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If you're an adult in your late twenties, thirties, or even forties, going back to school to retrain for a career change can be quite daunting. However, TAFE* courses are something that a surprising number of mature-age students choose to take, with around 18% of the total people in further education in Australia in the 25-34 age group.

Is TAFE Better Than Uni?  

That depends on what you want to get out of the process, as TAFE courses* are much quicker (weeks or months rather than years) than uni courses (up to 5 years) and are much more focused on practical learning to make you job-ready. For those moving careers into something new, they're a great, cost-effective, and time-efficient way to work on your personal development.

Are TAFE Qualifications Recognised In Australia? 

They are! In-person and TAFE online courses are accredited by the Australian government, providing significant financial support. TAFE qualifications are also internationally recognized, meaning that even if you move abroad to another country, your accreditations will still hold weight as they do here in Australia.

At What Age Are You Considered A Mature Student? 

When you reach 21, you're considered a mature student, but it's a term that can apply to anyone after this age. In truth, people in their 30s and 40s can feel a little out of place back in education, but they really shouldn't be. Everyone is there for the same reason - to gain the skills they need to develop their careers. Age is just a number.

Depending on the precise TAFE course you're taking, you're likely to be mixing with people from a broad range of backgrounds, so you might be surprised at who you meet. It won't take long until you're accustomed and you get the benefit of…

A Ton Of Industry Experience

The teachers you'll get on your TAFE training will typically have worked for many years in the sector they're teaching you. That means you get some great insight into the field you're working in, which can be really valuable.

TAFE Job-Ready Skills 

TAFE* courses, unlike university courses, focus much more on the practical side of the subject, meaning much more hands-on work. As such, you'll arrive at your new job after training with at least some of the everyday knowledge and expertise you need.

TAFE Placement Opportunities 

Another significant part of TAFE* training for mature students is the opportunity to get real-world experience in the industry you're aiming to join. As such, you’ll get to spend invaluable time in the role to get a proper feel for what it will be like.

Extremely Diverse Subjects 

We'd be very surprised if you can't find what you're looking for amongst the thousands of TAFE courses. The number of courses available is highly diverse, meaning you'll always be able to find something that suits your needs.

Low Entry Criteria

Another way TAFE* training differs from uni is the low entry criteria. Typically speaking, even the highest level courses (Cert IV or diplomas) require that you complete year 12 in high school. That means it's accessible to most.

Whether taking in-person or TAFE online courses as a mature student, you get highly-targeted learning that gives you what you want and no more. Think of it as lean learning. Don't also forget that you may be eligible for a government-subsidised place or even a VET student loan, so it might also be more affordable than you realised.

Improve Your Knowledge Base With OCA Short Courses Online 

If you're considering taking TAFE online courses to make a career change, a great way to ensure your success is by taking OCA video-based, short courses that allow you to build a solid knowledge base. Also offering instruction in highly-specialized areas, our training allows you to address areas of weakness at a pace and time that suits you.

Our students often tell us that ours is the best online education Australia can muster, and it's not hard to see why. When you consider that every student gets 1-to-1 mentoring, flexible payment options, and 24/7 tutorial support, the complete experience is provided - something you can see for yourself by watching our short Student Study Demo.

 To learn more about our offer, visit us today at, where you'll find our complete course library covering more than 20 industries. Alternatively, we'd be happy to oblige if you'd prefer to speak to us before enrolling. Call 1300 611 404 or email [email protected], and a team member will gladly help.

*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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