While Australian qualifications fall into a structured national framework, comparing and recognising overseas qualifications can prove more difficult. If you’re looking to have your qualifications recognised in Australia, we discuss who to contact, the steps to follow and the range of qualifications on offer.
Who can assess qualifications?
A number of organisations in Australia are able to assess overseas qualifications. The organisation you contact will depend on your circumstances and whether you intend to study, work or migrate to Australia.
If you’re applying for study in Australia, individual institutions assess your overseas qualifications for admission. You do not need to supply the institution with a qualification assessment, but you will usually need to supply certified copies of any qualification documentation (including diplomas and academic transcripts).
If you’re seeking employment in an industry with specific registration, licensing or professional membership requirements — such as medicine, law, engineering or architecture — you will need to provide a skills assessment from the relevant assessing authority. A full list of these authorities can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
For roles without specific requirements for admission, the Overseas Qualifications Unit in your state or territory can assess completed higher education and vocational or technical education qualifications:
- Australian Capital Territory
- Northern Territory
- South Australia
- Western Australia.
There is no Overseas Qualification Unit in New South Wales; however, the Department of Industry is able to assess trade qualifications. For more information about the assessment of trade qualifications in other states and territories, see Trades Recognition Australia.
Note that the Overseas Qualifications Unit only provides assessments for Australian citizens or permanent residents. If you’re looking to migrate to Australia, there is a different process to follow (see below).
If you are applying for permanent residency through General Skilled Migration, you will need to obtain a skills assessment for your nominated skilled occupation. A list of assessing authorities can be found on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.
What qualifications are available in Australia?
All qualifications in Australia are regulated by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The AQF ensures that all qualifications in Australia are standardised and represent a consistent level of achievement, while allowing easy progression up the qualifications ladder. There are 10 levels in the AQF, ranging from certificates to doctoral degrees. Qualifications fall into one of three sectors — schools, Vocational Education and Training (VET) or higher education.
The schools sector refers to the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education awarded to students upon completion of Year 12 (the end of secondary school). Each state and territory in Australia has a different senior secondary certificate, such as the Higher School Certificate in New South Wales and the Victorian Certificate of Education in Victoria. These certificates are equivalent to British A-Levels, high school diplomas, school leaving certificates or diplomas and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (offered in select schools in Australia).
Qualification: Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
Vocational Education and Training (VET)
The VET sector is designed to offer practical, hands-on training to provide students with skills for work. In Australia, VET qualifications are offered at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes and private colleges, as well as some universities and secondary schools. Students completing apprenticeships or traineeships work towards a VET qualification while completing paid work in the industry. Equivalent overseas qualifications include TVET qualifications, as well as courses offered at polytechnics, technical colleges and industrial training institutes.
Qualifications: certificates I–IV, diplomas, advanced diplomas, vocational graduate certificates, vocational graduate diplomas
The higher education sector in Australia includes both undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications. Courses are primarily offered by universities, although some private colleges and TAFE institutes also offer higher education qualifications.
Qualifications: diplomas, associate degrees, bachelor degrees, bachelor (honours) degrees, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas, masters degrees and doctoral degrees