Qualifications and what they mean

Qualifications issued by registered training organisations, universities and other tertiary institutions in Australia are regulated through the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

For professional, vocational and other educational qualifications to be recognised in Australia, they must be listed in the AQF.

Australian Qualifications Framework

The AQF is a national policy that covers qualifications from the tertiary education sector (higher education and vocational education and training) in addition to the school-leaving certificate; the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.

The AQF has 10 levels and links school, vocational and university education qualifications into one national system. This allows students to move easily from one level of study to the next, and from one institution to another. It allows for choice and flexibility in career planning. All qualifications in the AQF help prepare prepare students for both further study and your working life.

This table contains the qualifications listed in the AQF that are recognised throughout Australia.

Level Vocational Education and Training Higher education
10   Doctoral degree
9   Masters degree
8 Graduate Diploma Graduate Diploma
8 Graduate Certificate Graduate Certificate, Honours Degree
7   Bachelor Degree
6 Advanced Diploma Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma
5 Diploma Diploma
4 Certificate IV  
3 Certificate III  
2 Certificate II  
1 Certificate I  

Undergraduate Certificate

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Education & Skills Councils has approved a new 6 month higher education qualification under the AQF in response to the economic impact of COVID -19. The Undergraduate Certificate (UC) has been approved for a limited time with UCs able to be awarded from May 2020 until 31 December 2021 by registered higher education providers. A review will be undertaken to assess whether the UC will continue to be awarded beyond this date.

Unlike other qualifications under the AQF, the UC is not located at a single qualification level, but is covered at any of Levels 5, 6 or 7. The UC is a short award course of 6 months equivalent full-time duration that upon completion allows students the option of an exit point or articulation into an existing qualification located at AQF levels 5, 6, or 7. It is a pre-requisite that the course must articulate at one of these levels.

Recognition of prior learning and experience

You'll need to discuss this directly with your education provider. Usually you'll need to be enrolled in a course to apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL) and there is often a charge for the service. The process is one of matching what you already know against the learning outcomes of the course you want to study.

Recognition of overseas qualifications

The Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment  provides a number of services to support international qualifications recognition.

South Australian state nominated migrants can improve their employment prospects by having their overseas qualifications assessed as compared to the AQF through the Skilled & Business Migration service.

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is a skills assessment service for people with trade skills gained overseas or in Australia for the purpose of migration.

Qualifications required for a specific job

The Job Outlook website provides information about which qualifications are required for specific jobs. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) also provides information on qualifications required for work.

Other useful resources are the Australian Job Search website and the MyFuture website.


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    Page last updated 23 August 2021

    Provided by:
    Department for Education
    URL:
    https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/education-and-learning/general-information/qualifications-and-what-they-mean
    Last Updated:
    23/08/21
    Printed on:
    18/09/21
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