Technical and Further Education (TAFE)
The Technical and Further Education (TAFE) sector is the largest education and training sector in Australia. Each year thousands of international students come to Australia to take advantage of the extensive range of courses and subject areas that provide practical skills and vocational training for a huge variety of careers.
What TAFE offers
TAFE institutes in Australia are government owned and have a long history of helping international students reach their career goals. International students attend TAFE institutes to complete courses that range from certificate to postgraduate level.
TAFE also offers English language courses, which range in length from around four to 48 weeks. For more information on English language courses visit the Learn English section of this website.
Some common reasons that international students choose to enrol in TAFE courses in Australia are, to:
- improve their chances of being accepted into university study
- gain practical, work-based skills to improve their employment prospects
- take advantage of the wide variety of courses on offer
- enjoy the individual attention that the typically small class sizes allow
- enjoy the advantages of life in Australia
Courses and qualifications
The types of qualifications that can be obtained through the TAFE system include:
- Certificate I–IVcourses are designed to provide introductory skills and training. They provide industry-specific knowledge, and skills in communication, participation, literacy and numeracy, and teamwork. They vary in length from a few weeks to six or more months.
- Diplomacourses prepares students for industry, enterprise and para-professional careers. Some diploma courses can be completed at university level as well as at TAFE institutions. Diplomas require 18 to 24 months of full-time study.
- Advanced diplomacourses provide a high level of practical skills for employment in a specific career area, such as accounting, building design, or engineering. Some advanced diploma courses can also be completed at university level. Advanced diplomas vary in length from 24 to 36 months.
- Vocational graduate certificate/diplomasare the equivalent of the higher education graduate certificate or diploma. They provide high level employment-related skills and knowledge. The graduate certificate usually requires six months of full-time study and the graduate diploma usually requires one year of full-time study.
Pathways to university
TAFE provides both international and domestic students with a number of education pathways to university (higher education). In addition to providing assistance with entrance requirements, TAFE courses can also be counted for credit towards some Australian university courses. For example, students who graduate with a diploma from a TAFE college may receive up to two or three semesters of credit towards a related university degree.
The exact amount of credit granted towards a degree depends on the university, the degree course, and the TAFE qualification completed. It is important to check with the intended university to be certain about possible credit transfers.
Pathways to the workforce
A TAFE qualification can also improve your prospects in the job market. Due to the practical emphasis of most courses in this sector, a TAFE qualification can be a valuable addition to the resume.
Average tuition costsAUD$5500–$18,000 a year
Please note that course fees can vary widely depending on the course, institute and location chosen and should always be sourced from the relevant TAFE institute(s).
General entry requirements
Entry into the TAFE system usually requires students to have reached a level of study equivalent to the Australian Year 10, 11 or 12. Some courses may have prerequisite subjects or work experience requirements. Entry into some courses, such as art and design courses, may also require submission of a portfolio. Students should check with individual colleges for any additional entry requirements, English language requirements, information on fees and charges, and course commencement dates.