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It can be difficult understanding what different
qualifications mean and which one is right for you
For those new to the world of post-school education there seems to be
an ever-expanding number of qualifications, but they can be divided
into three basic categories: certificate, diploma and Bachelor degree.
The Federal Government, through its Department of Education,
Employment and Workplace Relations, maintains the Australian
Qualifications Framework (AQF). Employers and educational institutions
usually only recognise qualifications that fall within the AQF, and
that framework, broadly speaking, has three levels.
Certificates I to IV take six months to two years to complete and are
the entry-level post-school qualifications. Certificates I to II
provide basic vocational skills and knowledge. Certificates III to IV
provide more advanced skills and knowledge. A Certificate IV is the
equivalent of six to 12 months of studying for a degree at university.
(Oh, and it's not always necessary to complete a lower level
certificate to gain entry to a higher one.)
Courses at Diploma (or Advanced Diploma) level generally take two to
three years to complete and prepare students for careers that require
a broad range of complex technical skills and in-depth knowledge.
They're considered equivalent to one or two years studying for a
degree at university.
The undergraduate bachelor degree is the base university
qualification. It takes three to four years to complete and signifies
broad, coherent knowledge and the ability to undertake work in one of
Historically, TAFE offered certificate and diploma courses and
universities offered undergraduate bachelor degree courses. TAFE now
offers some degree courses while unis offer some diploma courses, but
it remains the case that the further up the qualifications hierarchy
you go, the more work is involved in gaining the credentials and the
more prestige they have.
But there's no need to be overqualified for a position. For example,
if you wish to work as child care worker, a Certificate III or IV in
Children's Services will be sufficient. But if you want to work as an
early childhood teacher, you'll have to do a Bachelor
of Early Childhood Education and Care. Increasingly,
qualifications from TAFE are recognised by universities, meaning that
if you ever decide to do a degree (either at TAFE or uni) you will be
able to transfer credit for
certificate or diploma qualifications you've already gained.
Whatever direction you decide to take we can help
you get there. In the meantime, you can browse the full
range of TAFE NSW courses and enrol today!