Educational system

A wide range of study options is available for international students in Australia. There are more than 1.200 institutions and over 22.000 courses to choose from, with over 300 schools in New South Wales. You can decide to study at various levels including English language courses, Vocational Education and Training (VET), as well as higher education, universities and TAFE.

As an international student on a student visa, you must study with an institution and in a course that is registered on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Open Conexus will help you choose a college or a school registered in CRICOS.

School education

The schooling system in Australia is basically two levels: primary and secondary. School is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 15. After that students may choose to continue with their secondary study, leave school and start working or enrol in vocational courses.

English Courses

Courses in English are often taken for a various of reasons like study, travel, immigration or business purposes. English courses can also be undertaken at some universities and TAFE institutions.

Vocational Education and Training (VET) & TAFE

Vocational institutions are skill-based courses which are linked to given industries and provide students with practical skills and industry experience. Courses are provided at TAFE institutes and private institutions. In other words, vocational education and training (VET) allows students to gain qualifications for various types of employment, and also to acquire specific skills to help them in the future workplace.

TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. TAFE is Australia’s largest provider of vocational education and training. In Australia, technical and further education or TAFE institutions provide a wide choice of vocational, post-secondary education courses. The fields that TAFE covers range from business, finance, hospitality and tourism to construction, engineering, visual arts, information technology and community work. In other words, TAFE is for you if you are seeking to develop your education or training further. It is also a good choice if you are looking for qualifications and skills needed to find your first job and build your carrier.

Certificates III and IV

A popular for international students are Vocational courses offering Certificate III and Certificate IV. Most students decide to start with Certificate III and later continue to Certificate IV or a Diploma. A Certificate IV is generally accepted by universities to be the equivalent of six to twelve months of a Bachelor’s degree, and credit towards studies may be granted accordingly. These certificates provide training in advanced skills and knowledge and will allow you to work in Australia.


Courses at Diploma may take even between two to three years to complete, and are generally an equivalent to one to two years of study at degree level. Diploma is received for more practical courses. Most students decide on a Diploma course as a further development of one’s education in a given field.

University education

University is the highest level of study in Australia. There are two levels: undergraduate level (Bachelor Degree) and/or a postgraduate level (Graduate Certificate, Diploma, Masters, PhD). Australia has 41 universities, 38 of which are government funded and three privately funded.

Students in Australia quite often enroll in a double or combined Bachelor Degree program. This leads to the award of two Bachelor Degrees and the most common fields are arts, commerce, law and science. A wide range of courses is offered – ranging from science to management and commerce, humanities to engineering, and law to health sciences. Australian institutions rank among the world’s best by discipline, particularly in engineering and technology, medicine, environmental science, and accounting and finance.

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