The AQF is the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training
The AQF links education and the labour market
The AQF sets the standards for Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is a flexible, contemporary framework of Australia’s qualifications
The AQF is Australia’s National Qualifications Framework
The AQF builds confidence in qualifications
The AQF supports the development of pathways to assist people to move easily through education and training and work
The AQF supports lifelong learning
The AQF underpins regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training
The AQF supports national and international mobility of graduates and workers
The AQF enables comparability of Australian and international qualifications
AQF qualifications are the currency of the labour market

FAQs

Click on the headings below to view the information.

Non-AQF qualifications are those that are not government quality assured and not accredited by the Australian higher education or vocational education and training accreditation authorities. They should not have AQF qualification titles.

AQF qualifications are accredited by:

In higher education, the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) is the national accrediting body which:

  • registers higher education providers and universities,
  • accredits qualifications developed by non self-accrediting providers, and
  • authorises universities and designated higher education providers to self-accredit their qualifications.

The Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) maintains the National Register of higher education providers which  lists all providers, including authorised self-accrediting higher education providers and the qualifications they are authorised to issue.

Self-accrediting higher education providers, such as universities, are authorised by TEQSA to accredit their own AQF qualifications.

If you wish to know more about a self-accrediting provider, click on the National Register of higher education providers. This will take you to the websites of universities and self-accrediting higher education providers where you also can search for the qualifications these providers issue. 

In the vocational education and training sector there are three bodies authorised to accredit qualifications.

Information on accredited qualifications in the vocational education and training sector can be found on the National Register on VET in Australia which is located on the website, www.training.gov.au.

Requirements for certification are set out in the national standards that apply to registered organisations in the VET or Higher Education sectors. These standards are the Higher Education Standards Framework for Higher Education qualifications and the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 for VET qualifications. These documents also reference the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy.

For questions about your certification, you should consult your education provider in the first instance. If you have further queries, you should contact the relevant regulator: for higher education: the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency, and for vocational education and training: the Australian Skills Quality Authority.

Details of current and non-current registered training organisations may be found on the National Register of Vocational Education and Training on the www.training.gov.au website. If your training organisation has closed, you may be able to obtain information on your qualification from the relevant VET regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) if the provider was in any state other than Victoria or Western Australia and the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority if the provider was in Victoria and the WA Training Accreditation Council if the provider was in Western Australia. Depending on the age of your qualification, information may not available.

The Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) National Register of Higher Education Providers lists details of current higher education providers. If your provider has closed, you may wish to contact TEQSA to see if you can be provided with further information. Depending on the age of your qualification, information may not be available.

It is best for you to try to resolve the complaint directly with your education provider. All education providers are required to have processes in place to deal with student complaints. For public education providers (for example, TAFEs and public universities) you may be able to contact the relevant Commonwealth, state or territory Ombudsman with your complaint. International students studying with a private education provider can contact the Overseas Student Ombudsman.

For higher education providers, you may wish to contact the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). TEQSA uses information from student complaints in assessing whether a registered higher education provider continues to comply with the Higher Education Standards Framework.

For vocational education and training providers, the national regulator is the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). ASQA is responsible for assessing the compliance of VET providers with the VET Quality Framework, including the Standards for NVR Registered Training Organisations available on the ASQA website.

Some VET institutions in Victoria and Western Australia may come under the jurisdiction of their respective state regulators, rather than ASQA. These state regulators are the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council. You can check which regulator has jurisdiction over your VET provider by consulting the provider’s registration information on the National Register at training.gov.au.

Stakeholders had expressed concerns that the former statement on the volume of learning was overly complex, unnecessarily prescriptive and removed focus from the important aspect – the learning outcomes.

The new Masters Specification was developed with the advice of the higher education members of the AQF Council and in consultation with the Universities Australia AQF Standing Group, TEQSA and representatives of other higher education providers, including CoPHE and ACPET.

The changes make the Masters Degree Specification more user-friendly and bring greater consistency and clarity to the AQF. The volume of learning statement for the Masters Degree is now consistent with that for other AQF qualifications. The amplification of the statement on the volume of learning (see the Addendum page 8) makes it consistent with the statement for the Graduate Certificate and the Graduate Diploma qualification types, which often are nested within the Master Degree (Coursework). The removal of the prescriptive elements maximises professional discretion in the design and development of programs of learning leading to a Masters Degree.

The revised Masters Degree Specification is included in the Addendum to the AQF Second Edition January 2013: Amended Qualification Type: Masters Degree. This Addendum replaces pages 59-62 of the AQF Second Edition. The two key changes are summarized below.

Change 1 

The volume of learning descriptors for the Masters Degree (Research) and the Masters Degree (Coursework) have been simplified by deleting the former complex prescriptions. The volume of learning descriptors now comprise a single sentence, and are as follows:

Volume of learning The volume of learning of a Masters Degree (Research) is typically 1 – 2 years. The volume of learning of a Masters Degree (Coursework) is typically 1 – 2 years. The volume of learning of a Masters Degree (Extended) is typically 3 – 4 years following completion of a minimum of a 3 year level 7 qualification

Change 2 

The statement on the volume of learning under the heading Responsibility for accreditation and development (last dot point at page 62) AQF Second Edition 2013 has been amplified:

  • The volume of learning is sufficient for graduates to achieve the learning outcomes for a qualification of this level and type. The volume of learning must take into account the level of the previous qualification and / or knowledge and skills required for entry and whether the purpose is for deepening or broadening knowledge and skills

Professional associations or boards specify the qualifications required for professional practice. Some professional associations also accredit specific courses at institutions for entry into a particular profession. More information on this can be found by searching the website of the professional association for your field of study/profession.

The AQF itself does not register institutions. In Australia, this is undertaken by National or State/Territory accrediting authorities.

Registered Training Organisations for the Vocational Education and Training Sector 

Information on becoming an RTO can be found on the website of the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA).

Some VET providers in Victoria and Western Australia continue to come under the jurisdiction of their respective state regulators, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council. These are providers that do not offer courses outside Victoria and Western Australia, and do not offer courses to overseas students.

Higher Education Sector

Information on becoming a higher education provider can be found on the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency website.

If you are studying through a VET provider, you can find this information on the National Register of VET on www.training.gov.au.

If you are studying through a higher education provider, this information can be found on the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency’s website under the National Register of Higher Education Providers.

AQF qualifications can be found on the national registers listed above, unless they have been accredited by a self-accrediting higher education provider. If you are studying at a self-accrediting higher education provider, contact the institution or search their website to seek further information about their courses.

After receiving graduation documentation from your prospective employee, it is best to directly contact the tertiary institution at which the study was completed to have a qualification verified.

For VET qualifications, if the training organisation that issued the qualification is no longer registered, you may wish to contact the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) for information on the qualification. For higher education qualifications, if the institution that issued the qualification is no longer registered, you may wish to contact the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

All higher education and vocational education and training providers are required to have policies regarding pathways between qualifications and recognition of previous learning and/or experience that you may have. You will need to provide evidence of your previous study and any relevant work experience. Check the website of the provider where you wish to study or contact their student counsellor for more information. The AQF includes a pathways policy which provides information for students and providers.

You need to discuss this directly with your education provider. Usually you will need to be enrolled in a course to apply for recognition of prior learning (RPL) and there is often a charge for the service. The process is one of matching what you already know against the learning outcomes of the course you want to study. The AQF includes a pathways policy which provides information for students and providers.

The organisation that assesses your foreign qualification depends on the purpose of the assessment.

Migration

See the Department of Immigration and Border Protection for information about the recognition of foreign qualifications for migration.

Employment

The requirements to work in Australia depend on the occupation:

Study

Each education provider is responsible for the recognition of foreign qualifications for admission to study. Contact the institution directly to find out how they will recognise your qualification. For further information, see the Study in Australia website.

The logo is available for download on our website. A permission form accompanies the logo. If you are a provider registered with the relevant regulator, the permission form does not need to be filled out if the logo will be used on testamurs or advertising an AQF qualification.

A permission form must be filled out for any other use of the logo, such as using portions of the AQF in publications or learning materials.

The AQF logo cannot be used by providers not registered with the relevant regulator.

What needs to be included on testamurs and statements of attainment in the VET sector?

Information on testamurs and statements of attainment in the VET sector is outlined in the Users’ Guide to the Standards for Registered Training Organisations 2015 which is available on the Australian Skills Quality Authority website.

Questions that relate to interpretation of the AQF for regulatory purposes should be directed to the relevant regulator.

In higher education, this is the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).

In the vocational education and training sector (VET), this is usually the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Some VET providers in Victoria and Western Australia fall under the jurisdiction of their respective state regulators, the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council. Each VET provider’s entry on training.gov.au provides the name of the relevant regulator.

AQF titles are outlined in the table below. Some further examples of abbreviations are below the table:

Qualification type Title Abbreviation
Senior Secondary Certificate of Education

various according to state or territory – Higher School Certificate (NSW), Year 12 Certificate (ACT), Northern Territory Certificate of Education, NTCE (NT), Student Education Profile, SEP, or The Senior Certificate (QLD), South Australia Certificate of Education, SACE (SA), The Tasmanian Certificate of Education, TEC, (Tasmania), The Victorian Certificate of Education, VCE and The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, VCAL (VIC), Western Australia Certificate of Education, WACE (WA), National Certificate of Educational Achievement, NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship Certificate (New Zealand).

Certificate I-IV  Certificate (I-IV) (field of study/discipline) Cert…(field abbreviated)
Diploma  Diploma (field of study/discipline) Dip…(field abbreviated)
Advanced Diploma  Advanced Diploma (field of study) AdvDip…(field abbreviated)
Associate Degree  Associate Degree (field of study/discipline) AssocD…(field abbreviated)
Bachelor Degree  Bachelor (field of study/discipline) B…(field abbreviated)
Graduate Certificate  Graduate Certificate (field of study/discipline) GradCert…(field abbreviated)
Graduate Diploma  Graduate Diploma (field of study/discipline) GradDip…(field abbreviated)
Masters Degree  Master (field of study/discipline) M…(field abbreviated)
Doctoral Degree  Doctor (field of study/discipline) D…(field abbreviated)

Examples:

  • CertIIBus – Certificate II in Business
  • CertIVHosp – Certificate IV in Hospitality
  • AdvDipBldDes – Advanced Diploma of Building Design
  • AssocDEng – Associate Degree of Engineering
  • GradCertIT – Graduate Certificate in Information Technology

Implementation commenced on 1 July 2011 and from 1 January 2015, new enrolments with registered providers must be in qualifications that meet the requirements of the revised AQF. Providers will have policies or procedures to assist with the transition of students who may have completed a qualification which is not compliant with the revised AQF.

All AQF qualifications are quality assured through government accreditation processes. Education providers that issue AQF qualifications have been authorised to do so under law.

AQF qualifications are identified by inclusion of the AQF logo, or the words: This qualification is recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework.

In the higher education sector, AQF qualifications are accredited either by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), or by a self-accrediting higher education provider such as a university. Qualifications accredited by TEQSA can be found on the National Register. For institutions with self-accrediting authority, you will need to contact the institution for details of the courses they have accredited.

In the vocational education and training sector, qualifications are accredited by either the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) or the Western Australian Training Accreditation Council (TAC) and are listed on the National Register at www.training.gov.au.

The AQF is Australia’s national framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training and higher education sectors. It was developed in 1995 and has been revised a number of times, with the most recent major revision taking place in 2011 with full effect from January 2015. It is an agreed policy of Commonwealth, state and territory governments.