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Is TAFE and VET the same thing?

Some people might be confusing the name “TAFE” with “Australian vocational education” or “VET” so today, let’s get some clarification!

The difference between TAFE and VET

TAFE is just the name for public “vocational education schools.”

TAFE stands for Technical and Further Education. It refers to publicly funded vocational education schools in Australia. There are only 8 TAFE schools in all of Australia, one in each state:


However, each TAFE has one or more campuses. Let’s take TAFE QLD as an example, which has 6 campuses:

  • Brisbane
  • Gold Coast
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Bremer
  • North Queensland
  • Skills Tech

In each campus, there are different courses offered. For example, if we consider Fashion Design, it is offered at the Mooloolaba and Mt Gravatt campuses.

Now, let’s talk about what kinds of courses TAFE offers.

TAFE offers a wide range of courses, including but not limited to: hospitality management, engineering, fashion design, early childhood education, English courses, horticulture, beauty and hairdressing, sports management, and construction.

Although TAFE offers vocational courses, it is government-funded, publicly managed, and follows strict admission standards. TAFE courses are primarily designed for local Australian students to improve their employability.

Private VET Colleges

Are there any other options besides TAFE?

VET stands for Vocational Education and Training. VET institutions are categorised into public and private. Public VET institutions are TAFE schools, and there are many choices among private schools.

If you are an international student you may worry about whether degrees from private schools will be recognised. When choosing a private VET institution, you need to check for a CRICOS code, which is the Australian government’s registration code for institutions eligible to enrol international students.

For example, the University of Queensland’s CRICOS code is 00025B, TAFE QLD’s CRICOS code is 03020E, and Holmes Institute (one of the few private VET schools that can offer bachelor’s degrees) has CRICOS codes for its various campuses.

So, when choosing a private VET institution, make sure it has a CRICOS code. Only registered schools have the qualifications to enroll international students.

Regarding the qualifications you can obtain, VET offers a range of certificates from Certificate 1 to 4, diplomas, associate degrees, and even some bachelor’s degrees. These qualifications are recognised by the Australian government.

Author: Sim K


Sim K


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