The Australian Qualifications Framework Explained

Publisher Lonsdale Institute Published on July 13th, 2018
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Choosing to study in Australia offers lots of perks, from beautiful weather and scenery to friendly people, a multicultural lifestyle and an outstanding education system. There’s also a large range of courses to choose from that are recognised all over the world. It can be difficult to understand a foreign qualifications system, so here’s an overview.

The Australian Qualifications Framework

The standard of educational qualifications in Australia is specified by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), administered nationally by the Australian Government’s Department of Industry. This ensures that qualification titles are consistent across the country and that each course offers the same high standard of education.

The AQF provides rules for institutions to follow, making it easier for students to pursue their education. Generally speaking, students can follow a clear pathway that leads into the next qualification down the list until they’re satisfied with their level of education.

The ten AQF levels are:

  • Level 1: Certificate I
  • Level 2: Certificate II
  • Level 3: Certificate III
  • Level 4: Certificate IV
  • Level 5: Diploma
  • Level 6: Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree
  • Level 7: Bachelor Degree
  • Level 8: Bachelor Honours Degree, Vocational Graduate Certificate, Vocational Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma
  • Level 9: Masters Degree
  • Level 10: Doctoral Degree

For international students, the AQF makes appropriate courses easier to find. The qualification titles are the same throughout the country, which means you can focus your search on finding the best institution to suit your needs, rather than trying to work out what the titles mean.

The AQF also ensures that your qualifications are recognised worldwide by making it easier for other countries to understand what level of education each Australian qualification represents. The AQF represents world class education in a modern and technologically advanced society, and because of this, students who study in Australia but choose to pursue careers elsewhere should find it easy to find work following graduation.

How AQF compares

In 2016, the Australian Government and the European Commission released comparative analysis of the AQF and the European Qualifications Framework (EQF). Both were seen to be robust and well-established frameworks. There are compelling similarities between the two frameworks, however there are conceptual and contextual differences, starting with the examples of national qualification types. If you were to compare the AQF framework against the EQF framework, it would look something like this:

Australian Qualifications Framework vs The European Qualifications Framework

1
Certificate I
1
Primary Education Certificate Basic VET Qualification
2
Certificate II
2
Lower-Secondary Education Basic VET Qualification
3
Certificate III
3
Secondary Education Certificate VET Qualification
4
Certificate IV
4
Upper Secondary General Education Certificate VET Qualification
5
Diploma
6
Advanced Diploma Associate Degree
5
SCHE Qualification Higher Professional Qualification
7
Bachelor Degree
8
Bachelor Honours Degree Graduate Certificate Graduate Diploma
6
First Cycle Degree (Bachelor)IE: Honours Bachelor DegreeHigher Professional Qualification DE: Master Craftsman (Certified)
9
Masters Degree
7
Second Cycle Degree (Master) Higher Professional Qualification CZ: Chemical Engineer Product Manager
10
Doctoral Degree
8
Third Cycle Degree (Doctorate) Higher Professional Qualification EE: occ. Qual. ‘chartered engineer’

https://internationaleducation.gov.au/News/Latest-News/Documents/ED16-0165%20-%20693040%20-%20Joint%20Technical%20Report_ACC.pdf

In the United States, the framework comparison looks different again, with far less differentiation between courses. When compared to the AQF, the American educational system might look something like this:

Australian Qualifications Framework vs The American Qualification Framework

1
Certificate I
2
Certificate II
3
Certificate III
4
Certificate IV
5
Diploma
1
Sub-Baccalaureate Awards
6
Advanced Diploma Associate Degree
2
Associate Degree
7
Bachelor Degree
3
Bachelor Degree
8
Bachelor Honours Degree Graduate Certificate Graduate Diploma
4
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
9
Masters Degree
10
Doctoral Degree
5
Masters Degree Post-Masters Certificate Doctors Degree

https://www.nuffic.nl/en/publications/find-a-publication/education-system-united-states.pdf

https://www.ohe.state.mn.us/mPg.cfm?pageID=481

NB: American doesn’t have an official Qualifications Framework, this is just a guide based on the qualifications offered.

Navigating the framework

As you can see from the examples above, the Australian Qualifications Framework follows the same structure as other major countries and continents. The benefit of studying in Australia is in the framework’s clear nature – 10 very specific education levels that are easy to understand and navigate wherever you are in the world.

Lonsdale Institute offers a number of internationally-recognised courses that can gain you Australian qualifications up to an Advanced Diploma level. From classes in marketing and project management to financial services and business, we’ve got something to suit everyone’s interests.

If you’re looking to study in Australia but need to brush up on your English skills first, our Eurocentres English courses are the perfect starting point. After that, entry into one of our many vocational courses is simple. The flowchart below outlines the English programs you would need to undertake to continue further study with us.

Australian qualifications are highly sought after, with Australia producing globally-recognised scientists, designers, educators, entrepreneurs, artists and humanitarians. Many of these are changing the world, winning awards from Oscars to Nobel prizes. Global achievements include the “Black Box” now on every aeroplane, the Earth Hour initiative, and the invention of Wi-Fi.

Interested in gaining Australian qualifications? See where Lonsdale Institute can take you today.

Lonsdale Institute

Lonsdale Institute has over a decade’s experience as a leading provider of education and training for both Australian and international students.