Some people do not wish to pursue Third Level immediately after completing their Leaving Certificate for many reasons. They may not have achieved enough points, they are to young or they simply have no interest in further education and wish to secure employment now. They have completed over 12-13 years of education and being in an academic environment all that time, have had enough and want to experience the world of work or indeed the world at large.

For these people who make a decision to stop learning after the Leaving Certificate; what are their Post-Leaving Certificate Options, what they can do so as to achieve their desires and goals in life and not to feel ‘left behind’ or say ‘I wish I had stayed in education’ in later years?

  1. Search for and secure employment
  2. Pursue a night course while working
  3. Pursue a part-time course while looking for work
  4. Travel
  5. Repeat the Leaving Certificate

Search for and secure employment

After  12-13 years in school, many students want to get out into the real world and make some money. They may have had part-time jobs, have experienced the power and joy of having their own money and want more of it, more often and more regularly. Money is important, but should not be the only motivating factor in a job / career.

Pursue a Night Course while working

If full-time employment is the agreed and preferred option, it is critical that the student pursues  / continues some form of education, upskilling, training. Having completed training / upskilling courses, so many things in a job, indeed in life, including rates of pay, promotion, job variety / responsibility, confidence, motivation and a sense of worth can be positively effected.

Pursue a part-time course while looking for work

Students should have some plan of action pre-Leaving Certificate as to what they are going to do. And most students do. But should the results not yield the desired and the expected, these five options come in to play. If they don’t have employment, a part-time course should be pursued. This course should be generic giving the student new and wide ranging skills that will help them secure employment.


Many students take the opportunity to take a year out to ‘travel’ and get it out of the way and / or see what the experience yields for them. To travel is now an important part of a student’s plan before they settle down into the world of full-time study, part-time study and work. It is recommended that a student should travel after they have completed some form of further education, so as to get their education completed. It can be very difficult to come home and start into the ‘books’ again, best to get it all out of the way first.

Repeat the Leaving Certificate

Many students consider repeating the Leaving Certificate for many reasons including; too young to start Third Level, have not achieved enough CAO Points for their chosen course, had always planned to repeat and / or for personal / other reasons. Deciding to repeat can be another unnecessary year of study in a student’s life and must be chosen carefully and for the right reasons so that at the end, you know that it was the right reason if you decide to repeat.