No matter what your career goals, a diploma course can be a great stepping stone to help you get there. But what exactly is a diploma? How long does it take? And what's the difference between a diploma and a degree? We break down everything you need to know so you can find out if a diploma course is right for you.

What is a diploma?

A diploma is a nationally-recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualification. VET courses are a type of higher education that give you practical skills and knowledge you can put into practice straight away. Diplomas are very different to traditional school or university study that covers abstract ideas and assesses you using grades. That's why many people who struggled at school or university find that a diploma course better suits their learning style.


How long is a diploma?

The length of your diploma depends on whether you're studying full time, part time, or online. However most diploma courses usually take between one and two years to complete. Some diplomas could even be considered short courses, with accelerated study modes reducing their duration to as little as six months.


Can I study a diploma online?

TAFE Queensland offers a wide range of online diplomas in popular study areas including business, community services, project management, and information technology. Studying online allows you to study when and where you want and fit your higher level studies around your other commitments. 

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What's the difference between a diploma and a degree?

You might have heard that TAFE courses such as diplomas better prepare people for the workforce when compared to degrees. That's because VET qualifications are taught using competency-based learning. While university degrees tend to focus on broad topics, VET courses are broken down into individual skills or competencies. Students are assessed on each competency as they complete it, rather than being graded on their ability to perform well in an exam.


Can a diploma get me into university?

Completing a diploma is a common alternative pathway into university. Unlike uni, you don't have to meet strict academic criteria to enrol in a diploma course. But that doesn't mean your studies at TAFE aren't valued. In fact, most universities will consider your diploma as equivalent to the first year of study in a related bachelor degree.

There are two ways a diploma can help you get into university:

QTAC selection rank

Completing a diploma can help you improve your QTAC selection rank and allow you to meet your university entrance requirements. Your diploma qualification may also count as credit towards your chosen degree, saving you time and money. 

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Diploma-to-degree pathways

TAFE Queensland offers a number of diploma-to-degree pathways with Australia's leading universities. You'll get guaranteed entry into selected university degrees and complete two qualifications in the same time it usually takes to complete one. 

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Search diploma courses

With nearly 100 diploma courses available across 15 study areas we have a diploma course to suit your needs. With a diploma you can get into your dream job, boost your career prospects and earning potential, make the switch into a new industry, or continue your studies at university.

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