Qualifications are awarded when you successfully complete a course. This page outlines the purpose of courses at each qualification level and the skills involved.
Vocational or work-related qualifications focus on learning practical skills for work. The level at which you enter your career may depend on the qualification you gain when you finish your course.
The time it takes to complete your qualification will depend on your prior level of skills and knowledge, whether you’re studying full time, part time or externally as well as what you are studying.
It also depends on factors related to the industry or work area you are studying in. For example, a diploma may take two years of full-time study and a Certificate III may take less. A Certificate III trade apprenticeship, which is a combination of work and training, generally takes about four years to complete.
Higher Education qualifications
Higher education gives you a professional qualification with a theoretical focus. You can choose from courses delivered at universities, some TAFE institutes and private training providers.
Generally, courses at this level include undergraduate degrees, postgraduate degrees and doctorates.
You can complete a university course at a public university or a private higher education provider. There are ten universities operating in Victoria - eight Victorian public universities, two campuses of the Australian Catholic University and University of Divinity.
The careers and course information centres at any university can offer you more advice on studying at university.
Recognition of skills you have already
Many institutions recognise skills you have gained through life, work experience and/or former study. These may count towards a qualification and can mean getting the qualification you want without having to study what you already know.