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Qualifications levels

The Queensland Certificate of Education is the state’s highest school qualification. There are 10 qualifications at tertiary level (post school education). These are recognised nationally.

The qualification levels are:

  1. Certificate I
  2. Certificate II
  3. Certificate III
  4. Certificate IV
  5. Diploma
  6. Advanced Diploma/Associate Degree
  7. Bachelor Degree
  8. Bachelor Honours Degree/Graduate and Vocational Graduate Certificate/Graduate and Vocational Graduate Diploma
  9. Masters Degree
  10. Doctoral Degree

In general, universities offer courses at levels 5–10 and training organisations offer courses from levels 1 to 6. Some Queensland schools also offer certificate courses as part of Years 10–12.

National standards

The Australian Qualifications Framework sets out what a student should be able to do once they finish their course. This means expectations of graduates' skill levels are the same across the country.

For example, Certificate I should give students basic skills for work, further learning, and living in the community. A diploma should give graduates advanced skills in an area of work or learning (e.g. business, information technology, hospitality).

See an easy guide to qualification levels and learning outcomes.

Study time

How long it takes to finish a course will vary depending on your existing qualifications and experience, the course you choose and the way you study (e.g. full- or part-time).

There is generally no set study time for vocational education and training courses (like certificates and diplomas). Students are awarded a qualification when they gain the required skills and knowledge.

As a broad guide, if you study full-time, it should take 4–18 months to complete certificate courses, and 1–2 years for diploma courses. Higher education courses, such as degrees, are usually delivered over a set time. A bachelor degree at university should take you 3–4 years to finish.

Related links

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) and credit transfers may count towards your study. RPL recognises skills gained outside formal education. Credit transfers and RPL may reduce your study time.


Talk to your university or training organisation first if you are not happy with the standard of your training. If you want to take your complaint further, contact:

Lost qualifications

Apply to the Australian Skills Quality Authority if you completed a vocational education and training course and the official document has been lost or destroyed. The authority may be able to provide replacement documents if your training organisation has closed.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
17 June 2015
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