What to study

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If you want to work, think about what to study:

  • Which subjects to study
  • Type of qualification you need

There are two pathways to get qualifications: you can study in an academic or vocational pathway. The vocational path includes a traineeship or an apprenticeship.

The academic path starts in Year 10. Year 12 VCE or VCAL is the next step. The list of academic qualifications starts at entry level through to the most advanced qualifications:

  • Certificate I, II, III, IV
  • Diploma/Advanced Diploma
  • Bachelor degree
  • Bachelor degree with Honours
  • Masters degree
  • PhD and Doctorate


[two_third]A traineeship is training in a non-trade related area.
For example working in a fast food outlet, office or a shop.

Traineeship qualifications range from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma.

A traineeship in the workplace usually takes 12 months and must be agreed by the trainee and the employer.[/two_third][one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”]Anyone can do a traineeship.
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[two_third]An apprenticeship is training in a trade-related area.
For example working as a hairdresser, plumber, builder or an electrician.

Apprenticeship qualifications range from Certificate II to Advanced Diploma. Apprenticeship qualifications take between three to four years of training. Training must be agreed by the apprentice and the employer.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuOpOxIRpLQ[/embedyt][accordions id=”3201″][/two_third]

[one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”]Anyone can do an apprenticeship.
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Certificate I, II, III, IV

[two_third]These courses are longer than short courses and are ideal for beginners. Many TAFEs and private colleges offer Certificate courses. You can also do some of these courses online.

Certificate courses run between six months to four years. Certificate courses can also lead to a Diploma or a Bachelor Degree or both![/two_third]

[one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”]Anyone can study at certificate level.
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[two_third]Courses at Diploma, Advanced Diploma and Associate Diploma levels take one to three years to complete, and are generally considered to be equivalent to one to two years of study at a bachelor degree level. Many students combine a Diploma with a certificate or a bachelor degree.

These courses are delivered by community education centres, TAFEs, private colleges and universities.[/two_third]

[one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”]If you are thinking about completing a Diploma, discuss this with your educational institution first.
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Bachelor degree

[two_third]All universities offer bachelor degrees. A bachelor degree is also called an undergraduate degree. To apply, universities will usually need your ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) score. This is your Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) score.

Bachelor degrees take three to four years of full time study.[/two_third]

[one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”]To apply for a Bachelor degree course, you can either apply through VTAC or directly to the university.
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Bachelor degree with Honours

[two_third]An Honours degree is a one-year full time program after you finish your Bachelor degree. Honours degrees can provide a pathway to postgraduate research or further study. Honours programs are only offered to students who do well in their last year of a Bachelor degree.[/two_third]

[one_third_last padding=”0px 20px 20px 20px”] To get into an Honours Program, you will need to talk to the relevant course co-ordinator.
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Masters degree

[two_third]Masters degrees are two years of full time study in addition to the Bachelor degree. They allow you to work in some specialised areas. There are two types of Masters degrees: Masters by Coursework and Masters by Research.

Some jobs require you to complete a Masters degree before you can work in the field. Click on “Masters degree – examples” for job specialisation examples.

Masters by Coursework involves completing specified units of study, assignments and in some cases, sitting an exam.

Masters by Research is more demanding, involving independent research and the completion of a research paper. There may be some compulsory units on research skills that you attend.[/two_third]

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PhD and other Doctoral degrees

[two_third]PhD stands for Doctor of Philosophy.  A doctoral degree can also be called a research doctorate, or professional doctorate. PhD and Doctorates are the highest academic level available.

Very few students choose to pursue a PhD or a Doctorate but if a student receives a high mark in their Masters degree, they may be eligible to do further research. Students studying at PhD or a Doctorate levels must complete a thesis of 80,000 to 100,000 words on a specialised topic. Students need to have a supervisor to support their study and research.

PhD degrees are three-year, full time programs. Doctorate degrees are three to five-year, full time programs.

PhD and Doctorates are only offered at university level. [/two_third]

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