TAFE courses

TAFE instead of University ?

TAFE ( Technical and Further Education ) and OTEN institutions offer additional study and job alternatives for school leavers who are cannot  attend uni or afford to do so. TAFEprovides highly specialized and practical training focused at students in search of specific training for well defined job types. Such jobs range from the trades to office work TAFE colleges are scattered across QLD,  NSW, VIC, SA, TAS, WA, ACT and NT.  Click here for a list of TAFE institutes. News flash ! >Job training worth more than (some) degreesMore non-TAFE study options here :


  • Some degrees typically lead to specific professional outcomes like Law, Medicine, Engineering, Architecture,Psychology, Nursing  to name a few
  • Other degrees,  do not lead directly to a pre-designated profession . Eg Liberal Arts, Business Studies, Political Science
  • University courses tend to be more theory based which provides a framework for analysing and problem solving
  • A noticeable difference between TAFE and university is that the learning environment is much less structured. Students choose when to study and how hard to push themselves
  • While lecture times are clearly set out, the responsibility – to attend, to do homework, to do the research, to study extra hours – is yours


TAFE courses are highly targeted on learning to prepare for very specific types of work and in many cases involve learning at work.
IT, Accounting, Skilled tradesmen ( Plumber, Electrician, Glazier, Motor Mechanics ), Engineering technicians.

TAFE teaching is based on ensuring students gain specific skills, there are :

  • More contact hours
  • Smaller classes
  • More personal contact with the course instructors

The skills you learn are directly relevant to performing tasks in the workplace and are aimed at improving your employability, and ability to adapt to changing work.

 Certificate or Diploma ?

TAFE courses are typically offered  at Certificate I, II, III, IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma levellasting 6 months to 2 years, the exact duration depends on full or part time enrolment. Currently, in many cases, Cert 1 & 2 are grouped together, as are Cert 3 & 4. Completion of Cert 3 & 4 is typically a requirement before admission to Diploma is possible. However, if you are a mature age student who have worked several years in the chosen field of study, it may be possible to get exemptions  ( in recognition of relevant work experience ) and gain direct admission to a Diploma program without competing  Certificate 3 & 4 first. In such cases, such exemption are granted after successfully passing qualifying tests . Please inquire at your local TAFE for more details. As well, Cert 2 &3 suit those still in secondary school who wish to take TAFE courses concurrently with their high school studies, whilst Cert 3 & 4 are targeted at people who have completed at least year 10 or even HSC or a university degree.

University or TAFE  ?

Many TAFE courses suit degree graduates who find it useful to take a short course specialised in an area or wish to pursue a different line of work.  Post grad TAFE courses are especially suited for university grads who wish to take  a short course in a highly focussed topic or to acquire professional certifications , especially prevalent in the IT field. This might also explain why some uni grads return to TAFE for work’s sake especially when the previous degree they acquired has poor employment prospects. TAFE courses are highly regarded by Aussie employers as they are designed to teach students practical and employable skills such as welding, painting, carpentry, plumbing, electrical science, computing and computer programming, network system administration,  IT security, database design, PC Support etc. TAFE diploma and certificate courses, whilst not equivalent to university degrees, TAFE qualifications generally have more practical focus than degree courses.

Suggested courses leading to jobs in demand :

  • Accounting, Bookkeeping &  Finance – Accounts clerk, Accounts Payable, Receivable, Payroll
  • Animal Studies Vet nurse, Zookeeper, carer, pet groomer, dog handler trainer
  • Automotive trades – mechanic auto electrician, tyre fitter, motocycle mechanic,  parts interpreter
  • Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations PR, Copywriter, Promotions
  • Architecture and Building Design – CAD Technician, Electronic Draftsman, modelling
  • Aviation  Air traffic controller,  helicopter pilot, airplane pilot
  • Beauty Therapy – Beautician, therapist, make-up artist, nail technician,
  • Business & Office Administration (PA, Executive Assistant, Secretaries Admin assistant, clerk , receptionist )
  • Building & Construction – builder, asbestos remover, carpenter, estimator, foreman,  tiler, painter, decorator, plumber,  rigger, scaffolder, waterproofer
  • Civil and Structural Engineering ( Technician, Draftsman, Quantity Surveyor )
  • Computer , Computing, Network  Admin Tech Support
  • Call Centre – Customer Service, HelpDesk, Service desk officer
  • Children Services – child care worker, nanny
  • Childcare
  • Community- Youth worker, mental health worker, case worker, welfare support,  counsellor
  • CAD and Detail Drafting : AutoCad , AutoDesk Revit software etc
  • Dentistry Dental Assistant or technician, prosthetist,   radiographer, hygienist
  • Design – Cartoonist, animator, graphic designer, jeweller,  jewellery design, model maker, web designer
  • Electrical,  Electronics,  Electrotechnology technician, Electricians, installation, PC assembly,  repair,  Security systems / CCTV installer
  • Events Management – Conference organiser, Exhibitions,  Venue manager
  • Environment – Lab technician 
  • Fashion merchandiser,  Milliner,  sewing machinist,  supply chain manager
  • Fashion, Costume and Millinery – designer,  patternmaker, fabric designer, printer, apparel cutter,  CAD operator, dress maker
  • Fine arts- artist, ceramics, sculptor, potter, visual arts assistant 
  • Floristry ( Flower arrangement industry )
  • Food Technology & Processing – Lab tech, handler,  processing operator,  food inspector
  • Footwear – designer, machinist, shoemaker, repairer
  • Environment – Lab technician
  • Events Management – Conference organiser, Exhibitions,  Venue manager
  • Fashion, Costume and Millinery – designer, pattern-maker, fabric designer, printer, apparel cutter,  CAD operator, dress maker,  Fashion merchandiser, Milliner,  sewing machinist,  supply chain manager
  • Fine arts- artist, ceramics, sculptor, potter visual arts assistant  
  • Food Technology & Processing – Lab tech, handler, processing operator,  food inspector
  • Footwear- designer, machinist, shoemaker, repairer
  • Human Resource HR, OHS
  • Hairdressing
  • Healthcare
  • Hospitality
  • IT ::  1. Programming ( software development) 2. Infrastructure ( Networking / Tech Support ) 3. Security 4. Voice ( VoIP) etc
  • Logistics
  • Language Interpretation
  • Jewelry, Watch & Clock-making Lab science- Biomedical, Pathology, Mortuary
  • Lab science – Bio-medical, Pathology, Mortuary
  • Legal – Conveyance, Legal secretary, legal document processor, surveillance worker,  court bailiff, court orderly
  • Library and Record keeping
  • Mechanical Engineering trades, metal etc
  • Media – TV Producer,  Camera operator, media producer Production assistant, radio Producer, presenter
  • Music – recording engineer, assistant, editor, stage producer, sound technician, music management, marketing, digital recording
  • Manufacturing – Production manager- forestry, manufacturing, operator
  • Maritime – AMSA certification, deck hand, Engine Driver Master Class 4,5
  • Massage – Sports massage, remedial therapist
  • Nursing & Aged Care
  • Photography
  • Printing – Binder/ finisher, book restorer, pre-press, production planner,screen printer.
  • Real Estate and valuation
  • Retail & Visual Merchandising – store manager,  customer service manager, sales manager
  • Security and Locksmith – Locksmith, alarm systems
  • Sports & Recreation – Fitness instructor, recreation officer, sports management
  • Surveying & Spatial Information – Cartographic technician, GIS officer, surveying technician
  • Travel & Tourism
  • Vehicle repair – automotive panel beater, service mechanic, detailer, trimmer, painter

  More non-TAFE study option here :

4 thoughts on “TAFE courses

  1. hi

    I was interested in a diploma for vetinary nursing on the central coast NSW.
    Via correspondence or on campus. Can you please send through the details ie course start dates, costs, duration etc

    I appreciate your assistance.

    Kind Regards
    Sarah Holland

  2. Pls can you advise me for the course ,Diploma in Civil and structural engineering doing online

  3. Wat the course fees for?
    Sports & Recreation – Fitness instructor, recreation officer, sports management?
    What the duration of the course?
    Wat are the discount offered on the fees for international student?

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