If you want to study in Australia but don’t want to head to university, a TAFE course might be a good option. TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. TAFE are institutes that award vocational and technical degrees in Australia. More accessible than universities, they are popular with young people. In this article we tell you more about the TAFE system, how to integrate them and the different opportunities after professional studies.
What is TAFE?
TAFE (Technical And Further Education) institutes allow you to follow higher vocational studies (Vocational Education Training). It is a system of public institutions, government-funded. You can enrol for a range of courses leading to “Certificates (I, II,III, IV), Diplomas & Advanced Diplomas ”. The qualifications are graded. For example, Certificate I courses are suitable for those who may not have completed high school.
Every region has its own TAFE institutes with campuses spread across all the major cities of the states and territories. TAFE studies are extremely flexible, with short or long courses (from 6 months to 2 years), part time or full time courses. There are on-campus options and online courses.
These practical training courses are affordable and can also be an excellent pathway to undergraduate degrees at university if you have good results. TAFE is also a great option for people who want to change careers and learn new skills.
The start of the course is generally in February and July of each year (semester-based courses). However, note that semesters vary from region to region and institute to institute, so TAFE in VIC may not start at the same time as those in WA. Some TAFE institutes offer rolling registrations. This means you can apply for and start a course whenever it’s convenient for you.
How to study at TAFE?
Entry requirements are not as strict as for university study. For example, there are no entry requirements for Certificate I courses, which are suitable for those who may not have completed high school. Depending on the course you wish to enrol to, TAFE may consider your academic record, work experience, or high demand diploma and associate degrees. You can apply directly to your preferred TAFE for most courses.
There is a minimum level of English language skills that are required to study at TAFE for international students who do not speak English as their first language. For Certificate III, Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma, you may need to achieve a overall score of 5.5 at the IELTS Academic (with no score lower than 5.0). For Associate degree level programs, an overall score of 6.0 is required. These requirements will differ from state to state and institutes. Make sure to check with the chosen TAFE.
What can you study at TAFE?
TAFE is extremely flexible and offers a large range of courses depending on the state or territory. You can choose training in building and construction; business and financial services; education; hospitality, travel and tourism etc.
TAFE training courses allow you to obtain the necessary skills to work in a new field or to top up existing skills. During your training, you will learn essential, industry-relevant practical skills and essential, industry-relevant theory.
Allow around 12 to 15 hours of class per week. To this is added personal work, around 20 hours. You can choose to study part-time, full time, online or on campus (depending on the course).
How much does it cost?
TAFE is affordable. There are also several government funding programs available. Costs will vary depending on the course you choose. The total course fee can range from $4,000 to $15,000 per semester for vocational courses in NSW. Depending on your visa status, the cost will also vary. You will have to pay for books and materials as well as course fees.
In summary, the tuition fee depends on the course you choose, the length of it, whether you study full time, part time or online, if you apply for course credits and your eligibility for subsidised training or fee exemptions.
List of TAFE institutes in Australia
Every region in Australia has its own TAFE institutes. Some specialise in certain fields of study, and others offer a full variety of courses: