When to consider course accreditation
This fact sheet explains the purpose of accredited courses, and aims to help you understand when it may be appropriate to develop a new accredited course.
What is an accredited course?
Accreditation of a course is confirmation that the course:
- meets national quality assurance requirements,
- meets an established industry, enterprise, educational, legislative or community need, and
- provides appropriate competency outcomes and a basis for assessment.
An accredited course is nationally recognised.
A course can be accredited as:
- a short course with a Statement of Attainment ‘Course in’ outcome, or
- a qualification recognised within the Australian Qualifications Framework, for example, a Certificate II or a Diploma.
A registered training organisation (RTO) can issue a nationally recognised VET qualification or VET Statement of Attainment following full or partial completion of an accredited course.
An accredited course can be made up of a combination of enterprise units of competency (developed by the course owner) and/or training package units of competency.
Delivery of accredited courses
Accredited courses can only be delivered by an RTO, although an organisation that is not an RTO may be able to enter into a partnering arrangement with an RTO to deliver an accredited course.
Applying to become an RTO is a separate process from course accreditation.
Does the course need to be accredited?
To decide if a course needs to be accredited, consider:
Is the outcome already covered by a training package product?
Accredited courses are developed to address skill requirements for industry, enterprise, education, legislative or community needs where these are not covered in nationally endorsed training packages. There are more than 80 endorsed training packages. Together, these contain in excess of 1500 qualifications, 17,000 units of competency and 1200 skill sets. (The national register, training.gov.au contains a list of all training package products.)
A course cannot be accredited if it aims to address outcomes already covered by a qualification, a skill set, or units of competency from an endorsed training package. In this case, an RTO should apply to add the relevant qualification, skill set or units of competency to its scope of registration to enable it to meet these outcomes.
If a course aims to address outcomes that are not covered by a qualification, a skill set or units of competency from an endorsed training package, it may be appropriate to apply to accredit a new course.
Who is the target audience?
Whether it is appropriate to apply for course accreditation may depend on the target group of learners for the course and the industry in which they operate.
Some learners or industries may value nationally recognised training. In other industries, learners and employers may be satisfied with non-nationally recognised training.
Organisations that choose to deliver non-nationally recognised training do not need to accredit a course.
Is there a demonstrated need for the course?
For a course to be accredited, an industry, enterprise, education, legislative or community need must exist. You must undertake broad stakeholder consultation to confirm this need exists.
Is there an existing accredited course meeting the same outcome?
An accredited course that meets the same outcome as your proposed course may have already been developed and accredited.
This does not prevent your organisation from accrediting a course; however, you may be able to use the existing course rather than developing and accrediting a new course.
Some course owners choose to share or license their course to interested parties. Contact the course owner directly to find out if they are willing to license their course to you. Course owner details are available on the national register, training.gov.au.
Timeframes for course accreditation applications
Provided that the course document and course accreditation submission are developed in accordance with the relevant requirements, a course is usually accredited within four to six months. However, timeframes may vary according to a range of factors, including the quality of the submission.
For detailed information, including application forms, refer to ASQA’s website.
The current requirements for course accreditation comprise the:
- Standards for VET Accredited Courses 2012
- Australian Qualifications Framework Second Edition, January 2013
- Standards for Training Packages
You can contact ASQA by calling the Info line on 1300 701 801, Monday to Friday, between 9.00 am and 7.00 pm AEST. Or email enquiries [at] asqa.gov.au