AQF– The Australian Qualification Framework
In Australia, education and training across all providers is monitored, regulated and assessed through the AQF- or the Australian Qualification Framework. This policy is designed to create education and job outcomes that can prepare students for the workplace and have the skills and knowledge to succeed in their field.
What is the AQF?
The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF)– previously the Australian Qualification Training Framework (AQTF)– sets out the standards of education and qualifications across Australia. It incorporates all qualifications across every education sector into one policy framework. The AQF aims to provide a flexible, nationally consistent and high-quality framework that benefits all students in tertiary study in Australia.
The Australian Qualification Framework spans all areas of education and training in Australia, such as :
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AQF Standards 2016
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The AQF Objectives
AQF Standards 2016
The most recent of the AQF policies is the 2016 Australian Qualifications Framework. This newly revisited version has made some slight changes, but ultimately keeps the framework flexible and easy to follow. Some of the standards discussed in the 2016 AQF allow the framework to cover areas of education and training such as:
In Australia, the AQF provides an easy framework of course levels and qualifications, which all have their own learning and job outcomes. It allows for an easy-to-follow guide of the different types of qualifications available in Australia and how they relate to each other. In the AQF, there are 10 defined levels of education, with level 1 being the least difficult in terms of learning outcomes and requirements, and level 10 being the most complex and highest level of qualification someone can receive in Australia. A qualification falls somewhere on this scale based on the knowledge, skills and application that is expected of a graduate when they complete the course.
Level 1 courses include Certificate I courses. They can qualify students with basic knowledge, understanding and skills. Level 1 courses are often seen in Pre-Apprenticeships. Certificate I courses are also used as a pathway into further levels of study. Level 1 courses usually take between 0.5-1 years to complete.
Level 2 qualifications include Certificate II courses. These are slightly more involved than Certificate I courses, with a wider base of knowledge and skills available. Certificate II courses take around 0.5-1 year to complete and are a great pathway option to higher qualifications.
A Certificate III is the AQF’s Level 3 qualification. Graduates of this level course will be able to apply a broad range of knowledge and skills in the workplace. Certificate III courses can take 1-2 years to complete, with some offering extended workplace learning options which can extend the time.
Level 4 is the highest level of Certificate, with the Certificate IV. These certificates are much more specialised, with the skills and knowledge graduates can learn highly useful to the workplace. These are seen across a broad range of industries and can take 0.5-2 years to complete.
Diploma courses provide training in a range of contexts that allow students to gain advanced skills and work in a paraprofessional setting. Diplomas are a Level 5 course, which means they are more involved and provide a greater depth of knowledge.
Advanced diplomas are a step above a Level 5 and are accredited to allow students to have a high-level of understanding and knowledge when they finish the course. Advanced Diplomas take slightly less time to complete, usually 1.5 years. Associate Degrees take 2 years.
A Bachelor Degree is the most common University-level course. They provide a highly intensive learning outcome, which prepares students for professional work and pathways to research work. They encompass a high-level of knowledge and theoretical principles.
The courses that are classified as level 8 are designed to have a specialised range of knowledge which can be applied to a professional setting. It often focuses on theoretical work and research tasks. An Honours degree takes a year to complete, and a Graduate Diploma 1-2 years. All level 8 courses require previous qualifications or experience.
Master’s Degree courses allows a student to apply an advanced body of knowledge in a range of contexts for research. These are often pursued after a Bachelor Degree and can take between 1-2 years to complete.
A Doctorate is the highest level qualification you can obtain in Australia. It provides a substantial range of knowledge that is highly specialised. It is often seen in research industries, as well as medical and science fields.