Australian Qualifications Framework

What is the AQF?

The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is the policy for regulated qualifications in the Australian education and training system. The AQF was first introduced in 1995 to underpin the national system of qualifications in Australia encompassing higher education, vocational education and training and schools. The AQF is the agreed policy of Commonwealth, State and Territory ministers.

The key reasons why we have AQF qualifications are to ensure national recognition and consistency as well as common understanding across Australia of what defines each qualification.

The AQF provides an integrated policy that comprises:

  • The learning outcomes for each AQF level and qualification type
  • The specifications for the application of the AQF in the accreditation and development of qualifications
  • The policy requirements for issuing AQF qualifications
  • The policy requirements for qualification linkages and student pathways
  • AQF qualifications and qualification pathways
  • The policy requirements for the addition or removal of qualification types in the AQF, and the definitions of the terminology used in the policy.

One of the key objectives of the Australian Qualifications Framework is to facilitate pathways to, and through, formal qualifications.

Objectives of the AQF

The objectives of the AQF are to provide a contemporary and flexible framework that:

  • Accommodates the diversity of purposes of Australian education and training now and into the future
  • Contributes to national economic performance by supporting contemporary, relevant and nationally consistent qualification outcomes which build confidence in qualifications
  • Supports the development and maintenance of pathways which provide access to qualifications and assist people to move easily and readily between different education and training sectors and between those sectors and the labour market
  • Supports individuals’ lifelong learning goals by providing the basis for individuals to progress through education and training and gain recognition for their prior learning and experiences
  • Complements national regulatory and quality assurance arrangements for education and training
  • Enables the alignment of the AQF with international qualifications frameworks

AQF Qualifications

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) describes each category of AQF qualifications:

  • Senior Secondary Certificate of Education
  • Level 1 – Certificate I
  • Level 2 – Certificate II
  • Level 3 – Certificate III
  • Level 4 – Certificate IV
  • Level 5 – Diploma
  • Level 6 – Advanced Diploma, Associate Degree
  • Level 7 – Bachelor Degree
  • Level 8 – Bachelor Honours Degree, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma
  • Level 9 – Masters Degree
  • Level 10 – Doctoral Degree