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Discover the Opportunities Available through Further Education

Use CourseFinder to discover PLC links to CAO

Discover the Opportunities Available through Further Education

Brian Mooney wrote a really informative article in yesterday’s Irish Times in response to a query regarding progression from Further Education to Third Level. Read the article in full here.

As outlined in Brian Mooney’s article, PLC courses can provide a stepping stone to Higher Education. Further Education options are a wonderful part of Irelands’ educational landscape, providing opportunities for school leavers and learners of all ages to consolidate their learning in their area of specific interest.

According to Brian, if a student performs well in Further Education they stand a good chance of securing a reserved place in a CAO course the following year. The query Brian answered concerned entry to Science in Further Education. If we look at statistics from one College of Further Education as an example, we can see how many Science students have been offered a place in Third Level Science. 

The following  list shows  how many students form the Pre-University Science course in Killester College, Dublin were offered a place on a Third Level Science Course:  From a total cohort of 31 students on the course this year, 28 of them got places in Higher Education, as follows.

Trinity College Dublin – 9 students

UCD – 5 students

DIT – 7 students

DCU – 7 students

DIT – 1 students

In total, 29 students were offered a place in Third Level Science.  Killester College also revealed that the majority of these students got between 7-8 distinctions. PLC graduates from other colleges across the country are also advancing to third level.

Where Can I find Information on PLC course links to CAO courses?

The simplest way to check details on PLC courses and ‘progression routes’ available is to use the search tools on the CareersPortal.ie website.  The CourseFinder tool on the homepage links to hundreds of courses from PLC to degree programmes.


Using the Course Finder based on Sectors of Interest, Location, College and more…

When in the Course Finder, use the filters on the left hand side of the page to narrow your search in any area you are particularly interested in. 

 Example: If you are interested in Science use the Career Sectors filter boxes to find suitable courses. Click on the filter for level 5 you will then be presented with 31 Level 5 PLC courses in the Biological, Chemical and Pharmaceutical and Earth and Environment sectors available around the country.  This search can be narrowed further e.g. by region.  If your daughter lives in Dublin you can filter the result to show just the 6 PLC level 5 courses in Dublin region, in the specified areas of science.

Each one of these courses has a progression routes to a Level 8 degree programmes and this is indicated by the link icon beside the course. 


Understanding what CAO courses each PLC course links to…

Clicking into the course title will explain everything you need to know about the course and will also give you a list of the courses which you can progress to if you do well enough in your PLC exams/assessment. 

 Simply scroll down the page and then click on the Course Code (See New QQI code) to see a full list:

CAO Courses that accept any Level 5 or 6 QQI award…

Using the QQI Progression Routes tool you can also easily find a list of over 1200 CAO courses that will accept any QQI award for progression purposes, or if you know the QQI code for a course you are interested in, you may be able to find even more. If you want to ascertain whether a specific CAO course will accept specific QQI awards, simply put in the CAO code in the CourseFinder tool and enter your course in the search field.

Progression from PLC to CAO courses in 2018

A spokesperson for UCD has advised that although the points requirements for science are now 510, they filled 30 reserved places for PLC students last year, out of 400 available, and ten out of 105 in computer science. This is a clear example of how a student with a specific aptitude for science who does not have the overall academic ability to score high points across the full range of their leaving cert subjects, can still progress onto their desired course through the PLC route. 

There are lots of colleges of Further Education across the country which offer 1 year Post Leaving Cert (PLC) course which will can lead directly to relevant courses at a higher level (6, level 7 and level 8). 

 Some of the colleges of Further Education in the Dublin region which offer pre-university courses in science include; O’Fiach College, Killester College, Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Coláiste Íde, Bray College of Further Education and DunLaoghaire College of Further Education.  If a student works hard and performs they stand a very good chance of getting a place in a degree programme.

Additional useful links on CareersPortal.ie

QQI Progression Routes    (just put in the award code)                         

QQI Points Calculator  

Progression Information for Nursing Degrees       

The CareersPortal Team                        




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