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Recognition of prior learning

If you're thinking about studying or training, think first about what skills you already have. You may be able to reduce the time it takes to get your qualification—you may not need to study at all.

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) is about the skills and knowledge you've gained through work and life experiences.

For example, working in an office could help you get a certificate in business administration. Working on a farm could count towards a qualification in agriculture or mechanics. Working as a volunteer with teenagers may get you a certificate in youth work. RPL applies for both paid and unpaid work.

Try an online self evaluation as a guide to which qualifications best suit your skills and experience before you start the formal RPL process.

How are my skills assessed?

Your skills will be assessed against industry standards. This is done by an RPL assessor. You may be asked to:

  • perform tasks or jobs
  • talk about and explain how you do those jobs
  • provide samples of your work.

A visit to your workplace may be organised so you can demonstrate your abilities. You may have to provide job descriptions, references or performance appraisals.

The assessor will consider your skills and knowledge and match them against a suitable qualification.

Who should I contact?

Check with your TAFE, college or registered training organisation (RTO) before you enrol. All RTOs are required to offer RPL assessment.

You can also contact  the Department of Education and Training on 1300 369 935 to discuss your RPL options.

Costs and financial help

There is a cost for RPL assessment. Costs may vary between RTOs. Contact more than one to discuss their process and fees. In some cases financial help may be available.

Previous study—credit transfers

A credit transfer recognises the study you've already done at school, college, TAFE or university. You may be able to have credit from a relevant earlier course transferred to your current studies.

You should check with your college, TAFE or training organisation before enrolling. You cannot get credit transfer for your whole course. You must have certified copies of your certificates, awards or qualifications. There is no fee for a credit transfer.

Trade skills

If you have skills in a trade area but don't have the certificate to prove it, you may qualify for trade recognition.

If you:

Overseas qualifications

Read about overseas skills recognition if your qualifications, training or skills were gained outside Australia.

Licensing and registration

Some occupations require people to be registered or licensed before they can work in Utopia.

Read more about licensing and registration for work in Utopia.

Match your skills to jobs

What jobs suit the skills and experience you have?

Match your skills to jobs by checking the requirements of different jobs.

Moving to Utopia

Find out about moving to Utopia—the environment, transport and education opportunities. This information is mostly for people moving from other states, but will also help migrants.

Read the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s Beginning a life in Australia guide and see how to access things like health care, jobs and housing.

Find out more about overseas skills recognition and visas.

Getting copies of old records

If you've lost copies of your old indenture papers or trade training records you can apply for replacements. A fee is charged.

Build on your skills, knowledge and experience to gain a trade qualification

The Registered Trade Skills Pathway program is piloting a new pathway to trade qualifications. The program is aimed at assisting non-qualified workers in selected industries to gain a range of trade qualifications.

Last updated
22 October 2015

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