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Vocational
Study
in Australia

Technical Courses in Australia can be offered by a government Institute called TAFE or by private organisations. TAFE can be found all over Australia in both big cities, and large towns.  Each state controls its own TAFE, and they offer an enormous variety of trade and technical courses. After finishing high school, a large percentage of Australian students do a technical course instead of going to university because they cannot get qualified jobs without at least a technical qualification. Of course TAFE are not the only ones delivering technical courses and many private technical institutions and academies offer excellent quality courses. International students should also consult them, especially if they are well known and offer specialised courses in a particular field. TAFE is well known in Australia for offering vocational courses that are recognised nationally and sometimes internationally in some countries such as New Zealand. 

To study a technical course in Australia, international students have to show at least an average intermediate level of English, normally the equivalent of 5.5 in an IELTS test. Many courses will accept results of English tests done in another country, or they will do an internal test to evaluate the candidate. You will need to have enough English to follow the lessons because you will be attending classes with many Australian students as well. If you are studying English at TAFE (or in pathway English Course) you will be able to directly enter a technical course without an IELTS test.

Many courses offered in one particular TAFE, are not the same in another TAFE institutions, as each TAFE may specialise in different areas. For example: If you are planning to study to be a veterinary assistant, you may not find this course in a TAFE located in a big city, but may find it at a TAFE in a more country area. In other words, you may not be able to choose the city you want to live in, if it doesn’t offer you the course you would like to study.

One of the advantages of studying a Vocational or Technical course in Australia is being able to get a student visa for the total duration of the course, without needing to renew it. Another advantage of studying a Vocational or Technical course is that many courses have agreements with Australian universities. This means that after finishing a Diploma course, if you choose, you may be accepted directly into the university without examinations or tests and go straight to second year. You will be in direct contact with Australians because the courses are not exclusively for international students. Technical courses are more practical; involving a lot of work experience and direct contact with the industry. In many cases the TAFE or Technical institution will offer a job placement as work experience in a company. This opportunity may result in future job offers, as well as allowing you to acquire on the job knowledge to work in that field. Many courses offered by Technical institutions are related to jobs in high demand in the market and as previously stated it can also give you extra points for future permanent residency. One of the financial advantages of studying a Vocational or Technical course is that you can pay for the course each semester.

Technical courses are divided into five categories: 

Certificate I (one) to Certificate IV (four) and Diploma level
  • Certificates: At Certificate level 1 you will study basic things, whereas at Certificate II level (two) you will study a little harder and learn more concepts. At Certificate III (three) level your study will become more in-depth, and Certificate IV represents the top level of Certificates. Courses vary from 3 months to 1 year. Some Certificate IV courses have Certificate I, II and III units of competency inside their course whilst others are separate depending on the structure of the course. But all the courses will be validated if you want to continue with a Diploma course because it is inside of an educational structure called AQF.  

  • Diplomas: In general, studying a Diploma can vary in time between one year and two and they complement the knowledge gained by your previous certificate. They can be equivalent of half (or a little less) of the knowledge required to enrol in a university degree. Most of the study done at Diploma level will be accepted as credits to enter in a university (but it is necessary to find out if there are agreements between the technical college and university). University degrees are more academic and technical diplomas are more practical. Around 70% of jobs in Australia come from Diploma courses; mostly trade certificates such as carpenters, builders, plumbers, chefs, painters, mechanics, welders, hair dressing and so on.

  • Advanced Diplomas:  As the name says this is a higher, more specialised Diploma.

    Note:  The duration of Technical courses may be different from one institution to another, so we advise you to check our Course Guide to see the diverse options. The average diploma can be 1 or 2 years, and Certificates approximately 6 months.

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Roger is in need to improve his Italian Culinary skills throughout a vocational Course in Australia. His pasta looks more like a soccer ball with hair then anything else

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