Open Colleges

Is it possible to study a trade online?

by Chloe Baird
Posted: August 12, 2021

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Online learning has become the new normal.  

While distance education is nothing new, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools and universities to close their doors temporarily and find alternative solutions to teaching.  

Open Colleges has been leading the way in distance education for more than 125 years. We pride ourselves on always staying up to date with the latest trends and technology, which is how we’ve managed to enjoy over a century of success.  

But if you’re looking to study a trade online, such as building and constructionhorticulture or even animal studies, how do you accomplish that?  

skilled tradies

Is there demand for skilled trades in Australia? 

Indeed defines a skilled trade as a position pursued by an employee who either receives schooling to learn a specific skill set for their desired position or they gain these needed skills during on-the-job training. 

In Australia we’re currently looking at a skilled trades shortage right now. Apprenticeship and traineeship numbers have been steadily dropping since 2012. The result is a skills shortage, with some industries worse off than others.  

The government has now tried to help bridge the skills gap by pledging $110 billion towards infrastructure projects as part of the 2020-21 budget.  

Learning a trade can be a great way to set you on a reliable career path that has plenty of benefits to offer. If you’ve been wondering what the next step in your career should be, then maybe you could consider studying a trade. 

Studying a VET course to learn a trade 

The difference between most VET qualifications and a university degree is that VET certificates and diplomas aim to teach students job-ready, in-demand, practical skills. University degrees most often focus on the theory side of things.  

Most VET qualifications aim to equip students with the skills and knowledge they need to begin a particular job (or access the next level of the career ladder). For this reason, most trades will require job seekers to have obtained a qualification already or to prove that they’re currently studying.  

While some industries don’t make it a legal requirement for you to begin work without a qualification, obtaining an accredited certification can help make your resume stand out.  


Can I study a trade online? 

The short answer is yes!  

Open Colleges has a range of different VET trade courses that are recognised nationally. These courses are offered online, which means you can study whenever you want, wherever you are. From building and construction to beauty, we have a number of trades courses available online. 

Land a high paying job without a university degree 

Studying a VET course online and learning a trade could lead you to a lucrative career path in the future.  

For example, did you know that on an average VET graduates earn slightly more than university graduates? The average full-time starting salary for a VET graduate is $56,000, while the average starting salary for students completing a bachelor degree is $54,000.

VET graduates also have a higher employment rate than university graduates. That’s right – more than 78% of VET graduates are employed after training, while the rate of employment for uni graduates sits at 69%.

The benefits of online study 

If you’re considering studying an online course, here are a few points that might help. 

1. Online study is flexible 

Studying online means that you’re not tied to a bricks and mortar classroom. Instead, you can study wherever you want – whether that’s from the comfort of your own home, your favourite café or your local park.  

2. Online study works for your schedule 

With an online course, you can fit your study around your life – not the other way around. Instead of trying to work to someone else’s schedule, ensuring that your assessments are completed by the set deadline and making sure you’re getting to class on time every day, you have the freedom to choose when and where you study. 

3. Obtaining an online qualification says a lot about you 

Flexibility, freedom and convenience does come at a cost: studying online means that you and only you are your responsible for your progression and, ultimately, whether or not you graduate from your course. While Open Colleges does offer a multi-tiered support system for all its students, at the end of the day, it always comes down to how hard the student is willing to work to succeed.  

However, studying online does say to employers that you have a range of very desirable skills and traits.

Namely, that you: 

  • are responsible are accountable 
  • have great time management and organisational skills 
  • have the motivation and self-discipline to complete set tasks without supervision. 

Beauty consultant

4. Online study gives you plenty of options 

Modern technology has broken down some of the barriers that prevented people from pursuing certain careers or courses in the past, the biggest being distance.  

Online study means you have many more options to choose from when it comes to finding an education provider, giving you the luxury of choice without worrying about commute times. 

5. Studying online lets you learn through different mediums 

At Open Colleges, we ensure that all our students learn through a variety of mediums. These can include simulated scenarios, immersive course content, industry memberships and professional kits and equipment. 

Are you thinking of studying a trade online? 

At OC, all our courses are designed by vocational experts in consultation with industry professionals. This means that you’ll be learning in-demand, practical skills and knowledge employers are looking for today. 

At first glance, it might seem like studying a trade course online might be a real challenge. But we’ve designed our online courses in such a way as to offer you flexibility, convenience and expert knowledge courtesy of our certified Trainers and Assessors. 

So whether you’re just starting out or thinking of changing careers, a trade qualification can lead to a versatile, outdoor career that offers so much more than a standard 9 to 5 role. 

What are you waiting for? Enrol in an online trades course today. 


Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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