Before deciding on a qualification make sure you understand the difference between vocational (VET) education and qualifications provided by universities.
Deciding on a qualification
Before you look at OHS programs there are a few questions your need to think about:
- Do I want to work as an OHS practitioner or OHS professional?
- Do I want to study in the VET system or at university?
- What level qualification do I want to study?
- What might be my specialty area?
- What learning mode suits me best?
Practitioner or professional?
Before selecting an OHS program you need to decide if you want to work as an OHS practitioner or OHS professional.
See the Q & A University or VET for an explanation of the difference between Practitioner and Professional
VET or University?
Practitioners study through the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system while OHS professionals study through a university.
See the Q & A University or VET for an explanation of the difference VET and university qualifications
Another important factor in your decision about VET or university is your previous education and qualifications.
All universities have entrance requirements. At the Bachelor level this will relate to school results for school-leavers. Most universities have different requirements for mature age students which may include some Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). You will need to find out these requirements from the individual university. Universities with accredited programs are limited in the amount of RPL they can give as they must still meet the requirements of an eligible program.
Entrance to post graduate study, Graduate Diploma or Masters requires a bachelor degree which may be in any discipline although some universities require a science-related bachelor. Some universities have special entry provisions and may take in students to a Graduate Certificate program who may then proceed to further study if they obtain a specified level of results. Students who enter university study through this route should ensure they understand the requirements of university study both in time commitment and level of skills in reading academic literature, writing to university level (this is different to writing reports for work) and in critical thinking. University learners also have to be self- motivated and self-directed learners.
Certification as an OHS practitioner requires completion of a VET Diploma in OHS while certification as a generalist OHS professional requires completion of an OHS qualification at the Bachelor degree, Graduate Diploma or Masters level. There are some exceptions to these qualification requirements. For information on OHS professional certification see https://sia.org.au/certification .
These qualification levels, including expected duration, are described in the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) which establishes the requirements for education and training qualifications in Australia. The detail of this framework is given at www.aqf.edu.au. The Accreditation Board has worked with OHS educators and OHS professionals to develop OHS Professional Capability Statements. These statements are referenced to the learning outcomes for the various qualification levels under the Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) and describe what an OHS graduate should be able to do. Potential students should review these capability statements as part of identifying the qualification best suited to their needs.