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When looking into training programs in any field it is important that you understand the differences between studying with a Registered Training Organization (RTO) and choosing to undertake training with an unregistered training body.   Many unregistered training facilitators are certified or recognised by a national professional association within the industry keep in mind this alone is not an indicator of a quality training program.

The certification that non-accredited organizations can offer does not adhere to the strict guidelines and designs set by government organizations that regulate the quality of Australian training programs. Guidelines are put into place to ensure that a high standard and quality is maintained throughout the industry.   

Only a registered training organization (RTO) can offer and deliver accredited courses that lead to nationally recognized qualifications. The course must be within the RTO’s scope of registration. An RTO can issue a nationally recognized qualification or statement of attainment once an accredited course that is within its scope of registration has been completed.    

When you are certified from an RTO qualification you will receive lasts a lifetime ensures you a respected place in the industry and giving you that professional boost toward a successful career.


Why study with a course accredited with ASQA?  

Accreditation with ASQA is a formal confirmation that the course is:  

·         is nationally recognized

·         meets an established industry, enterprise, educational, legislative or community need

·         provides appropriate competency outcomes and a satisfactory basis for assessment

·         meets national quality assurance requirements

·         where it leads to a qualification, is aligned appropriately to the Australian Qualifications Framework.  

Accreditation also means that participants in the course may be eligible:  

·         for Austudy, Abstudy and other entitlements

·         to access an occupational licensing or regulatory outcome.  

Courses that ASQA accredits, or that ASQA inherits regulatory responsibility for, are termed VET accredited courses.

These courses are accredited in accordance with the:  

·         Standards for VET Regulators 

·         Standards for VET Accredited Courses.  

Applications for courses that duplicate the outcomes of an existing Training Package qualification will not be granted accreditation.    

From VETAB to ASQA, What has changed?

The National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 has established a new approach to national regulation of the vocational education and training (VET) sector in Australia. While the approach is new, most of the regulatory requirements have not changed at all. Part of the new approach is the creation of a national regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), which is responsible for registering training organisations and accrediting courses.  

If a training organisation operates (or intends to operate) in a participating jurisdiction, or otherwise qualifies under the national scheme, ASQA will now be the body responsible for that organisation’s registration and for accrediting its courses.   Read more about ASQA’s jurisdiction during the transition to national regulation.  

ASQA will undertake its role by assessing relevant organiations against the conditions of registration found in the new national legislation, the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011 (in Part 2, Division 1, sections 21–30).   One of the core conditions of registration is that relevant applicants and RTOs comply with the requirements set out in the new VET Quality Framework. The Act also provides for Standards for VET Accredited Courses, which are in addition to the VET Quality Framework.   National VET regulation and Accreditation. 


Here is an article found in the August 8th 2011 Australian Counseling Association Newsletter written by the associations CEO Phillip Armstrong.


Why does ACA only recognise courses from Registered Training Organisations (RTO)?  

Some members have asked why ACA only recognises courses delivered by RTO’s and providers of Higher Education, and what the difference is between an RTO and a non-RTO. In a nutshell, the difference is similar that of being a registered ACA counsellor and a non-registered counsellor. With a registered counsellor the consumer, government and industry know what they are getting. With a non-registered counsellor they are gambling as they could essentially be getting anything along the spectrum of good to worse.  

A registered counsellor is required to pass an audit for by an independent industry arbitrator (ACA) and agree to abide by a set of transparent standards and ethics, thus becoming accountable to the consumer, government and industry as well as an industry peak body. A non-registered counsellor is not independently assessed as meeting any standards and is not accountable to anyone but themselves.  

In essence a non-registered counsellor may not have any recognised qualifications and practices to their own set of standards and ethics. Credentialing and auditing requirements ensure the consumer’s interests come first by making the registered counsellor accountable to an industry established set of transparent benchmarks which in most cases include ongoing education and supervision requirements. I asked one of the members of the ACA accreditation team the same question and received the following answer.          

RTOs and providers of higher education undergo stringent approval processes to achieve registration with Government authorities in the vocational and/or higher education sectors. To maintain their registration, RTOs and providers of higher education are required to comply with strict governance, quality, continuous improvement and course review processes to ensure their courses, and delivery of training and education, is at a consistently high standard and continually improved. RTOs and providers of higher education must also report regularly (often annually) to Government authorities on their performance, including student feedback and outcomes, financial results, investment in resources and facilities, and continuous improvements.

Both RTOs and providers of higher education also undergo regular auditing by Government authorities, and must be adequately insured.   The stringent processes involved to obtaining and maintaining provider registration, along with achieving and maintaining course accreditation, provide assurance to ACA that the RTO or provider of higher education delivers high quality counselling programs and educational services that are monitored and reviewed independently on a regular basis. I have made further comments on this issue in an article that will be published in ACA’s journal “Counselling Australia” in the September edition.     

Please visit www.theaca.net.au for further information on this article.


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