Thousands of courses are available through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector in Australia.

What are Vocational Courses?

Vocational Education and Training (VET) is education and training that focuses on providing skills for work.

VET provides the skills to help people to:

  • join the workforce for the first time
  • re-join the workforce after a break
  • upgrade skills in their chosen field
  • move into a different career.

VET courses cover:

  • basic life skills, even literacy and numeracy training (such as pre-vocational training or foundation studies)
  • basic vocational skills for particular occupations (such as floristry and automotive)
  • semi-professional vocational training (such as business advertising, and occupational health and safety)
  • study areas with a practical focus (such as viticulture, music and hospitality).

VET courses, particularly at the diploma and advanced diploma level, can often lead into higher education courses such as bachelor degrees.

Who offers VET?

VET courses are primarily 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.


Courses and qualifications

The VET sector includes the following types of qualifications:
Certificate I to IV: These courses provide introductory skills and training. They teach industry-specific knowledge and skills in communication, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork. They vary in length from six months to two years.

Diploma: Diplomas prepare 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. Students can complete some advanced diploma courses at university level. Advanced diplomas vary in length from 1.5 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.

English language courses: VET providers may also offer English language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks. For more information about learning English in Australia, see English language courses.