Learning & Development blog

Choosing the right level of qualification

Close up of a graduation cap and a certificate with a ribbon

Choosing the right qualification for you or your staff, is not always an easy task. Once you know what area of study you are interested in there are so many levels of qualification that it is easy to be overwhelmed with choices.

Do you choose Higher Education providers or do you enter the Vocational Education and Training industry?

Would a Degree be useful, or should you be opting for a Diploma or a Certificate?

What is the difference between all of these options?

 The key to answering all of these questions, is first knowing exactly what sort of pathway and job role outcome you are seeking as well as identifying whether or not you are looking at improving a current skill level or advancing to a high role. Qualifications are outcome based and these outcomes focus on a particular job role and level in industry. Therefore the most successful way to choose a level of qualification is to work backwards from the outcome you would like achieved.

 The Australian Qualifications Framework has ten (10) levels of qualifications. Below is a brief outline of the job roles associated with each level, as well as the recognised title of qualifications under that level. Click on the image to enlarge.

Applications of the different qualification levels:

  • Secondary schools often use AQF level 1 and 2 qualifications to expose learners into particular industries of interest
  • If the role is on the frontline of a business or organisation and the learner is relatively new to the industry or field of work, you may want to consider an AQF level 3 qualification
  • Where skilled staff are looking at opportunities to manage others for the first time, an AQF level  4 may be appropriate
  • Where skilled staff are managing others as well as being responsible for improving processes and procedures, an AQF level 5 should be considered
  • AQF level 6 is a great choice for those seeking practical theoretical knowledge along with the ability to create processes and procedures from scratch
  • If a professional level of standing is required, such as required to be an Accountant, Engineer or Medical Professional, you may want to consider an AQF level of 7 or higher
  • To be a thought leader in your industry or field of knowledge, you may want to consider extending your studies to an AQF level of 9 or 10.

The idea of one qualification being ‘better’ than another, is no longer relevant to today’s qualification framework. Instead, we need to be qualified for the work we are doing (or about to do) and that means choosing an appropriate qualification for the job role and not just the one that sounds the fanciest.

For more detailed information on the Australian Qualifications Framework click here.

If you would like to speak to one of our consultants about choosing a qualification that’s right for you, please contact us on 07 3491 5800 or