Australian Education, Institutions and Courses

(2374 Votes, Average 4.2 out of 5)


A student is sitting in a library on a table searching for the best courses to study at university or college in Australia.


Australia provides a wide range of quality study options to domestic and international students. It is currently the third most popular international student destination with approximately 22,000 courses and 1,100 educational institutions.


Australian qualifications are recognized and sought after around the world. In Australia, students are given practical skills and hands-on training, which provides them with a leading edge for further studies and career.


Education in Australia is regulated and funded primarily by the state or territory government. It is a well-organized and well-structured education system divided into primary, secondary and tertiary education.


1. Early Childhood Education


Early childhood education (preschool) is optional and unregulated in Australia. Australian children start learning by interacting with other children at daycare or playgroup. In some states and territories, preschools are run and owned by the government, while in other areas they operate as stand-alone services. The Australian government aims to promote preschool education; however, it is not compulsory to attend a preschool in Australia.



2. Primary Education


Primary education is compulsory in Australia and runs for 7 or 8 years. It starts at Kindergarten and ends at Year 6 or 7. Children in Australia must go to school upon turning 5 - 6 years old. Before beginning formal education, Australian children spend one year at Kindergarten.



3.  Secondary and Senior Secondary Education


Secondary education runs for 3 or 4 years and senior secondary education runs for 2 years. This compulsory education starts at Year 7 or 8 and ends at Year 12. Upon receiving the School Certificate at Year 10, students can choose to move into vocational training. Students planning to attend University must complete their final year and obtain the senior secondary school certificate to be deemed eligible.



4. Tertiary Education


Students can continue their education after obtaining a Higher School Certificate. Tertiary education begins after final compulsory schooling and refers primarily to higher education received at University, or vocational education and training received at TAFE institutes.



5. Adult and Community Education (ACE)


Aimed mostly at adults with limited formal education, ACE providers in Australia offer personal enrichment learning in local communities. Run under the state and territory jurisdictions, there are more than 2,500 community-based and non-profit ACE providers in Australia providing basic education and accessible learning opportunities to adults.



6. Types of Educational Institutions in Australia





  • Approximately 60% of Australian children attend government (public) schools while the remaining children go to private or independent schools. Public schools in Australia are free to attend; however, students have to pay for textbooks, stationery, uniforms and other schooling costs.


  • In Australia, schooling starts from preparatory and ends at senior secondary, lasting for a total of 13 years. All schools in Australia, government or private, need be registered with their state or territorial education department.





  • Australian universities provide higher education which leads to Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees. Out of the 43 universities in Australia, 38 are public universities which are funded by the government. Currently, there are only 3 private universities and 2 international universities in Australia.


  • Australian Universities offer a wide range of courses to domestic as well as international students. Double degree programs, mainly in the fields of arts, commerce and science are quite common at Australian universities and allow students to get awarded with 2 bachelor degrees at the same time.





  • Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institutes provide vocational education and training (VET) to those students in Australia who want to quickly move into the workforce. TAFE institutes are government-owned providers of VET qualifications that allow students to take small steps towards higher education.


  • VET qualifications, up to the level of advanced diploma, are obtained at TAFE institutes and are often used for partial credit towards bachelor degree programs at Australian universities.


  • TAFE institutes offer a practical alternative to tertiary education and mostly cover the fields of accounting, business administration, construction, community services, engineering, health, hospitality and media.



Private Colleges and Universities


  • Higher education in Australia is dominated by public universities; there are only 3 private universities and 2 international universities in Australia. Bond University, which was established in 1987, is Australia’s first private university located in Gold Coast, Queensland.


  • Contrary to private universities, there are many private colleges in Australia. These colleges usually focus on one particular field of study and have a community atmosphere to offer a more personalized tertiary education experience to the students.



7. Higher Education and VET Courses in Australia


Australian educational institutions have a great reputation all over the world and are ranked on top primarily in the fields of accounting, finance, medicine, environment, engineering and technology.


These are the most popular fields of study in Australia with a wide selection of courses:


  • Agriculture and Environmental Science

  • Architecture and Building

  • Business Management and Commerce

  • Creative Arts

  • Computing and Information Technology

  • Culture and Society

  • Education

  • Engineering and  Related Technology

  • Food, Hospitality and Personal Services

  • Health and Medicine

  • Natural and Physical Science



8. Australian Qualification Framework (AQF)


Introduced in 1995, Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) is the national policy that defines the standards of Australian education and training.


AQF integrates regulated qualifications from different education sectors and groups them into one policy framework. It ensures that educational qualifications across Australia are consistent and show the same standards of education.


There are 10 AQF levels:

AQF Level


Level 1

Certificate I

Level 2

Certificate II

Level 3

Certificate III

Level 4

Certificate IV

Level 5


Level 6

Advanced Diploma / Associate Degree

Level 7

Bachelor Degree

Level 8

Bachelor Honors Degree / Graduate Certificate / Graduate Diploma

Level 9

Master’s Degree (Research, Coursework, Extended)

Level 10

Doctoral Degree


Every AQF level represents what an individual should be able to do upon finishing a course.



9. Other Studying Options in Australia


Besides full qualifications courses, Australia offers a range of other studying options to the students:



English Courses


  • Australia offers a wide range of English courses from general English to English for academic and specific purposes. Studying English in Australia is about teamwork and critical thinking enabling students to use English in their everyday lives.


  • International students can study English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) in Australia to improve their English skills before commencing their formal studies.



Study Abroad


  • Australia has many study abroad programs which allow students to study abroad for a semester or a year. Usually, a formal exchange agreement is not present with study abroad programs, so students should check with their home institution whether they will receive credit for the education that they received through this program.



Student Exchange


  • International students can study for a semester or a year at an Australian institution through the Student Exchange program. Contrary to the Study Abroad program, students get credit for this education under the exchange agreement; however, it is always good to confirm it with your home institution.



Distance Education


  • Distance education or online education helps students in obtaining an Australian qualification without formally attending an Australian institution. This is a perfect solution for those who do not want to leave home or sacrifice their family or work commitments to gain a quality education.



10. Conclusion


Australian education encourages students to be innovative and think independently. Over the last decade, Australia has produced many scientists, entrepreneurs, designers, artists and educators, who have made great contributions in making the world a better place.


Today, Australia has the infrastructure to provide a world-class education to students coming from all parts of the world. So, no matter what your study area of interest is; the truth is Australia has you covered.


Useful Topics to Explore:

⇒ Enligsh Language Courses Overview (ELICOS)
⇒ Vocational Education & Training Courses (VET)
⇒ Types of Education

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Please Subscribe to our Newsletter