Learning & Development blog

What is an RTO? What is VET? What is the point?


RTO is the acronym for Registered Training Organisation. Educational institutions who wish to provide VET Qualifications must go through an application process to become registered with the national VET regulator (also known as ASQA) or in some cases with a state based regulator. These regulatory bodies ensure approved quality standards are met by all RTO’s. There are strict quality standards that all RTO’s must meet at all times while registered and delivering VET courses. The standards are known as Standards for Continuing Registration (also known as SNR).

As a learner or organisation looking to use the services of an RTO, the registration and regulatory process ensures that you receive quality outcomes.

VET is the acronym for Vocational Education and Training. Alongside university, the VET system provides education outside of compulsory schooling.  With a strong focus on specific skills for work, the VET system comprises of a range of qualification levels:

  • Certificates I, II, III and IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Vocational Graduate Certificate
  • Vocational Graduate Diploma

Qualifications are grouped into National Training Packages based on each industry. For example, Shoreline Learning and Development deliver courses predominately from the Business Services Training Package. There are currently 69 National Training Packages available. These include industries such as aviation, beauty, community services, floristry, health, music, manufacturing, retail and tourism (just to name a few).

National Training Packages, and the qualifications they include, are created through consultation with relevant industry bodies and are updated regularly. Qualifications are based on specific job roles in each industry so it is easy to find a qualification that will help you achieve your desired outcomes.  As the name suggests, National Training Packages are the same throughout Australia. A qualification in Queensland has to meet the same standards as the identical qualification studied in any other state. This allows learners to transfer the study of a qualification across state lines if required and it means that upon completion, you will be qualified nationally. This is considerably useful if your industry requires certain qualification levels.

VET courses are competency based, rather than time based. Once the required skill level is achieved your qualification is complete. This system of ‘competent’ versus ‘not yet competent’ removes the stress of time and directs the learners focus on achieving a required outcome.  Learners complete the process in an appropriate timeframe for them. This often means a much faster completion time.

RTO’s cannot just deliver any qualification from the 69 National Training Packages. Each RTO must apply to deliver specific qualifications. The range of qualifications an RTO can deliver is referred to as ‘scope’.

Here’s the good news… RTO’s and the VET system:

  • are regulated to ensure learners best interests are priority
  • allow learners to become certified with a qualification that is recognised nationally
  • are industry focused to ensure relevant skills are learned and quality outcomes are achieved
  • are competency based so learners don’t have to worry about filling in time
Want to know more?

If ever you want to check the scope of a specific RTO, simply go to the national register at You can then search the system based on the RTO or on the training you are interested in.

If you would like to know more about the National Regulator the Australian Skills Quality Authority website will give you everything you need.