Clause 3.5—Accept and provide credit to learners

Clause 3.5

The RTO accepts and provides credit to learners for units of competency and/or modules (unless licensing or regulatory requirements prevent this) where these are evidenced by:

  • AQF certification documentation issued by any other RTO or AQF authorised issuing organisation, or
  • authenticated VET transcripts issued by the Registrar.

What clause 3.5 means for your RTO

A key pillar of the national VET system is that nationally endorsed qualifications, skill sets and units of competency are recognised and portable across the country—regardless of where they were issued. Students must not be required to repeat any unit or module in which they have already been assessed as competent, unless a regulatory requirement or licence condition (including an industry licensing scheme) requires this. If a student provides suitable evidence they have successfully completed a unit or module at any RTO, your RTO must provide credit for the unit or module.

Credit must be granted for studies completed at an RTO or at any other authorised issuing organisation, such as a university. In the case of any non-equivalent units of competency, complete an analysis to determine the equivalence of the study completed with
the relevant units or modules before granting any credit.

Before providing credit on the basis of a qualification, statement of attainment or record of results, you should either authenticate the information by directly accessing the USI transcript online (see tips for compliance later in this section) or by contacting the organisation that issued the document to confirm the content is valid.

Your RTO is not obliged to issue a qualification or statement of attainment that is achieved wholly through recognition of units and/ or modules completed at another RTO or RTOs.

In some cases, licensing or regulatory requirements may prevent a unit or module being awarded through a credit process.

Note that providing credit for previous studies is not recognition of prior learning. RPL is an assessment-only pathway of determining the competence of a person, while providing credit is recognising the equivalence in content and learning outcomes between different types of learning and/or qualifications previously undertaken and completed successfully.

A guide to compliance

Evidence that students are offered credit for study they have completed previously would demonstrate that your RTO has processes in place to meet these requirements. Examples of cases where students have been exempted from undertaking previously completed units would provide evidence that you have implemented the process.

ASQA may talk with students or with staff who are responsible for authenticating documents or making decisions on credit to verify your practice.

Tips for compliance—Use of USI transcripts

A student’s USI transcript contains training outcome data submitted to the national collection by the student’s RTO as a true record of the training undertaken by the student since 2015, including completions and non-completions. As such, a student’s USI transcript is a valid way to authenticate the training undertaken by a student, comparable to calling the issuing RTO.

RTOs can directly view a USI transcript online via the USI transcript Service ( for any student who has activated permission for them to do so in the USI Registry System. Students are able to activate this permission online at any time using a smartphone or any internet connected device (theirs or their RTOs). This represents an acceptable alternative to calling the issuing organisation.

RTOs should still exercise caution when using a student’s USI transcript to validate training achievements for purposes of granting credit:

  • Exercise the same caution with printed or emailed PDF versions of a USI transcript provided by a student as you would with hard-copy certificates issued by RTOs.
  • The version accessible online directly by RTOs provides a stronger level of assurance, suitable for credit transfer purposes.
  • Always contact the organisation that delivered the training if you have any reason to be concerned about the authenticity of credentials presented.
  • Advise the USI Office if you become aware of any fraudulent activity in relation to a USI transcript.
  • As the availability of the USI transcript is dependent on the AVETMISS reporting cycle, you may have to rely on the hard copy of certificates issued by RTOs to validate training undertaken recently.

Guidance for applicants for initial registration

Organisations applying to become RTOs should ensure they have policies and protocols in place to meet the requirements of this Standard and arrangements in place to train staff in the requirements.
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