Tertiary Education in Australia

Vocational Education and Training (VET)

Tertiary education in Australia is divided into 10 levels according to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). We have described each level in detail in our article here.

VET includes all the qualifications from levels 1 to 6. These are:

  • Certificate I
  • Certificate II
  • Certificate III
  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma

VET courses usually provide basic skills that are necessary for work. As a rule, training is very focused on practice, so under VET, you can mostly get trade qualifications such as carpenter, electrician, etc., and paraprofessional qualifications in such spheres as business, engineering, design, etc.

Many international students choose vocational education for these reasons:

  1. It is cheaper than higher education;
  2. It can be completed in two years while a bachelor’s degree requires 3-4 years of study;
  3. It is more applied and practice-oriented.

To enter a VET course, a student is usually required to complete year 10, 11 or 12 of Australian secondary school or have an equivalent secondary education from overseas.

The cost of vocational education for international students varies from AUD $9,000 to AUD $20,000 per year, depending on the qualification level and education provider. VET is mainly taught at TAFE (technical and further education) institutes and private colleges. Knowledge and skills gained there are enough to start working in the industry. However, to upgrade your career, you might want to continue your studies and get a higher education.



Higher Education

Higher education includes qualifications of levels 7-10:

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Bachelor’s Honours Degree
  • Graduate Certificate
  • Graduate Diploma
  • Master’s Degree
  • Doctoral Degree (PhD)

Some sources also relate level 6 qualifications (Advanced Diploma and Associate Degree) to higher education.

Higher education provides advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in one or more disciplines. It is more prestigious than VET but usually more focused on theory. Though many education providers strive to design their degrees according to the industry needs to make graduates career-ready. 

Higher education also takes longer than VET. As a rule, a bachelor’s degree takes 3-4 years of study. However, if a student already has a diploma (level 5) or advanced diploma (level 6), they might need just 1.5-2 years to complete their bachelor’s.

Courses and degrees of postgraduate level (graduate diploma and higher) require a student to have a completed bachelor’s degree.  

Higher education is offered mostly in universities, but in some TAFE institutes, you can find bachelor’s and even master’s degrees. Private colleges also offer advanced diplomas (level 6) and graduate diplomas (level 8).

The cost of higher education in Australia depends greatly on the speciality and education provider. It can vary from AUD $10,000 per year at private colleges to AUD $39,000 per year at prestigious Australian universities. 

Read more about education providers in Australia

Quality of Australian Tertiary Education

Australia is one of the leaders of international education. Its higher education degrees and diplomas are well-known for their quality and recognised all over the world.

To maintain the high standards of education, The Australian Government established regulatory and registration bodies:

Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) – the national regulator for vocational education and training. It registers training providers and accredits VET courses to ensure nationally approved standards are met.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TESQA) – independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education. It monitors education providers for compliance with the requirements of the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) – Australia’s national research evaluation framework. ERA identifies and evaluates the quality of research activity in Australia’s universities.

The Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) – this register is essential to consider if you want to study in Australia as an international student. All the educational institutions that deliver VET or English language courses to international students must be registered at CRICOS. It is a quality indicator of the education provider and its programs. So, make sure that your institute is registered there.

If you are interested in studying in Australia, fill out our application form, and we will help you choose the program of study and apply for a student visa.

Apply now


Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date with the latest news, events and offers
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Recent articles

Education Providers in Australia
June 1 2021

Education Providers in Australia

In Australia, there are hundreds of education providers all around the country, providing thousands of courses and programs. Read about their differences to make the bes...

Universities in Australia
June 1 2021

Universities in Australia

Rates, location and other important information for your successful choice of a university and admission

Private Colleges in Australia
June 1 2021

Private Colleges in Australia

What you can study in college, what the structure of education is like, how much the course costs and much more in the article