Australian Qualifications Framework: A Pathway to Doctoral Degree

August 22, 2020
Author : Alex

The acronym AQF does confuse people but it is important for them to first understand the framework since they will be delivering the qualifications at a particular level. Each qualification has a set of characteristics and as you shift up, the higher will be the level of expertise required. By the time you reach Certificate level 4, you will have good self-management, self-supervision skills. It might be a little messy but it is interesting to understand how the Australian Qualification Framework is stacked over each other.

The AQF or Australian Qualifications Framework is a policy to regulate qualifications in the Australian education and training system. This policy was brought into action in the year 1995 with a motive to underpin the national qualification system in Australia, including vocational education & training (VET), higher education, and schools. The Australian Qualification Framework is a mutually agreed policy of State, Territory, and Commonwealth ministers.

The qualification framework of Australia is integrated with a policy that includes:

  • Type of qualification and the learning outcomes for each level of AQF
  • The required policy to issue an AQF qualification
  • The AQF application terms in the qualification
  • AQF qualifications and its pathways
  • The required policy to remove or add qualification types in the AQF
qualification type

The Australian Qualification Framework Levels

In Australia, the educational qualification standards are listed as per the Australian Qualification Framework which is administered by the Government Department of Industry, Australia. Thus, each course offered has a high education standard. The AQF also offers the rules and responsibilities to colleges and universities to follow that make it easier to pursue education from a student’s point of view. In other words, students get a clear pathway for their course that takes them to next level qualification as shown in the figure.

australian qualifications framework

The topmost benefit of studying in Australia is its clear framework – 10 particular levels of education such as certificates 1,2,3,4, diploma, bachelor degree, and more which are easy to understand and navigate across the world.

Level 1 – Certificate I

The determination of certificate I qualification is to provide basic functional skills and knowledge to undertake tasks. The qualification related to a certificate I generally designed with a motive to enable graduates to showcase their learning as skills, knowledge, and the application of skills and knowledge.

Level 2 – Certificate II

The main aim of the Certificate II qualification level as per the AQF is to make an individual qualify to handle all the routine work and create a pathway to their future learning. Certificate II is categorised in level 2 of the AQF. The courses included in it are designed for graduates so that they can express the learning outcome in terms of knowledge, skill, and its applications.

Level 3 – Certificate III

Students who are getting enrolled in certificate III will have a better understanding of the theoretical and practical concepts. Along with this, they will also develop the skills required to work or in further study. The course duration generally ranges between 1 to 2 years.

Level 4 – Certificate IV

At this level of qualification, an individual comes to learn in-depth about the topic and subject as compared to certificate III. Certificate IV has replaced the trade certificate system and offers training to gain knowledge. Thus, to gain complete knowledge and skills that are helpful in further study, one can certainly opt for certificate IV.

Level 5 – Diploma

The main purpose of offering Diploma qualification is to make students able to apply for an integrated theoretical and technical concept in order to carry out high-level skills. The courses involved in level 5 of AQF generally have 1 to 2 years of duration.

Level 6 – Advanced Diploma/ Associate Degree

Level 6 of the AQF offers you an associate degree and advanced diploma where students get a broad knowledge and adequate skills to work professionally. The Associate degree is of 2 years whereas advance diploma programs range from 1.5 to 2 years.

Level 7 – Bachelor Degree

The bachelor programs are categorised in level 7 of the Australian Qualification Framework. The minimum duration to complete a bachelor's degree is 3 to 4 years. After successful completion of level 7 programs, students have coherent and broad theoretical knowledge and practical skills to work professionally.

Level 8 – Graduate certificate/diploma, Bachelor honours degree

Students studying or planning to study the level 8 programs will have high-level skills and advanced knowledge about the subject. All these practical skills and subject-knowledge are required in the workplace. The level 8 programs include Bachelor's Degree (Hons.), Graduate Diploma, and Graduate Certificate. These courses can easily be found at TAFE colleges, universities, private RTO’s, and community education centers.

Level 9 – Masters degree 

Students who earn a Master's Degree in research, coursework, or extended have specialised knowledge about the subject and high-level skills about the application.

  • Master’s degree in research – 1 to 2 years
  • Master’s degree (coursework) - 1 to 2 years
  • Master’s degree (extended) – 3 to 4 years

Level 10 – Doctoral Degree

The last level of qualification in Australia is level 10 offering doctoral degrees to students. This qualification level is generally offered by a university where students are required to prepare a major thesis that is assessed by external experts.

Over the years, the AFQ has supported Australian education and training needs in the present time as well as into the future. It improves Australia’s economic performance by supporting the pathways which provide people with access and flexibility to switch between various sectors and markets. Ever since the revised framework was approved, it ensured that the outcomes remain relevant and continue to support the pathways; enabling further portability of the qualifications.

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2023-10-02 09:54:12

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