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What is a TAFE?

Students attend TAFE open day

Individuals searching for colleges or schools in Australia might have encountered TAFE and are wondering what is tafe? TAFE stands for technical and further education, and multiple institutions in the country provide this tertiary education option for those looking to gain vocational qualifications for numerous fields and industries.

What are the differences between a university and a TAFE?

Although TAFE institutions provide tertiary education like universities, the two have differences that potential students must consider. Typically, completing university education at the undergraduate level results in a bachelor degree, which is ranked higher by the Australian Qualification Framework than the qualifications resulting from taking TAFE courses, which are certificates I, II, III and IV, diploma and advanced diploma. The length of study is also different between a university course and a TAFE course.

Completion of university studies at the undergraduate level usually takes three or four years, while TAFE courses can take anywhere from one to three years. Students can also expect a difference in teaching and learning methods, as a TAFE course is known to be more practical learning.

This hands on learning leads to students gaining practical and technical skills that will allow them to enter and thrive in the positions and industries they strive to be in, making TAFE an ideal option for international students who want a seamless transition into their careers and work placements.

Another important thing to know for international students is that quite a number of TAFE institutions and their campuses are situated in major areas of the country, so a potential student will be able to choose a location that would meet his or her needs and interests.

What can I study at a TAFE institution?

TAFE institutions offer courses on various subject areas, including the following:

  • Agriculture
  • Arts and Design
  • Building and Furnishing
  • Business and Marketing
  • Community and Health
  • Education and Languages
  • Engineering and Transport
  • Food and Beverage
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Information Technology

What are the qualifications and how much do they cost?

Aside from offering a wide range of subjects, TAFE institutions also offer a number of qualifications that a potential student can choose from depending on his or her career goals. These include the different certificates and diplomas as mentioned earlier in the article. In some cases, these qualifications can be used as credit towards a bachelor’s degree. In recent years, some TAFE institutions have started offering degree level courses. However, diploma and certificate courses are still more commonly offered and can cost anywhere from AUD$9,000 to AUD$15,000 per academic year.

Where can I study a TAFE?

There are numerous institutions offering TAFE qualifications, and they are divided by state or territory:

  • TAFE New South Wales
  • TAFE Victoria
  • TAFE Queensland
  • TAFE South Australia
  • TAFE Western Australia
  • TAFE Tasmania
  • Australian Capital Territory

For international students looking for study options that have a hands-on focus as well as a practical learning environment, TAFE can be an ideal choice. Interested in learning more? You can learn more about different courses available by using StudyLink’s search tool.
Image by Michael Coghlan:CC

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