Australian Qualifications

The Australian Government designed the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) to ensure that qualification titles across the country are consistent and represent the same high standards of education.

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Australian Qualifications Framework

The Australian Qualifications Framework (commonly known as the AQF) is a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFEs and private providers) and the higher education sector (mainly universities).

The Framework links together all the qualifications below and is a highly visible, quality-assured national system of educational recognition which promotes lifelong learning and a seamless and diverse education and training system.

Schools SectorTAFE and other Vocational Education and Training ProvidersUniversity and Other Higher Education Providers

Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (2-3 years)
VET in Schools

Vocational Graduate Diploma (1 year)
Vocational Graduate Certificate (6 months)
Advanced Diploma (6–12 months)
Diploma (1 year)
Certificate IV (1 year)
Certificate III (6 months)
Certificate II (6 months)
Certificate I (6 months)
Doctoral Degree (3+ years)
Masters Degree (1–3 years)
Graduate Diploma* (1 year)
Graduate Certificate (6 months)
Bachelor Degree* (3 years)
Associate Degree* (1.5 years)
Advanced Diploma (1.5 years)
Diploma (1 year)

* CIT also offers higher education Bachelor Degree and Graduate Diploma qualifications and delivers subjects within ANU Associate Degrees in some areas.

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) allows for the portability of qualifications, which means the universities will consider granting credit for previous studies towards a university qualification. To find out more visit

International students and the AQF

The AQF has advantages for international students. It makes course searches much easier as the qualification titles are the same throughout Australia. This means that you can focus on finding the best course and university for your needs, without also having to spend time looking into what each qualification title means. International students who complete a qualification within the AQF will be able to understand the entrance requirements for higher qualifications, for example if they want to progress from undergraduate to postgraduate study.

The AQF also contributes to the worldwide recognition of Australian qualifications, as it is easy for other countries to understand what level of education each Australian qualification represents. There are a limited number of courses that are not part of the AQF but are also available to international students.

Courses like foundation and bridging courses are designed to help students meet course entry requirements or gain entry to further study resulting in an AQF qualification. See Preparation for tertiary studies for more information.

Quality assurance

A number of regulations and laws are in place to ensure the quality and consistency of Australia’s international education sector. The Education Services for Overseas Students (ESOS) Act 2000 requires institutions that offer courses to international students to meet nationally consistent standards in education quality, facilities and services. The Act ensures that international students receive the same standard of education as Australian students.

In addition, institutions that wish to offer education to international students must register with the Australian Government under the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS). Registration with CRICOS requires institutions to demonstrate that their qualifications meet Australian standards. The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) is a CRICOS registered organisation (No. 00001K). To search for CRICOS registered education providers visit

CIT qualifications

CIT qualifications are accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). This means that the qualifications are recognised anywhere in Australia. AQF qualifications offered at CIT are:

  • Graduate Certificate provides specific skills at a professional level. They can be studied after you complete a degree or diploma with appropriate work experience. Programs normally require six months of full-time study.
  • Bachelor Degree provides the cognitive and practical skills necessary to apply relevant knowledge in a professional context. Programs require a minimum of three years full-time study.
  • Associate Degree provides an alternative pathway to obtaining a Bachelor Degree.
  • Advanced Diploma provides skills for professional occupations which require depth and breadth of skills. Programs are two to three years of full-time study.
  • Diploma provides skills for technical, managerial and/or para-professional occupations. Programs are up to two years of full-time study.
  • Certificate IV provides advanced technical and/or supervisory skills. Programs are normally one year of full-time study. They often articulate into a Diploma.
  • Certificate III provides training for trades and a wide variety of occupations. Programs vary in length.
  • Certificate I – II provides preparatory skills and/or workplace skills at a basic level and according to industry needs. Programs vary in length.
  • Statement of Attainment issued to identify subjects or units of competency achieved either in partially completing a qualification or the successful completion of a short course or training program.