The Australian education system is one of the best systems globally. Simultaneously, the education system differs from other countries as it operates under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). AQF is a local policy that dictates requirements for tertiary education and schooling certificates. The AQF divides the education system into ten levels. This system allows students to study continuously, level by level. Students enjoy the privilege of a world-class education.
The major sectors of Australia's education system are:
- Foundation (Preschool and Preparatory, Year 1)
- Primary Education (Year 2-7)
- Secondary Education (High School, Year 8-10)
- Senior Secondary School (College, Year 11-12)
- Tertiary Education (Vocational and Higher Education)
International students will benefit from quality education and are covered by Australia's laws. Such organisations as the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Course for Overseas Students (CRICOS), Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), and Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) are responsible for the high standards of the providers and courses for foreigners. There are over 1,100 institutions, and more than 22,000 courses are designed for students across Australia. Australian education is considered the most prestigious among students from across the world. Many universities and institutes have been ranked amongst the world's leading tertiary providers. As a result, Australia attracts the best minds by providing world-class, prestigious, and quality teaching and research programmes. International students make up one-quarter of the student body in the higher education sector.
Apart from quality education, Australia is one of the most sought-after destinations in the world. Every year the number of foreigners visiting, studying and immigrating increases. Australia has many advantages, such as stunning beaches, incredible wildlife, pleasant weather, and lots of opportunities. The most popular cities for students are Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide.
The Australian education providers are divided into three main categories:
- Private Colleges (the most affordable providers for Levels 1-6 and Graduate Diplomas)
- TAFE (Technical and Further Education includes state polytechnics and VET at Levels 1-6 and Bachelor and Master Degrees)
- Universities (the most prestigious providers who offer programmes at Levels 7-10 of the AQF)
Childhood Education Sector
Early childhood education is committed to offering care and teaching children. This education is not compulsory in Australia however. The childhood sector is responsible for preparing children for further education at schools. Some areas have early childhood education as a part of the schooling curriculum. The childhood education sector incorporates community programmes, pre-school, care programmes, and family engagement.
There are over 9000 schools across Australia. Schooling is compulsory up to 16 years of age. It is considered to be one of the best systems in the world. This sector comprises Primary School, Secondary School (High School), and Senior Secondary School (College). There is a range of school types, such as government schools, non-government schools, including faith-based schools (Catholic or Islamic schools), Montessori or Steiner educational philosophy schools. Each school is subject to government standards and requirements. Australia's schools focus on a diverse range of study areas, including English, mathematics, society and environment subjects, sciences, languages, technology studies, health & physical programmes. After completing exams in College, students can get a graduate certificate of qualification that further education providers at all levels recognise.
The cost for high school varies between AU $7500-30,000 annually.
Tertiary Education Sector
Higher education in Australia encompasses 43 universities, including two international universities and one private university. The cost varies depending on programmes and study areas. On average, students pay AU $15,000 to AU $45,000 per year for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Scientist and medical courses are more expensive.
The Group of Eight (Go8) incorporates the best Australian research-intensive universities. All universities in Go8 adhere to world standards and are ranked in the top 150 universities globally. Go8 universities pride themselves on having a wide range of partnerships and being a part of elite associations of universities worldwide. The Go8 Australian universities are:
- University of Melbourne
- Australian National University
- University of Sydney
- University of Queensland
- University of Western Australia
- University of Adelaide
- Monash University
- UNSW Sydney
Australian Institutes and Colleges
A large number of polytechnics and colleges across Australia offer various courses along with universities for diverse qualifications. All institutes provide quality education. Vocational education and training (VET) deliver programmes that rely on practical skills to help students be effective specialists across the employment industry. TAFE institutes are located in Australia's various territories: Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales, and Northern Territory. Fees for TAFE and VET education range from AU $4000 to 15,000 annually.
English Language Schools
Australia is a great destination to learn English. The country boasts many outstanding destinations and good weather. Thus, students have opportunities to explore the country while learning. There are 94 English schools across Australia, predominantly situated in five states: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. English courses include General English, Junior English, English test preparation, Business English, English teacher training, Professional English, Work and Study English, Specialty English, and University programmes. All providers deliver high-quality courses, contemporary facilities, a friendly and vibrant environment, and a multicultural society.
To start English courses in Australia, students need a visa. There are three options: Visitor Visa, Work and Holiday Visa or Student Visa.
The cost of English courses depends on the number of hours per week and extra items included in the total price (medical insurance, accommodation, and others).
Australian Education Structure
Australian higher education is approved and regulated by the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The structure of higher education incorporates ten primary levels:
Qualification: Certificate I
Summary: Foundational knowledge for everyday life, further learning, and preparation for initial work. To enrol in Certificate I, a student must have completed ten years of schooling. However, students also can receive this certificate during the school studies.
Duration: 3-6 months
Qualification: Certificate II
Summary: Basic vocational skills and knowledge of a defined area of work and learning. As with Level 1, students can enrol at this level after ten years of schooling or complete it during the school studies.
Duration: 6-12 months
Qualification: Certificate III
Summary: Factual, technical, procedural, and theoretical knowledge of a specific area of work and learning. To enrol the Certificate III, a student is required to have completed ten years of schooling.
Duration: 6-12 months
Qualification: Certificate IV
Summary: Broad factual, technical, and theoretical knowledge of a specific area or a broad field of work and learning. Students can enrol at this level after year 12 of secondary school.
Duration: 1 Year
Summary: Specialised knowledge and skills for skilled/paraprofessional work and further learning. Enrolment requirements - completed year 12 of secondary school.
Duration: 1-2 years
Qualification: Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
Summary: Broad knowledge and skills for paraprofessional/highly skilled work and further learning.
Duration: 2-2.5 years
Qualification: Bachelor Degree
Summary: Broad and coherent theoretical and technical knowledge with depth in one or more disciplines or areas of practice.
Duration: 3-4 years
Qualification: Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
Summary: Advanced theoretical and technical knowledge in one or more disciplines or areas of practice.
- Bachelor's Honours Degree is most common in fields such as engineering and law and involves a high academic workload and a research project.
Duration: 4 years.
- Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma are for those who already have a Bachelor’s Degree but want to narrow their specialisation or get a new specialisation in a field related to their Bachelor’s Degree.
Duration: 6 months for a Certificate and one year for a Diploma.
Qualification: Master's Degree
Summary: Specialised knowledge and skills for research and professional practice, advanced and integrated understanding of a complex body of knowledge in one or more disciplines or areas of practice.
Master Degrees in Australia can be one of three types:
- Master by coursework - combines coursework and a research component.
Duration: 1-2 years
- Master by research - consists mainly of research and requires the completion of a thesis.
Duration: 1-2 years
Qualification: Doctoral Degree
Summary: Systematic and critical understanding of a complex field of learning and specialised research skills to advance knowledge and professional practice.
It is the highest degree in Australia. Studying for a Doctoral Degree involves a lot of research work and writing a thesis, which should be assessed by the broader scientific community. The thesis should contribute to the development of that specific science.
Duration: 2-4 years
Prospects after Graduation
After completing chosen programmes, graduates can apply for a Temporary Graduate Visa. Having an open visa allows students to continue higher education or build a career and live in Australia for up to four years. If students decide to stay in Australia, they have a wide range of employment services, such as education providers support, employment hubs, and job boards in every area. A student should consider their plans and work out the best visa options in an individual case.
How to apply for study
International students require an invitation from the chosen provider to apply for programmes at any Australian education provider. Then the candidates should meet all requirements provided by the Australian Government to get a student visa. Study Compare is happy to help in the process of organising necessary documents free of charge. Managers are able to suggest the best option individually; just fill out our request for selecting a programme.