The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) establishes the quality of Australian qualifications. It provides a clear guideline as to how various qualifications are recognised under a national system and sets the standard for various institutions to follow.
A standardised system creates a clear pathway for students, making it easier for them to pursue their education and attach their courses to specific career outcomes. It also makes transferring between different education providers easier, because it eliminates the confusion that would be caused by differing qualification titles and education levels. In addition to its set of recognised qualifications, the AQF issues a Statement of Attainment when a student completes only part of a qualification. This makes it easier for credits to be transferred, where applicable.
The AQF has 10 levels:
- Level 1 – Certificate I
- Level 2 – Certificate II
- Level 3 – Certificate III
- Level 4 – Certificate IV
- Level 5 – Diploma
- Level 6 – Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
- Level 7 – Bachelor Degree
- Level 8 – Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
- Level 9 – Master’s Degree
- Level 10 – Doctoral Degree
These levels and their set criteria are intended to represent the complexity, depth of achievement and the autonomy required by the student in attaining the qualification. Therefore, Level 1, a certificate I, has the lowest complexity rating, whereas Level 10, a PhD, has the highest. Employers of course require relevant qualifications, but they also consider the level of the qualification for the complexity of the job, with many jobs requiring applicants to have attained bachelor degrees or certificates of a particular level. The right qualification level can also be a requirement for professional accreditation in some fields such as nursing, fitness instructing and nutrition, for example.
The AQF also assists international students by making it easier to search for courses and understand the qualifications on offer. It also contributes to the worldwide recognition of Australian qualifications as they can be directly measured against other qualifications frameworks.
If you have queries about the level of education you want to pursue, transferring credits between different courses and institutions, or simply want to know where your current qualifications sit under the framework, head to the official website.