification
  • Interview and presentation skills used extensively throughout the course.

What can I do after LCA?

The LCA programme has been running very successfully in Crana College for many years with many of our graduates going on to further education or employment. It is important to note that the LCA is not a barrier to third level education. A student who successfully completes LCA can go on to college/university in the Republic of Ireland or may attend the North West Regional College, Derry or complete a PLC course (Post Leaving Certificate course) and then apply to the college of their choice.

Who should consider applying?

  • Someone who prefers practical learning

  • Someone who would be motivated by continuous assessment

  • Someone who wants to get work experience

  • Someone who wants to develop skills that will help their future career.

Where can I find more information?

Some comments from students about why they chose LCA

  • “I chose LCA because it seemed like an interesting course to do”

  • “I liked the idea of doing a variety of different subjects”

  • “I chose it because it prepares you for adult life”

  • “It gives you the opportunity to do work experience”

  • “I prefer practical work to theory work”

  • “I prefer project work to exams”

LCA Coordinator: Mr J Ward


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