Vocational Education and Training (VET) is education and training that
focuses on providing skills for work.
VET provides the skills to help people to:
Join the workforce for the first time
Re-join the workforce after a break
Upgrade skills in their chosen field
Move into a different career.
Who offers VET?
VET courses are primarily offered by Registered Training Organisations
(RTOs). These can include Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
institutes and private colleges. Some universities may also offer VET
courses in addition to higher education courses.
Each Australian state or territory registers these organisations to:
Provide quality training
Deliver courses developed with industry
Issue a nationally recognised qualification.
Move into a different career.
RTOs that wish to offer courses to international students must also
register with the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Register of
Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). This register
allows the government to monitor the education offered to international
students in Australia and ensure that it is of a consistently high
quality. You can find a list of registered providers on the CRICOS
website. You can also find more information about the Educational
Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) legislative framework that governs
CRICOS on the Australian Education International (AEI) website.
Courses and qualifications
The VET sector includes the following types of qualifications:
Certificate I to IV: These courses provide introductory skills
and training. They teach industry-specific knowledge and skills in
communication, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork. They vary in length from six
months to two years.
Diploma: Diplomas prepare students for industry, enterprise and
paraprofessional careers. Diplomas typically require one to two years of
Advanced diploma: An advanced diploma provides a high level of
practical skills for advanced skilled or paraprofessional work in areas such as
accounting, building design and engineering. Students can complete some advanced
diploma courses at university level. Advanced diplomas vary in length from 1.5
to two years of full-time study.
Vocational graduate certificate/diploma: The vocational
graduate certificate and diploma are the equivalent of the higher education
graduate certificate and diploma. They provide high-level employment-related
skills and knowledge. The graduate certificate usually requires six months to a
year of full-time study, and the graduate diploma usually requires one to two
years of full-time study.
English language courses: VET providers may also offer English
language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks. For more
information about learning English in Australia, see English language courses.
How do VET courses differ to higher education courses?
Traditionally, VET courses are known to focus more on providing practical and
work-orientated occupational skills, whereas university or higher education courses
are better known for focusing on providing theory-based knowledge and professional
career paths. There are many exceptions to this rule, however, because VET covers
such a wide range of different courses and qualifications.
VET courses cover:
Basic life skills, even literacy and numeracy training (such as pre-vocational
training or foundation studies)
Basic vocational skills for particular occupations (such as floristry and
Semi-professional vocational training (such as business advertising, and
occupational health and safety)
Study areas with a practical focus (such as viticulture, music and hospitality).
VET courses, particularly at the diploma and advanced diploma level, can often lead
into higher education courses such as bachelor degrees.
Most VET courses are part of national training packages that are updated regularly
in consultation with relevant industry bodies. They also follow the same curriculum
wherever you study them, so you can transfer your credits to an identical program at
a different organisation.
Higher education pathways
VET courses at the certificate IV, diploma and advanced diploma level can provide
students with a pathway into the higher education sector. In addition to helping
students meet entry requirements, VET courses can also provide credit towards some
higher education courses. For example, students who graduate with a diploma may
receive up to two or three semesters of credit towards a related bachelor degree.
The exact amount of credit granted depends on the institution, the degree and the
VET qualification completed. It is important to check pathways and credit
arrangements with institutions.
It is also becoming increasingly common for higher education graduates to complete
VET qualifications in order to gain practical, work-orientated skills to assist them
to enter the workforce.
Average tuition costs
VET course fees range from AUD$4000 to $22,000 per year. Higher-level vocational
courses, including vocational graduate certificates and diplomas, may have higher
These figures were sourced from the Australian Government’s Study in Australia
website in 2015. Please note that course fees can vary widely depending on the
course, institution and location chosen, and should always be sourced from the
Entry into the VET system usually requires students to have reached a level of study
equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Some courses may have prerequisite
subjects or work experience requirements. Entry into some courses, such as art and
design, may also require submission of a portfolio. Students should check with
individual providers for any additional entry requirements, English language
requirements, information on fees and charges, and course starting dates.
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