Australian Qualifications Framework

What is the Australian Qualifications Framework?

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

The current AQF is the Second Edition, dated January 2013. The document can be download from the website.

All regulated qualifications in Australia must comply with the AQF.

The AQF incorporates the qualifications from each education and training sector into a single comprehensive national qualifications framework. The three sectors are:

  • Senior secondary education
  • Vocational education and training (VET)
  • Higher education.

What are the VET qualification?

There are ten AQF levels. AQF Level 1 is the lowest level qualification, and AQF Level 10 is the highest level qualification.

VET qualifications are at AQF Levels 1 to 6, and AQF Level 8. An AQF Level 7 qualification is a Bachelor Degree and can only be issued by a higher education provider. Universities are an example of higher education providers.

The following table highlights the seven AQF qualification levels delivered by vocational education and training (VET): AQF levels 1 to 6, and AQF level 8.

AQF levels

Quirky aspects of the AQF

AQF Level 6 qualifications can be delivered by a VET provider and a higher education provider. However, the name of an AQF Level 6 VET qualification (Advance Diploma) is different to an AQF Level 6 delivered by higher education (Associate Degree).

AQF Level 8 has two qualifications at the same level. One has the name of Graduate Certificate, and the other is a Graduate Diploma. Although both are at the same AQF level, the Graduate Diploma is a higher level qualification than the Graduate Certificate.

Diplomas, Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas in VET are not the same as Diplomas, Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas in higher education. VET qualifications are specified in nationally endorsed Training Packages or approved VET Accredited Courses. And higher education qualifications are accredited either by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), or by a self-accrediting higher education provider, such as a university. [2]

In conclusion

The Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) is a fundamental part of the Australian VET system, and it is one of the five components of the VET Quality Framework. [3]

Here are some other relevant articles relating to the AQF:

  • How is the AQF used in the Australian VET system, and what is the link between VET qualifications and occupations
  • How the AQF can support career progression
  • AQF Volume of learning


[1] accessed 1 April 2023

[2] accessed 1 April 2023

[3] accessed 1 April 2023

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