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.
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What is TAFE?
TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. It is an educational institution in Australia that provides vocational training and education in various fields. TAFE institutes offer a wide range of courses and programs designed to equip students with practical skills and knowledge for specific industries and occupations.
TAFE courses focus on practical, hands-on learning, preparing students for employment in a specific trade, profession, or industry. The courses are designed to meet the needs of the workforce, providing industry-relevant skills and qualifications.
TAFE institutes offer a diverse range of programs, including certificate courses, diplomas, advanced diplomas, and short courses. The programs cover a wide range of industries such as hospitality, information technology, automotive, construction, business, healthcare, creative arts, and more.
TAFE qualifications are recognized and respected in Australia and often lead to direct employment opportunities or can be used as a pathway to further studies at universities. 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.
TAFE institutes are present across Australia, with multiple campuses and locations in each state and territory. They provide modern facilities, industry-standard equipment, and experienced instructors who bring real-world expertise to the classroom.
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.
What courses are offered at TAFE?
TAFE institutes offer a diverse range of courses in various fields. Some common courses include:
- Building and Construction: Carpentry, Plumbing, Electrical, Bricklaying.
- Hospitality and Tourism: Cookery, Hotel Management, Tourism Operations.
- Business and Management: Business Administration, Marketing, Human Resources.
- Information Technology: Networking, Software Development, Cybersecurity.
- Health and Community Services: Nursing, Aged Care, Disability Support.
- Automotive: Automotive Mechanics, Panel Beating, Automotive Electrical.
- Hair and Beauty: Hairdressing, Beauty Therapy, Makeup Artistry.
- Design and Visual Arts: Graphic Design, Photography, Fashion Design.
- Engineering: Mechanical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Welding.
- Education and Early Childhood: Teaching Support, Early Childhood Education.
These are just a few examples, and TAFE institutes offer a wide range of other courses tailored to different industries and career paths. The specific courses available may vary across different TAFE institutes and regions.
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 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 are the costs associated with studying at TAFE?
TAFE is affordable. TAFE tuition fees differ for each course and can vary between institutes. The fees are typically lower than those of university programs. The cost will depend on the level of qualification, ranging from certificate courses (lower fees) to diplomas and advanced diplomas (higher fees). 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 Australia, some TAFE courses are eligible for government subsidies, which aim to reduce the cost of education. These subsidies can significantly lower the tuition fees for eligible students. The availability and extent of subsidies vary between states and territories, and the specific course being undertaken. Eligibility criteria, such as residency status, age, and prior qualifications, may apply. The TAFE institute or government education departments can provide more information on available subsidies.
Also, some TAFE institutes and external organizations offer scholarships and grants to assist students with their studies. These can be merit-based, need-based, or targeted toward specific fields of study. It’s advisable to research available scholarships and grants and check with the TAFE institute’s financial aid office for potential opportunities.
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: