Vocational Education and Training (VET)
What is VET?
Who offers VET courses?
How do VET courses differ to higher education courses?
Courses and qualifications
Average tuition costs
- Entry requirements
- View the VET institutions list
- Search for a course
Vocational Education and Training (VET) is education and training that focuses on providing skills for work. Thousands of courses are offered through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) education sector in Australia. Qualifications gained through the VET sector lead to a variety of diverse and exciting careers. VET provides the skills to help people to:
- join the workforce for the first time
- rejoin the workforce after a break
- upgrade skills in their chosen field
- move into a different career.
VET courses are offered by Registered Training Organisations (RTOs). These can include Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and private colleges. Some universities may also offer VET courses in addition to higher education courses. Each Australian state or territory registers these organisations to:
- provide quality training
- deliver courses developed with industry
- issue a nationally recognised qualification.
A list of registered RTOs is provided on the training.gov.au website.
RTOs that offer courses to international students must also register with the Australian Government’s Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). This register allows the government to monitor the education offered to international students in Australia and ensure that it is of a consistently high quality. Full details can be found on the CRICOS website.
Traditionally, VET courses are known to focus more on providing practical and work-orientated occupational skills, whereas university or higher education courses are better known for focusing on providing theory-based knowledge and professional career paths. There are many exceptions to this though because VET covers such a wide range of different courses and qualifications.
VET courses cover:
- basic life skills, even literacy and numeracy training (e.g. pre-vocational training or foundation studies)
- basic vocational skills for particular occupations (e.g. floristry, automotive)
- semi-professional vocational training (e.g. business advertising, occupational health and safety)
- degrees with a practical focus (e.g. viticulture, music, hospitality).
Australian VET courses provide students with skills that employers have identified as important in the workplace.
The types of qualifications that can be obtained through the VET 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.
VET courses, particularly at the diploma and advanced diploma level, can often lead into higher education courses such as bachelor degrees. On the other hand, it’s increasingly common for higher education graduates to complete VET qualifications in order to gain practical, work-orientated skills to assist them to enter the workforce. VET providers may also offer English language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks.
Most VET courses are part of national training packages that are updated regularly in consultation with relevant industry bodies. They also follow the same curriculum wherever you study them, so you can transfer your credits to an identical program at a different organisation.
VET courses also have the advantage of being ‘competency based’, which means that you gain your qualification when the required skill level is achieved, rather than having to study a certain number of years before you can be recognised for completing a qualification.
$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, institution and location chosen, and should always be sourced from the relevant provider.
Entry into the VET system usually requires students to have reached a level of study equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Some courses may 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 an audition. Students should check with individual colleges for any additional entry requirements, English language requirements, information on fees and charges, and course starting dates.