You must have encountered TAFE when looking for courses in New South Wales. TAFE is an acronym of Technical and Further Education, and many institutions offering this tertiary option for those looking to achieve vocational skills for certain fields and industries.

The teaching and learning methods are usually different as TAFE courses emphasize more on practice learning. With TAFE courses, you can get practical and technical skills letting you enter and thrive in your desired career fields.

In NSW, TAFE courses are generally operated by TAFE NSW that is regulated by the Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business is responsible for TAFE NSW.

However, there are Private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) which may offer the same course via their private institution. It’s important to check their RTO number when choosing this option.

A Brief History of TAFE in NSW

The roots of technical education date back to 1883 when the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts was founded in NSW. It was dubbed as the first technical class taught by eminent civil and mechanical engineer, Norman Salfe.

The existence of TAFE in New South Wales was triggered by the surging need for vocational education in the 1930s as well as high unemployment rate. In 1970, the foundation of the Technical and Further Education Commission (TAFEC) alongside the Commonwealth funding was a significant moment in Technical Education which is known as TAFE.

Today, nearly 500,000 students have opted for TAFE courses in NSW from certificate to degree level.

TAFE Qualifications in New South Wales

TAFE courses in NSW are particularly designed to make you learn the specific skills and knowledge needed for a job. The qualification level in TAFE generally ranges from Certificate I through to Certificate IV or advanced diploma, determined by your subject area and career field.

 Certificate I:

This level of the course equips the students with basic work knowledge or acts as an entry-level course for further education. 

Certificate II:

This qualification is associated with the advanced level of the Certificate I.

Certificate III:

Students at the level will gain practical and theoretical knowledge as well as the skills required for work or further learning.

Certificate IV:

The Certificate IV comprehensively covers all concepts and is meant for advanced preparation.


TAFE diploma is designed to educate you on advanced skills and in-depth knowledge for your chosen career field.

Advanced Diploma:

This qualification covers the syllabus required for further learning.

Benefits of TAFE Courses in New South Wales

Job-Ready Courses:

While university courses are likely to be academic or theory centred, TAFE courses are generally more hands-on and are designed to providing students with the workplace skills and training required by the employers. Most TAFE courses help students train outside the classroom. After all, they are crated with industry needs in mind.

Variety of Courses to Choose From:

TAFE courses help excel in various career fields, including healthcare, cosmetics, aged care, child care, community services, business management, finance, trade and more. This way, you can easily choose your TAFE course.

Ease of Accessibility:

Many TAFE courses in NSW are online, meaning that you can access them from anywhere, anytime. This is a great positive of TAFE for the candidates being bogged down their job and other commitments.


TAFE courses are generally affordable than those available at universities.

Pathways into the Higher Education:

TAFE courses can also help you get enrolled in the courses at the universities. Some universities give relaxation of two to three semesters to the TAFE students in their certain academic programs. Make sure to check the pathways and credit arrangements with educational institutions.

Shorter Length of Study:

The length of study is usually shorter in TAFE courses compared to those available at the universities. Completion of university courses takes at least three or four years, while TAFE course can be completed anywhere between 6 months and 3 years.