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TAFE vs Uni: the great debate

Decisions, decisions.  It’s a big one, TAFE vs university, and it can be quite confusing.  To help you make an informed choice, here’s some of the reasons why TAFE could work for you.

Firstly it depends on what career you want to pursue.  If you hope to be a doctor, then a university medical school is a pretty clear cut decision.  If you want to pursue a trade, then a TAFE building and construction course is going to be perfect.  However if you are one of those people in the grey, where both TAFE and university are both looking okay, then it can be a rather tricky conundrum.

TAFE is attractive for many people due to its accessibility.  You don’t need an ATAR to get a place at TAFE.  You don’t even need to have finished high school*.  Not just that, but TAFE can also be used as a pathway into university.  If you plan to do this, it’s worth checking how you can use your TAFE studies as credits to save money and time at university.

It’s also cheaper in most cases.  In a climate of rapidly escalating university costs, it’s assuring to know that your TAFE fees will remain the same due to the State Government’s fee freeze promise.

Studies have indicated TAFE graduates get better salaries and have better job prospects.  Why? TAFE courses focus on skills, so you can walk into the workplace and know how to get the job done, rather than a university graduate is more likely to need on-the-job training. 

Not only will you make more money in the first few years, but you’ll be earning sooner.  In most cases, students graduate from TAFE faster than university.  A TAFE qualification can take six months to two years full time, whereas at university it’s usually a three year minimum (full time) to complete a degree.  However, it’s important to know the TAFE education year is longer, running from February to December, compared to university’s calendar of March to November.

In a climate where many jobs won’t exist in the next 15 years, it’s important to be strategic in your career decision.  Many of the jobs expected to see high growth are taught at TAFE, such as healthcare, social assistance, science and IT.

At the end of the day, success is largely determined by hard work, completing your studies and getting good grades.  There are pros and cons to every decision.  You simply have to make the choice that best suits you… good luck!

* It does help to have finished high school as it will give you the literacy and numeracy level required to study. Find out more on our OLNA page.

Page last updated May 20, 2019