Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
What is TAFE?
What TAFE offers
How does TAFE differ to university?
Courses and qualifications
Pathways to university
Pathways to the workforce
Average tuition costs
- General entry requirements
- View the TAFE institutes list
- Search for a course
- Find out about scholarships
Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes are government-funded Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). They offer practically oriented Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses that are designed to give students the appropriate skills, training and qualifications they need for the workforce. For more information, visit the Vocational Education and Training section.
VET courses are also offered by private RTOs (typically known as private colleges), but many students choose to study VET courses through TAFE institutes because of the additional security they provide as government-funded education providers. Some Australian universities also have TAFE sectors and offer VET courses in addition to higher education courses.
The TAFE sector is the largest education and training sector in Australia. Each year thousands of international students come to Australia to take advantage of the extensive range of courses and subject areas that provide practical skills and vocational training for a huge variety of careers.
TAFE institutes in Australia are government owned and have a long history of helping international students reach their career goals. International students attend TAFE institutes to complete courses that range from certificate to postgraduate level.
TAFE also offers English language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks. For more information visit the English language courses section of this website.
International students commonly choose to enrol in TAFE courses in Australia to:
- improve their chances of being accepted into university study
- gain practical, work-based skills to improve their employment prospects
- take advantage of the wide variety of courses on offer
- enjoy the individual attention that the typically small class sizes allow
- enjoy the advantages of life in Australia.
Practical courses: While university courses tend to have an academic focus, TAFE courses are typically more hands-on and are focused on providing students with the workplace skills and training needed by employers. TAFE facilities compliment the practical focus, providing students with industry-standard equipment that allows them to train outside the classroom, such as automotive workshops and training restaurants that are open to the public. TAFE courses are designed with industry needs in mind, and many offer opportunities to complete on-the-job training through work experience.
Wide range of courses: Traditionally, TAFE is known for providing vocationally oriented VET courses (such as certificates and diplomas). Some TAFE institutes also offer undergraduate and postgraduate degrees (the same as those offered by universities), as well as English language courses and secondary school studies.
- Accessibility: TAFE institutes pride themselves on their accessibility and typically have fewer (and lower) entry requirements than universities. This is because they offer a lower level of qualification, so be sure to check what qualification level you will need for your career. Because TAFE is more accessible to students, many choose to study at TAFE as a pathway to gain entry into university (see below).
The types of qualifications that can be obtained through the TAFE system include:
- Certificate I–IV: These courses are designed to provide introductory skills and training. They provide industry-specific knowledge and skills in communication, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork. They vary in length from six months to two years.
- Diploma: A diploma course prepares students for industry, enterprise and paraprofessional careers. Diplomas typically require one to two years of full-time study.
- Advanced diploma: An advanced diploma provides a high level of practical skills for advanced skilled or paraprofessional work in areas such as accounting, building design and engineering. Some advanced diploma courses can also be completed at university level. Advanced diplomas vary in length from 18 months to two years of full-time study.
- Vocational graduate certificate/diploma: The vocational graduate certificate and diploma are the equivalent of the higher education graduate certificate and diploma. They provide high-level employment-related skills and knowledge. The graduate certificate usually requires six months to a year of full-time study, and the graduate diploma usually requires one to two years of full-time study.
TAFE provides both international and domestic students with a number of education pathways to university (higher education). In addition to providing assistance with entry requirements, TAFE courses can also provide credit towards some Australian university courses. For example, students who graduate with a diploma from a TAFE institute may receive up to two or three semesters of credit towards a related university degree.
The exact amount of credit granted towards a degree depends on the university, the degree course and the TAFE qualification completed. It is important to check with the intended university to be certain about possible credit transfers. You can use the Institution Search at the top of the page to search for and contact individual universities for specific information.
A TAFE qualification can also improve your prospects in the job market. Due to the practical emphasis of most courses in this sector, a TAFE qualification can be a valuable addition to your résumé.
AUD$5000–$20,000 per year
These figures were sourced from the Australian Government’s Study in Australia website in 2012. Please note that course fees can vary widely depending on the course, institute and location chosen, and should always be sourced from the relevant TAFE institute.
Entry into the TAFE system usually requires students to have reached a level of study equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Higher entry requirements may apply to higher education courses offered at TAFE institutes. Some courses may also have prerequisite subjects or work experience requirements. Entry into some courses, such as art and design courses, may also require submission of a portfolio or audition.
Students should check with individual colleges for any additional entry requirements, English language requirements, information on fees and charges, and course commencement dates.