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Choosing a training or education provider

This fact sheet explains the most important things to look for when choosing a training or education provider, and a recognised training or education course.

It includes a consumer checklist, a general guide which can help you decide whether a training or education provider is right for you. However, you should also consider whether you need to ask the training or education provider any questions not included in this general guide.

The questions in the checklist apply to the following training and education providers:

  • registered training organisations (RTOs), and
  • English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) providers.

Provider obligations

Training and education providers must market and advertise their services ethically and accurately.

Before you enrol or enter into an agreement with a provider, they must supply you with information about:

  • the training, assessment and support services they provide, and
  • your rights and obligations.

If your employer is also a training or education provider and has made arrangements for you to undertake a program of study, ensure you understand the details of the program.

You should consider:

  • when, where and how the program will be delivered
  • how you can provide feedback or make a complaint about the program, and
  • what happens if your employment ceases—will you still be able to participate in the program?
Using the consumer checklist

This checklist can help you select both the training or education provider and the recognised training or education course that meet your needs.

Work your way through the questions in the checklist. Check the box when you are satisfied you have the answer to your question and the information you need to make an informed decision.

Consider all of the questions and gather all of the suggested information before enrolling in a course or paying any money.

Consumer checklist

Aspects to consider Find out the following
Confirm the training or education provider is registered to deliver the qualification or course you are interested in.

Make sure you ask the training provider:

  • Are you a registered training/education provider organisation?
  • What is your registration number?

Australian residents can confirm that a training provider is registered to deliver nationally recognised training by searching the national database on vocational education and training in Australia, training.gov.au.

Training.gov.au is the official national register of information on training packages, qualifications, courses, units of competency and RTOs.

International students can confirm that the training or education provider is registered to deliver training or education programs to overseas students by searching Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)—the official Australian Government website that lists that lists all Australian education providers and registered courses for overseas students on providers of training and education services to overseas students.

If you are seeking a nationally recognised qualification, confirm that the training program will lead to a qualification.

Make sure you ask the training provider:

If you are enrolling in a course to meet the training requirements to apply for an occupational licence, confirm that it is the right course for you to do.

Make sure you ask the licensing authority or regulatory body:

  • Is the course the right one for you to do for the licence you intend to apply for?
Ask about the provider’s membership of industry bodies or associations.

Make sure you ask the training or education provider:

  • Is this provider a member of an industry body or association? 
  • If yes, which one? 

Tip: Industry bodies and associations may list members on their websites and have additional information about training and education providers that may be useful to you. 

Confirm the knowledge and skills you can expect to gain from the course, and what job outcomes are likely to be available to you.

Make sure you ask the training or education provider:

  • Which units of competency or modules will you attain from the training?
  • What jobs may the training may lead to?
  • What are the job prospects on completion of the training?
  • Are there other requirements—in addition to the training—to improve your chances of getting a job in the area you are interested in?
Ask about the provider’s membership of industry bodies or associations.

Make sure you ask the training or education provider:

  • Is this provider a member of an industry body or association? 
  • If yes, which one? 

Tip: Industry bodies and associations may list members on their websites and have additional information about training and education providers that may be useful to you.

Confirm the knowledge and skills you can expect to gain from the course, and what job outcomes are likely to be available to you.

Make sure you ask the training or education provider:

  • Which units of competency or modules will you attain from the training?
  • What jobs may the training may lead to?
  • What are the job prospects on completion of the training?
  • Are there other requirements—in addition to the training—to improve your chances of getting a job in the area you are interested in?
Shop around for a course and training or education provider that meets your needs.

Make sure you ask the training or education provider:

  • What is the total cost of the training, including any additional fees on top of course fees?
  • What is the refund policy? 

Tip: Obtain a copy of the policy and make sure you understand the details:

  • What resources are provided as part of the course fee? 
  • What resources, if any, do you have to provide yourself?
  • What is the duration of the course?
  • What are the minimum/expected hours of attendance per week? 
  • How many hours are you expected to spend on learning and assessment activities outside of formal attendance time?
  • How and when you will be assessed?
  • Will training and/or assessment be undertaken in a real workplace?

Tip: If a simulated environment is to be used to replicate a workplace, consider how realistic the environment is.

  • If work placement is to be included as part of the course, will the training provider find you a workplace or will you be expected to find one yourself?
  • What support services are provided? For example, support for those with language, literacy or numeracy difficulties.

Tip: Ask for feedback from past learners on the quality of training or education and, if it is your goal to find appropriate employment or further your career, whether the program assisted them in their search for employment or furthering their career.

Ask about online services

If the training or education provider offers some or all of the program online, make sure you ask the following questions:

  • What are the technological requirements? 
  • What computer and software will be needed? 
  • What download speeds are required? 
  • What level of computer literacy is required of learners? 
  • Is there helpdesk support for technical issues? 
  • Is there trainer support for the course? When is this available? 
  • How will the assessment be conducted? 
  • How do you ensure that the person participating in online activities is the person enrolled in the course? 
  • Are there any additional fees?
Read the enrolment agreement/contract
  • Read the enrolment agreement/contract carefully before you sign anything or pay any money.
  • Ask the training or education provider to explain anything you are unsure of. Discuss the conditions of enrolment with a friend or colleague if you are not sure what they mean.
  • Ensure you understand and agree with any cancellation and refund conditions and ongoing fees.
Be cautious about paying large sums of money 
up-front
  • Ensure the training or education provider is the right one for you and that it is registered before you make an up-front payment, or commit to paying money.
  • Ask for a receipt when you make a payment, check that it is correct and keep it in a safe place.
Additional advice for international students
  • Understand your visa conditions—check www.homeaffairs.gov.au/Trav
  • Understand your training or education provider’s ‘Transfer between providers’ and refund policy—this must be on the provider’s website.
  • Review the cost of living in the city you wish to study in.
  • All providers are required to supply students with information about estimated living costs prior to enrolment. Check your pre-enrolment information for details.

More information

Complaints

Information about how to make a complaint, for both Australian and international students, is available from ASQA’s website.

Australian students

If you believe that the information provided to you by a training or education provider about courses is inaccurate or unethical, you can lodge a complaint with ASQA.

  • If the provider is within ASQA's jurisdiction, ASQA will consider your complaint.
  • If the provider is not within ASQA's jurisdiction, you will be directed to the relevant state regulator.

International students

If your complaint is about a private training provider, you can lodge an external appeal with the Overseas Students Ombudsman.

If your complaint is about a public training provider (i.e. TAFE) you can lodge an external appeal with the Ombudsman’s Office in your state or territory, or in South Australia, the Training Advocate. Contact details are available on the ASQA website.

Contact ASQA

You can contact ASQA Monday to Friday, 9.00 am to 7.00 pm AEST, by calling the Info line on 1300 701 801. You can also ask a question by emailing enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au.