TAFE & Private College

Vocational education is a form of tertiary education that intends to provide the skills and experience needed for a person to enter a specific industry. It is often referred to as Vocational Education and Training (VET) and Career and Technical Education (CTE). In Australia, vocational education and training are mostly post-secondary. However, some senior schools do offer school-based apprenticeships and traineeships for students in years 10, 11, and 12.

Australia’s VET sector is based on a partnership between governments and industry. VET qualifications are provided by government institutions, called Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutions and some private institutions. Vocational education covers a large number of careers and industries such as office work, retail, hospitality and technology.

Benefits of enrolling in a VET Course

  • The VET course provides flexible and weekly attendance, making it ideal for students who want to work while they are studying.
  • The fee for VET courses can be paid via instalments and on a long term basis.
  • In terms of fee, vocational courses are conveniently priced compared to higher education like university courses
  • VET courses are more career-oriented and can partially substitute a higher education pathway.
  • Institutes that provide VET courses mostly offer direct placement to the working industry
  • A qualifying training course is sometimes mandatory and turns out to be an advantage to undertake specific jobs.

According to The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), VET qualifications range across four levels of certificates (Certificate I, II, III and IV), Diploma, and Advanced Diploma. The duration and possible career outcome of these qualifications are:

Which institution provides VET?

VET providers can include:

  • technical and further education (TAFE) institutes
  • adult and community education providers
  • agricultural colleges
  • private providers
  • community organisations
  • industry skill centres
  • commercial and enterprise training providers.


According to The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), VET qualifications range across four levels of certificates (Certificate I, II, III and IV), Diploma, and Advanced Diploma. The duration and possible career outcome of these qualifications are:

Degree Duration Career Outcome
Certificate I 4 - 6 months competent operator
Certificate II about 1 year advanced operator
Certificate III about 1 year qualified tradesperson or technician
Certificate IV 12 - 18 months supervisor
Diploma 18 - 24 months para-professional
Advanced Diploma 24 - 36 months junior manager

What does VET Involve?

Unlike higher education, VET courses emphasise more on occupational skills rather than theory. It covers the following areas:

  • Australian traineeships and apprenticeships
  • Basic such as literacy and numeracy training which involves foundation studies and pre-vocational training.
  • Vocational skills for specific areas such as automotive or floristry.
  • Semi-professional vocational training in fields like occupational safety and health or business advertising.

The VET courses require students to complete their studies and assessments at their training institutions to demonstrate that they have obtained the required skill levels.

VET qualifications are offered across a broad range of subjects. Some of the most popular courses include:

  • Training and Assessment
  • Aged Care
  • Education Support
  • Accounting
  • Management
  • Business
  • Business Administration
  • Small Business
  • Community Services
  • Cyber Security
  • Financial Planning
  • Counselling
  • Project Management
  • Veterinary Nursing
  • Early Childhood Education & Care
  • Beauty Therapy
  • Nursing
  • Electrotechnology
  • Building Design
  • Horticulture

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the differences between VET qualifications and Higher Education qualifications?

Higher-level education such as universities and VET providers both offer qualifications that are nationally and often internationally recognised. Although there are some overlapping qualification levels, in general, VET qualifications aim to provide a practical, work-oriented skills base. There are also differences in the grading and assessment process, with VET qualifications using competency-based assessment, and Higher Education qualifications generally using a grading approach to assessment. Compared to higher-level education, VET courses are also relatively much cheaper.

Competency-Based Training in VET

Competency Based Training is designed to provide learners with an opportunity to demonstrate their ability in a certain task. In the framework of VET, this is often a workplace task, referred to as a Unit of Competency. Your qualification is made up of these workplace tasks. Competency Based Training works by deeming a learner either competent or not yet competent at the end of the learning pathway. Unlike in higher education, it is not a graded qualification. Instead, learners are simply required to demonstrate the ability to complete a task, activity, or project. A learner will need to be deemed competent in all units to achieve their full qualification.

VET Course Fee

Generally, VET course fees may range from AUD $4000 to $22,000 annually. However, this fee may vary depending on the chosen institution, location, and course. Additional costs like access to institution facilities and course materials can be included.

Key Statistics about VET

According to the National Centre for Vocational Education Research in 2019, among all students who graduated from VET in Australia: 65.8% had an improved employment status after training 66.7% were employed before training; of these, 18.0% were employed at a higher skill level after training, 33.3% were not employed before training; of these, 46.8% were employed after training, 88.1% were satisfied with the overall quality of training.