What does VET stand for in education?

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If you’ve recently been searching for a new education opportunity, you’ve likely come across VET courses. 

But what are VET courses? Who provides them? What jobs can you get once you complete one?

In this guide, we’ll answer all of your burning questions and provide you with some top tips on finding the right VET qualification so that you can make your next career move with confidence.

What is VET?

VET stands for ‘Vocational Education and Training, a type of education designed to prepare an individual for employment as an artisan, tradesperson or technician.

Vocational courses are the perfect pathway for those looking to build niche career skills that they can immediately apply to a career in a vocational industry. This makes VET an excellent choice for those who are:

  1. Looking to join the workforce.
  2. Keen to gain practical skills.
  3. Interested in a career change.
  4. Looking for a pathway to higher education.

VET qualifications emphasise practical skills and hands-on training to give all applicants real-world expertise that they can apply to vocational roles. VET also provides students with a pathway into further studies, such as higher education.

What job outcomes can I expect from VET courses?

With so many VET qualifications available across Australia, there’s no limit to the number of opportunities available to you.

Some of the most common industries VET courses cover include:

  • Aged Care
  • Accounting
  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Nursing
  • Beaty Therapy
  • Construction
  • Counselling
  • Support Work
  • Business
  • Project Management

This list is not exhaustive. There are hundreds of VET qualifications in Australia. Each is tailored to a specific industry or role, meaning the best course for you will depend on the particular career or education pathway you’re interested in.

From aged carers and education providers to cyber security experts and accountants – whatever your goals, there’s a VET course designed for you.

Who offers VET courses?

VET courses are founded on a partnership between leading industry experts and the Australian Government.

Some VET qualifications are offered by Government organisations. These are known as Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes.

Many VET courses are offered by private institutes such as private colleges and Registered Training Organisations (RTOs), like Sage Education.

All VET qualifications, no matter the provider, are reviewed and regulated by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) to ensure they are designed to a high standard.

The ASQA reviews each VET provider to ensure they have industry-relevant credentials that allow them to teach their students effectively. The ASQA also assesses whether the course content and teaching style are suitable and relevant.

Once the ASQA is satisfied that a course is high-quality, the course is accredited and listed on the Australian National Register (training.gov.au).

Accreditation means that the course is nationally recognised by employers and can be used on your CV to boost your employability.

Courses cannot be licensed as VET courses until they pass the ASQAs review process. This means that each VET course you enrol in is quality-assured and nationally recognised.

What are the different types of VET courses offered?

All VET courses fall under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

The AQF is broken down into ten core sections. VET courses make up the first six categories (sections 1-6).

Qualifications range from Certificates (Certificate I, II, III and IV), Diploma courses and Advanced Diploma courses.

Some courses teach the fundamental knowledge needed for entry-level roles. Others, such as higher-level Certificates and Diplomas, prioritise the advanced skills and leadership qualities required for students to transition into senior positions in their chosen career path.

VET Courses: Certificates, Diplomas and Advanced Diplomas

Let’s break down each course variation and how long they take on average.

AQF Level 1 – Certificate I

Certificate I courses teach students basic functional skills and fundamental knowledge needed to carry out basic tasks as part of a vocational workforce.

Course duration: 3 to 6 months.

AQF Level 2 – Certificate II

Certificate II courses give students more defined knowledge than Certificate I courses. These courses are an excellent pathway into entry-level positions in skill-based industries.

Course duration: 3 months to 1 year

AQF Level 3 – Certificate III

Certificate III courses teach students how to complete specialised tasks and handle unpredictable situations. Some industries, such as the children’s care sector, require a relevant Certificate III course as the minimum qualification.

Course duration: 3 months to 18 months

AQF Level 4 – Certificate IV

Certificate IV courses are the most advanced of all certificate courses. Unlike higher education, which is typically more theoretical, Certificate IV courses provide workers with a wide range of practical skills they can apply to various situations.

Certificate IV courses are usually a minimum requirement for those looking to move into supervisory positions in their chosen career path.

Course duration: 6 months to 2 years

AQF Level 5 – Diploma

Diploma courses are more advanced than any certificate and focus on giving students a deeper understanding of their field. More emphasis is placed on theoretical knowledge students can apply to unique situations. Diplomas are an excellent pathway into leadership positions.

Course duration: 1-2 years

AQF Level 6 – Advanced Diploma

Advanced diploma courses are the most advanced VET qualifications available. They provide highly specialised knowledge and skills. Advanced diplomas are an excellent pathway into management or paraprofessional careers.

Course duration: 2-3 years

VET qualification vs. Higher Education: What’s the difference?

The critical difference between VET and higher education is that VET is focused on practical, hands-on skills, while higher education is based on theoretical knowledge and analysis.

Trying to decide which education path is right for you? Here are some of the other key differences between VET and higher education.

  • VET courses are typically much faster to complete than higher education courses.
  • VET focuses on practical assessments, whereas higher education courses are exam-based.
  • VET courses are usually much cheaper to complete than higher education courses.
  • VET qualifications can often be completed self-paced online. Higher education courses usually require on-campus learning.
  • Higher education courses usually have stricter entry requirements than VET courses.
  • Higher education courses are generally more advanced and theoretical than VET courses.

In short, Higher education is suited to those who want to develop deep, broad knowledge in their chosen field. VET courses are best for those seeking to gain specific workplace skills that they can immediately apply to vocational roles.

If you’re looking to secure employment quickly as soon as you finish your training, a VET course could be the correct choice for you.

Where can I find VET courses?

Sage Education is one of Australia’s leading providers of nationally recognised, accredited qualifications. Since our launch in 1998, we’ve helped thousands of successful applicants graduate from our courses, building practical skills and relevant expertise along the way.

We believe our duties as a registered training provider go beyond helping our students build lifelong skills and practical expertise. That’s why we also pledge to help our students secure employment after they graduate from their course.

We’re confident in our employment scheme, and are proud to say that we help over 80% of all course graduates secure employment once they complete their training.

Want to learn more? Get in touch. Our team of helpful advisers are happy to help. At Sage, we’re committed to finding you a VET course that helps you land the career of your dreams.

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