Australia is a popular secondary education destination for international students. Not only does Australia offer quality, internationally recognised education, it also provides a safe, comfortable and multicultural environment. An Australian education aims to provide students with the skills for future study and employment anywhere in the world.
- Secondary education in Australia
Average tuition costs
Vocational training in schools
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme
- View a list of schools
- Search for a course
- Find out about Australia's university (higher education) sector
Australia’s secondary schools adhere to a national curriculum framework, which is being progressively developed and implemented in schools to set high national standards in English, mathematics, science. history, languages, geography, the arts, health and physical education, information and communication technology, civics and citizenship, economics and business.
For a school to be accredited to accept international students it must provide, or have access to, specialist English language programs. The states and territories of Australia have individual systems of secondary education, but all conform to the same high standards required by the national curriculum.
Across the different states and territories, Year 12 (the final year of secondary school) is known as:
|State||Name of Year 12 qualification|
|Australian Capital Territory (ACT)||ACT Year 12 Certificate|
|New South Wales (NSW)||NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC)|
|Northern Territory (NT)||Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET)|
|Queensland (QLD)||Queensland Certificate of Education|
|South Australia (SA)||South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)|
|Tasmania (TAS)||Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE)|
Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL)
|Western Australia (WA)||Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE)|
Different secondary schools offer varying elective subjects, class structures and areas of specialisation. In addition to the subjects offered, it’s a good idea to research the school’s focus and extracurricular activities to help you find the school most suited to your needs and interests.
Secondary school fees for international students vary widely, from AUD$6000 to $30,000 per year at an elite private school. It is important to check specific tuition costs with individual schools.
These figures were sourced from the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website in 2012. Please note that tuition costs vary widely and should always be sourced from individual schools.
Entry requirements vary throughout Australia. The selection process involves consideration of the applicant’s academic record along with other factors, which may include sporting achievement and other extracurricular accomplishments.
The successful completion of secondary school allows students to apply for entry to further education, but it does not guarantee a place. Entry into most Australian higher education courses is on a competitive basis for both international and local students.
An increasing number of Australian schools offer Vocational Education and Training (VET) subjects as part of their school curriculum. These subjects allow students to gain practical, work-based skills while completing their senior secondary education and are part of Australia’s commitment to providing a balanced education that prepares students for life after secondary school.
The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year pre-university course for motivated students from 16–19 years of age. Universities around the world recognise the qualification. There are also programs for middle year students (aged 11–16) and primary year students (aged 3–12).
The International Baccalaureate Organization must officially approve schools before they can offer IB programs. There are around 144 IB-authorised schools in Australia. For more information go to the International Baccalaureate Organization website.