Qualification levels explained (2023)

When you’re trying to decide which qualification is best for you, understanding how qualifications are ranked can be extremely helpful, however, it’s easy to get lost in complicated jargon and terminology. Don’t worry! We’re here to help.

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Firstly, meet theAustralian Qualifications Framework or the AQF. The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australia. AQF levels are a sign of the comparative complexity and depth of qualification, and the ability required to complete it.

Basically, the AQF can tell you what level of skills and knowledge a course will give you. The mostcommon qualification levels delivered at TAFE Queenslandrange from a Level 1 to a Level 7.

AQF Level 1 - Certificate I

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have knowledge and skills for initial work, community involvement and/or further learning.

Translation: Certificate I courses cover base-level skills for entry into the workforce.

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AQF Level 2 - Certificate II

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have basic factual, technical and procedural knowledge of a defined area of work and learning.

Translation: These courses prepare students for entry-level positions or apprenticeships in a variety of industries. As well as providing basic knowledge, a Certificate II demonstrates to a potential employer that you’re actively interested in their industry.

AQF Level 3 - Certificate III

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for work and/or further learning.

Translation: With a relevant certificate III course you’ll develop skills, theoretical knowledge and problem-solving abilities. This level of qualification is ideal for those wanting to gain a trade, change careers or move out of entry-level roles.

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AQF Level 4 - Certificate IV

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have theoretical and practical knowledge and skills for specialised and/or skilled work and/or further learning.

Translation: Designed for supervisory and management positions, Certificate IV courses typically interest those who want to advance their careers in the industry they already work in, or further develop skills and knowledge acquired through previous study.

AQF Level 5 - Diploma

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work and/or further learning.

Translation: Diploma courses develop broad and in-depth skills in professional, technical or creative fields. Skills taught include planning, development and management.

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AQF Level 6 - Advanced Diploma

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have broad knowledge and skills for paraprofessional/highly skilled work and/or further learning.

Translation: Advanced Diploma students will develop high-level practical and professional skills. With full-time courses typically taking two or three years, an Advanced Diploma is ideal for ambitious professionals wanting to fast-track their career.

AQF Level 7 - Bachelor Degree

AQF Summary: Graduates at this level will have broad and coherent knowledge and skills for professional work and/or further learning.

Translation: Bachelor degree students will gain the skills and knowledge needed for many professional, high-level and/or management jobs. They will be able to work autonomously, provide specialist advice and functions, and have well developed judgement and problem solving abilities.

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