Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.
We asked Lynsey Gargan from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:
With regard to education I say don't worry if you think you have the wrong subjects in school. I certainly didn't have the subjects you would typically expect.
There are a number of courses that cater to different backgrounds. The most important thing is to do your research. Go to open days, talk to the colleges and generally just find out what exactly you would be getting in to.
Don't just take for granted you know what a certain course or career is all about. Think about what you like to do, and not just necessarily in school, if you find yourself being curious about how things work or how thing are made, it's a good indication that you could like something like engineering.
One of the best things about engineering is that it really can be your passport to the world. There are great travel opportunities within the industry and chances to be involved in the next big thing.
Practically every man-made product around you came from a manufacturing plant, it's a huge industry with a lot of different avenues to take. Innovation is a really big part of what engineers do. The desire to be creative and improve production and processes is an important attribute for a manufacturing engineer.
What are your interests?
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Subject Choice for Leaving Cert...
These courses enable learners to gain recognition for the achievement of considerable knowledge in a range of subject areas, as for example in the Leaving Certificate and one-year Post Leaving Certificate courses.
Courses may be academic or practical in focus, and awards that are recognised by the National Framework of Qualifications may lead to progression opportunities higher up in the framework.
Employment Opportunities The majority of people with certificates at this level are well prepared for occupations that involve using their knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include office secretary, customer service representatives, special needs assistant, retail salespersons and childcare workers.
Listed below are the percentage distributions of marks from the 1306 students who sat the Ordinary Level Chemistry exam in 2018.
Chemistry exists everywhere, not just in laboratories, but in every living thing on land and sea and in our bodies. Chemistry is often described as 'the central science' containing a lot of formulas. So, if you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and have done well in it, and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.
Why Study this?
Why Study Chemistry
This subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate. Chemistry is considered most useful for careers in Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Engineering, General Sciences and Biotechnology.
What kind of student would Chemistry suit?
If you enjoyed Junior Cert Science and you have done well in this and in Maths, you should be a good candidate for Leaving Cert Chemistry.
If you apply attention to detail and are able to describe the procedures of experiments and understand vocabulary.
Students considering a career in any scientific discipline, such as chemistry, biology, environmental science, medicine, pharmacology, or material science.
It is recommended that a student undertaking the chemistry course has a good understanding of Junior Cert Science at Higher level.
Each student should have an aptitude for and an interest in laboratory work.
A student would be expected to have a reasonable level of Junior Cert Maths, either at Higher or Ordinary level.
Videos & Interviews
Leaving Cert Chemistry - Chemistry
Studying Chemistry - Chemistry
Read what others say about their Leaving Cert. Subject Choices...
Chef - David Kehoe
Maths, English, French, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Home Economics. All of them influenced my career as I need all of them eg. without maths I couldn't deal with the financial part of the job.
My Leaving Cert subjects were as follows: English, Irish, Maths, French (obligatory subjects). My choice subjects were: Accounting, Physics & Chemistry. I did all honours subjects and I think doing honours Maths and English especially really help.
English is not immediately obvious when one thinks of a career in Engineering, but from the point of view of report writing and corresponding with team members and even customers via email etc, it is a very important skill to master.
I was not 100% sure of my career path at the time of choosing the above mentioned "choice-subjects". My way of thinking was, one business subject, one science and another one that I thought I might like or be good at. Physics, Chemistry and Accounting all have a common theme of maths and problem solving, this was my link into Electronic Engineering... In hindsight, had some form of technology or electronics courses been available in my school, I think these might have been helpful. I'm not sure which subject I would have replaced though!
Physics, Chemistry and French. I also studied German in college. It is good to have another language regardless of what it is. Anything to do with Engineering, I would highly suggest Maths and Physics.
Science Subjects: Maths, Physics, Biology, Tech drawing, Chemistry - I loved these and they are very applicable for my current career path.
Data analysis and problem solving - it's all about number crunching at the end of the day when working on technical problems.
Arts, English, English Literature and French are subjects I was never really interested in at school, but have become more interested in the last 10 years, as they are very useful for communication purposes, and that is now a very big part of my job.
In secondary school I took Physics and Chemistry since I loved science. I also took Business Organisation but that was for the life skills it teaches rather than an intrinsic desire. I would gladly have enjoyed doing all the science subjects, to the complete detriment of all others but in hind-sight I am glad I took a subject such as Biz. Org. as it gave a rounding aspect to my secondary schooling.
I would have liked to have done Technical Drawing possibly but had to make a choice. I was only mediocre in German and Irish but again am glad I did them for at least secondary school as it challenged me and I did not get too narrowly focused on the technical subjects (there was plenty of time for that in third-level). In hindsight I realise that Maths was more important than I imagined and the two science subjects stood me in good stead. The choices I made for the subject selection was made by my passion for the sciences. Luckily I was afforded this leeway as the points for my intended course were not particularly high at the time.
I wasn’t 100% sure that I would end up in the science/engineering sector when I was at school. I found doing transition year really helped me to explore the various options that were available. This helped me to decide the subjects for my leaving certificate. I chose physics, chemistry & accounting, again keeping my options open. At the moment I am doing a masters for which I have to do aspects of accounting & economics so the accounting I did for my leaving has come in handy!
Transport Infrastructure Ireland - Ciaran MacSamhrain
Irish, English, French, Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Latin (I failed Latin(!) but only concentrated on 6 subjects because, at least at that time, all colleges only counted up to 6 subjects when calculating entry points).
I stayed in Honours Maths and choose Physics in order to not rule out opting for engineering.
I would not have done anything differently in hindsight.
The subject aims to provide a relevant course for students who will complete their study of chemistry at this level while, at the same time, providing a foundation course for those who will continue to study chemistry or related subjects following completion of their Leaving Certificate.
The Leaving Cert. course follows on directly from Junior Cert Science, and deals with more topics in a lot more depth. The course includes 28 mandatory practical experiments which must be completed in the lab, as well as a written paper including questions on the experiments and examining the theory and applications of chemistry. There are an amount of calculations involved. Chemistry has been the second most popular science subject for some time now.
There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by State Examinations Commission
The syllabus consists of approximately 70% pure chemistry; the remaining 30% deals with the social and applied aspects of chemistry.
The syllabus is comprised of all the essential and relevant topics within general chemistry. The major topics involved include the following:
There also is an option to be taken as part of the course which involves the study of atmospheric and industrial chemistry or the study of materials and electrochemistry.
Experimental investigations are an essential part of the leaving certificate course. Each student must complete at least 28 experiments over the duration of the course.
Experimental work is examined as part of the leaving cert exam and forms the basis for a minimum of three questions on the exam paper.
The leaving cert exam is three hours in duration. Each candidate must answer at least two questions from Section A (experimental section) and a maximum of six questions from Section B.
There are eleven questions in total on the exam paper, each carrying 50 marks.
There is no element of continuous assessment but experimental copies must be available for inspection by the State Examinations Commission. Students taking chemistry have to memorize the chemical components of a series of prescribed experiments. They will need to present the elements of four such experiments in their exam.
Chemistry is considered extremely useful for a wide range of career areas such as: Pharmacy, Ag Science, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Engineering, General Sciences, Dietician, Nursing, Food Science, Biotechnology and Medical Laboratory Technology.