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When you leave secondary education, you find yourself at a major intersection in your life. Do you join the workforce or continue your personal development in academia? Then, if you choose the academic route, do you take TAFE* courses or go to university? That’s a question we aim to provide one or two answers to in this article. 

How Many People Go To TAFE In Australia Compared To Uni?

Well, it’s mainly in favour of the university, as around 42% of students in Australia take that path. Approximately 15% choose to attend TAFE* institutions, with 12% choosing to learn with other education bodies. To understand which is the best route for you, you first have to know what each one offers, and as we’ll see, the differences are quite distinct. 

How Do You Know If You Should Go To University Or Take The TAFE Route?

It cannot be easy to know where you should be studying without knowing what each type of establishment provides and who its courses are aimed at. So, let’s look at each one in isolation to see what they offer students. 

What Universities Offer:

Anyone looking for a career in regulated professions, such as engineering, nursing or architecture, will see university as the primary choice. However, you can add to that careers in science, psychology, journalism and more. If you’re looking for the highest levels of study in pretty much any subject, this is where you’ll find it. 

The type of qualification that’s needed matters too, as there are:

  • Undergraduate degrees
  • Postgraduate degrees 
  • Foundation degrees (for prep to higher education)
  • Vocational Education & Training (VET)

It’s possible to get a degree via online learning, of course, but one of the best parts of being at university is the sense of community. In total, there are 43 universities in Australia, with the student’s learning preferences determining the best option. 

What TAFE Institutes Offer:

Now we look at TAFE* institutions. The acronym expands as Technical & Further Education, and the establishments that provide this kind of learning focus on practical skills via VET courses, diploma and certificate courses in a range of different industries from design to hospitality. TAFE* courses are government-backed and are designed to make a person job-ready with skills that industries need. 

Examples of TAFE* courses include:

  • Certificate in Disability
  • Certificate in Pathology
  • Diploma in Administration
  • Diploma in Education Support

As we can see here, the main difference is that this training is hands-on, whereas universities tend to concentrate on the theoretical side of things. As the names of the courses allude to, the training provided is professional-focused, and there are literally hundreds of TAFE campuses across the country.

It All Depends On Your Long-Term Education Goals:

There is no right or wrong answer when comparing the two types of learning establishments, as it pretty much all depends on you and what you want out of the process. If you’re aiming for a regulated industry position or your aims are mainly academic, the university will be the right option.

Although, if you want hands-on training that gets you 100% ready for the professional world, TAFE learning will be the preferred choice. This will likely be the best choice for those who desire to take the most direct route into the professional world. 

The good news is that whichever route you take, OCA online learning is here to help you prepare by getting you accustomed to academia, providing you with foundational knowledge and focusing on specialisms that may not be covered in your training. With our training behind you, there’s nothing you can’t achieve! 

Prepare For Your Education With Online Courses Australia:

Whether you choose to go to university or enrol in TAFE* courses, OCA is here to help supplement your learning and better prepare you for academic success. Our learning is CPD-Endorsed and industry-led, meaning you get trained in what employers are looking for. You get awesome support, too, as every student gets 1-to-1 mentoring assistance and access to Careers By OCA.

Our students see ours as the most immersive and captivating online education Australia can offer - something you can find out more about by watching our Student Study Demo. Our next-level experience is one that we’ve worked hard to create, and it’s one that we’ve made even more accessible with a selection of flexible payment options.

To find out more about what we’ve discussed here, visit us today at www.onlinecoursesaustralia.edu.au - where you’ll find our full course library that covers more than 20 different industries. Alternatively, to speak to us directly about your learning needs, give us a call at 1300 611 404 or drop an email to [email protected], and we’ll do our level best to reply as quickly as we can. 

*What is a TAFE?

TAFE stands for “Technical and Further Education”. TAFE institutes are government-funded Registered Training Organisations (RTO's) that offer Vocational Education and Training relating to a specific industry or occupation. 

TAFE Alternatives 

There are other private (non-government funded RTOs) that offer accredited courses (just like TAFE). 

Although Online Courses Australia is NOT an RTO, OCA has formed partnerships with a small number of RTOs to offer RPL or CREDIT from selective Micro-Credentials towards RTO (accredited) courses.  Look out for Accelerated Learning Pathway on our website. 


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