VET providers pride themselves on the high level of accessibility that they provide, so if there is a will to study there is usually a way into VET. Because VET courses all follow the same competency-based format, the big determiner of difficulty will be the qualification and field you want to study, rather than the institution. Overall, VET is easier to get into than university, but there are always exceptions.
VET entry requirements vary from a very easy "no entry requirements" to successful completion of Year 12 and higher. Many courses either recognise or require work experience for entry, and you may also come across other entry criterion such as age restrictions. Similarly to courses in the higher education sector, sometimes other selection tools are used, including the submission of a portfolio or completion of a test.
In this section we cover:
Standard selection methods for VET courses
Academic entry requirements
A number of VET courses require you to have reached a certain level of education. While many certificate I, II and III courses have no formal entry requirements, you will find that Years 9 and 10 will be required for others. Certificate IV courses, diplomas and advanced diplomas usually have higher entry requirements, often requiring the completion of Year 12, a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education or a lower-level VET course (such as a certificate III course to gain entry into a diploma). Postgraduate-level VET courses may require completion of an undergraduate degree or equivalent work experience.
Some courses may require students to have completed prerequisite subjects in areas such as maths and science during Year 12.
Non-Year 12 applicants may be able to gain entry through a pathway from a lower-level VET qualification or through any of the other selection methods listed below.
VET courses often recognise industry experience in the place of academic prerequisites, but in some cases work experience or access to a relevant workplace is required for entry. Some courses require you to be employed in the industry and have access to an industry supervisor while completing the course in order to meet required competencies, while others require students to have completed a certain amount of previous work experience in the field. Particular courses may require you to have additional certification for industry such as a Working with Children Check, first aid certificate or police check, as well as providing evidence of relevant immunisations in some cases. These may be required prior to gaining entry into the course or before any industry placement components.
A select few courses require candidates to complete a test (in literacy or numeracy, for example) to demonstrate that they have the basic skills and knowledge required to complete the course.
Interviews are used as an additional entry criterion for the more competitive VET courses, as well as to screen applicants who may not meet the academic entry requirements. Interviewers may be looking to ensure that you have good communication skills, basic knowledge of the field, an enthusiasm for the field and a commitment to your studies. This is your chance to shine, so be sure to mention any previous academic, work and life experience that demonstrates your ability to complete the course and express your ambitions and intentions for completing the course clearly.
Supplementary information forms and biographical essays
These may be required to enter into the more competitive VET courses or to allow non-school leavers or others who may not meet the academic entry requirements to describe their personal history, work experience, life experience, academic history and ambitions. The institution will use the information as an additional or alternative entry criterion to determine academic potential and enthusiasm. You may be able to complete a supplementary information form through your local Tertiary Admissions Centre's online system, or your higher education provider may ask you to fill in their own supplementary information form or submit a biographical essay along with your application.
Portfolios and auditions
Portfolios and auditions are required to gain entry into a number of courses in the creative arts field at both VET and higher education levels. You will find that auditions are usually required for performing arts courses in the areas of dance, music and drama. Portfolios may be submitted for fine arts and design courses. These entry requirements give you a chance to showcase your talents in the field to the selection committee.
Alternative selection methods for VET courses
Recognition of Prior Learning
VET courses are renowned for their accessibility. Those students who do not meet the academic entry requirements or who are non-school leavers may be able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to have their previous work and life experience considered as the basis for their application in place of academic requirements. You may be admitted to the course if the institution deems your prior learning to be equivalent to the standard entry requirements. See Pathways into your course for more information.