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.

To get a copy of your student records, including replacement testamurs, statements of attainment or records of results, please contact your education and training provider directly.

If your provider has closed, please contact the relevant accrediting authority for assistance:

Career information

The Job Guide website provides information about which qualifications are required for specific jobs. The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) also provides information on qualifications required for work.

Course search

You can search for courses leading to AQF qualifications on the following websites:

Professional practice

Professional associations or boards specify the qualifications required for professional practice. Qualifications required by specific professions can be obtained from the websites of relevant professional organisations, for example:

AQF qualifications are identified by the AQF logo or the words ‘This qualification is recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework’.

All AQF qualifications are quality assured through government provider registration and course accreditation processes. Registered education and training providers are authorised under law to issue AQF qualifications.

For information about senior secondary schools, please contact the state or territory accrediting authorities below:

Question: Our organisation has adjusted our Masters Degrees to meet the Specifications of the AQF 2013. Do we need to make any further changes to be compliant with the new 2014 Masters Degree Specification?

Answer: No. If your Masters Degrees meet the requirements of the AQF 2013 there is no need for further work. The changes to the Specification are minor and involve only the documentation of the volume of learning. The key aspect – the learning outcomes of the Masters Degree remain the same.

Question: What are the changes to the Masters Degree specification?

Answer: The revised Masters Degree Specification is included in the Addendum to the AQF Second Edition Januarry 2013: Amended Qualification Type: Masters Degree. This Addendum replaces pages 59-62 of the AQF Second Edition.

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:

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

Question: Are the volume of learning requirements of the Masters Degree in any way affected by the changes?

Answer: No. There is no change to policy. The AQF Volume of learning explanation has been updated to provide further guidance for the Masters Degree.

Question: Why were the changes made, who was involved and what are the benefits?

Answer: Stakeholders had expressed concerns that the former statement on the volume of learning was over 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 now is consistent with that for other AQF qualifications. The amplification of the statement on the volume of learning 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 AQF is Australia’s national quality assured framework of qualifications in the school, vocational education and training and higher education sectors. It was developed in 1995 and revised in 2011-13. It is approved by all Australian governments.  Information about the AQF is on the About the AQF pages.

Implementation arrangements of the revised AQF are on page 103 of the AQF Second Edition January 2013. Implementation commenced on 1 July 2011 and from 1 January 2015, all new enrolments will be in qualifications that meet the requirements of the AQF. Providers will have policies or procedures to assist with the transition of students who may not have completed a qualification which is not compliant.

The AQF logo is the hallmark of Australian quality assured qualifications and is used by registered providers of AQF qualifications on testamurs and for advertising the AQF qualifications they are registered to provide. Other users (for example, publishers) must  request permission to use of the logo. To request high-resolution versions of the AQF logo, or to request permission to use the AQF logo or related material, please email aqfc@aqf.edu.au.

The AQF explanation on certification documentation includes templates that can be used for testamurs and other documentation.

In the vocational education and training sector, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) published a VET-specific fact sheet with a sample of AQF documentation. The ASQA website also has a information on which training logos should be used when. Under legislation, a student’s Unique Student Identifier must not be included on certification documentation.

The AQF titles to be used are 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  
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

The AQF established policy for lifelong learning. It facilitates pathways between AQF qualifications, and between work and life experience and AQF qualifications.

Education and training providers have policies regarding pathways between qualifications and recognition of prior learning or life experience. For further information, contact your education and training provider directly.

In higher education, courses leading to the award of AQF qualifications are accredited by:

In vocational education and training, courses leading to the award of AQF qualifications are accredited or endorsed by:

In secondary education, courses leading to the award of AQF qualifications are accredited by state and territory accrediting authorities:

Education and training providers are responsible for decisions regarding recognition of prior learning (RPL) and credit transfer.

Students will usually need to enrol in a course to apply for RPL or credit transfer, and education and training providers often charge fees for these services. RPL and credit transfer processes match what students can demonstrate they already know against the learning outcomes of a course.

The AQF pathways policy and explanations on RPL and credit transfer provide more information for students and education and training providers. For further information, please contact your education and training provider directly.

Non-AQF qualifications are not government quality assured or accredited by Australian higher education or vocational education and training accreditation authorities. They will not have AQF qualification titles (see also the answer under the FAQ Titles and abbreviations of AQF).

Under Australian law, only registered education and training providers are authorised to deliver and assess AQF qualifications.

In higher education, providers are registered by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

In vocational education and training, training organisations are registered by:

For information about senior secondary schools, please contact the state or territory accrediting authorities below:

People wishing to make a complaint about a vocational education and training provider may contact the National Training Complaints Hotline on 13 38 73 from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm on Monday – Friday. For further information on how to make a complaint about a VET provider, please contact the Australian VET regulators:

For information on how to make a complaint about a higher education provider please contact the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

Additionally, international students may contact the Overseas Students Ombudsman to make a complaint about problems with private education and training in Australia.

For information on education and training providers that have closed, please contact the Australian education and training regulators.

In the higher education sector, please contact the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency.

In the vocational education and training sector, please contact:

Additionally, some information on closed vocational education and training organisations may be listed on the National Register on Vocational Education and Training.

For a comparison table of the AQF against pre-1995 qualifications, please see the Australian Country Education Profile on the Australian Government International Education website.

In 1995, the AQF replaced the Register of Australian Tertiary Education. Transition arrangements between the previous structures and the AQF were developed in 1995, and were valid during the transition period. This information is included in the ‘AQF Transition Arrangements 1995’ document that forms part of the AQF Implementation Handbook 1st Edition.

The Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s Australian Skills Recognition Information area assists skilled workers from outside Australia who are seeking to migrate to Australia or work temporarily in Australia to find information on assessing your qualifications, skills and experience.

Trades Recognition Australia (TRA) is a skills assessment service provider specialising in assessments for people with trade skills gained overseas or in Australia, for the purpose of migration and skills recognition. Please call 1300 360 992 or email traenquiries@education.gov.au for further information.

The Australian Government Department of Education and Training’s Qualifications Recognitions area provides a service to individuals seeking to have their qualifications assessed for equivalence to Australian qualifications. Please call 1300 615 262 or email qualsrecognition@education.gov.au for further information.