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Australian Qualifications

The Australian Government designed the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) to ensure that qualification titles across the country are consistent and represent the same high standards of education.

What is the AQF?

The AQF regulates all Australian qualifications and provides clear rules on the level of education each qualification title represents. Each qualification generally leads into the next qualification down the list (see below) in the education framework. Having a nationally standardised system makes it easier for students to pursue their education as there is a clear pathway to follow. It also makes transferring between different states/territories and universities much easier as there is no confusion caused by differing qualification titles and education levels. In addition to these qualifications, the AQF issues a Statement of Attainment when a student completes only part of a qualification.

AQF qualifications by education sector
  • Schools sector
  • Vocational Education and Training (VET)sector
  • Higher education sector
  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (2–3 years)
  • Vocational graduate diploma (1 year)
  • Doctoral degree (3+ years)
  • VET in Schools
  • Vocational graduate certificate (6 months)
  • Masters degree (1–3 years)
  •  
  • Advanced diploma (6 – 12 months)
  • Graduate diploma (1 year)
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  • Diploma (1 year)
  • Graduate certificate (6 months)
  •  
  • Certificate IV (1 year)
  • Bachelor degree (3 years)
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  • Certificate III (6 months)
  • Associate degree, advanced diploma (1.5 years)
  •  
  • Certificate II (6 months)
  • Diploma (1 year)
  •  
  • Certificate I (6 months)
  •  

In addition to these qualifications, the AQF includes a Statement of Attainment that is issued when only part of a qualification is completed. It is a formal record of completion of part of an AQF qualification.

International students and the AQF

The AQF has advantages for international students. It makes course searches much easier as the qualification titles are the same throughout Australia. This means that you can focus on finding the best course and university for your needs, without also having to spend time looking into what each qualification title means. International students who complete a qualification within the AQF will be able to understand the entrance requirements for higher qualifications, for example if they want to progress from undergraduate to postgraduate study.

The AQF also contributes to the worldwide recognition of Australian qualifications, as it is easy for other countries to understand what level of education each Australian qualification represents. There are a limited number of courses that are not part of the AQF but are also available to international students.

Comparisons between overseas qualifications and AQF qualifications Quality assurance

A number of regulations and laws are in place to ensure the quality and consistency of Australia’s international education sector. The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 requires institutions that offer courses to international students to meet nationally consistent standards in education quality, facilities and services. The Act ensures that international students receive the same standard of education as Australian students.

In addition, institutions that wish to offer education to international students must register with the Australian Government under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Registration with CRICOS requires institutions to demonstrate that their qualifications meet Australian standards.

Further information

Private colleges must register with the AQF to be eligible to offer higher education qualifications.

he information in the above article is based on the AQF website.

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