Qualifications available at university and vocational education (VE)
Do you know the difference between degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships? The information below will help you to determine what type of course will be the best fit for your child.
University qualifications take between 2-5 years and are taught in an independent teaching style, different to what your child would experience at secondary school.
Classes consist of lectures, tutorials and specialty classes, students may be in class between 12-20 hours a week. For every hour spent in class students are encouraged to do 1-2 hours work out of class, this can include assignments, reading and group work.
Lectures are held in theatres and are generally one to two hours which can have anywhere from 30-350 students.
Tutorials are less formal than lectures, students discuss and develop ideas that were first introduced in lectures, complete assigned activities, develop specific skills and discuss study topics.
Generally, tutorials will be 1 hour in duration with smaller classes, usually 15-30 students.
Certificates and diplomas are hands-on and practical in nature, they take between six months and two years to complete depending on the qualification. They can also provide a pathway to an undergraduate degree.
These programs have smaller classes than university and are taught with a mixture of seminars, labs and workshops.
A full-time student can be in class anywhere between 20-30 hours a week, with less work required outside of class in comparison to a university course.
Apprenticeships and traineeships are a great way to combine work and study.
A pre-apprenticeship will teach the basic knowledge needed to begin work as an apprentice. These courses can help students when looking for employment, or may be used as a taster for students before committing to a full apprenticeship.
Once a student holds a bachelor degree or has significant work experience, a postgraduate course can deepen knowledge and skills and help to advance or change career prospects.
Postgraduate courses include honours, graduate certificates, graduate diplomas and master levels.
Meet Sophie Grace
Sophie-Grace Thomson studied the Associate Degree in Engineering Technology and is now completing a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) (Honours) at RMIT.
There are many different ways to get to where you want to be in life. And while we might think we have to follow a certain path, often there is a range of choices and ways to get there.
An associate degree gives you a strong grounding in your field and prepares you to enter the workforce as a highly-skilled or paraprofessional employee.