Frequently Asked Questions

At Open Colleges, we offer flexible, accessible, affordable online courses to help students upskill their way to a brighter future.


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What is Vocational Training

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Payment options

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Studying online

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Work placement

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Assessments & Qualifications

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International Students

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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

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Why should I choose to study with Open Colleges? icon

We give you the flexibility and support you need, while providing you with high-quality courses developed by vocational experts. There are no campuses to attend, no set timetables, no exams, no group work, and no assessment due dates. You'll graduate with job-ready skills and a nationally recognised qualification that you can use anywhere in Australia. You can trust us! We've been providing Australians with distance education for over 125 years. We maintain a legacy of staying ahead of the curve with technology and innovation.

Are the courses nationally recognised? icon

Yes, they are! Open Colleges offers nationally recognised Certificates and Diplomas under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). This means that our Certificates and Diplomas meet specific national standards and have been developed in consultation with industry experts to provide the most workplace relevant training. Qualifications from Open Colleges also carry the same level of recognition as courses delivered on-campus in a classroom setting. So, when you study with OC, you can rest assured that you are receiving quality education.

Are your courses self-paced? icon

Yes, they are! With Open Colleges, you’re in charge. There are no exams, or set timetables, so you can learn at your own pace. This means that if you have the time, you can dedicate more hours a week to studying and finish your course earlier. Or you can choose to study without pressure over a longer period of time.

Are you only online? icon

The majority of our courses are entirely online, which offers our students the freedom and flexibility they need to succeed. However, we do have two state-of-the-art health campuses in WA and Adelaide. These are our Open Colleges School of Health courses, which offer blended learning (online study and hands on practical placement).

When can I start my course? icon

Anytime you like! The majority of our courses are ready to be enrolled in right now.There's no need to wait for a certain date or a new semester to start – just enrol, login, and start learning.

*Courses offered by the Open Colleges School of Health, which are campus based, do have specific intake dates, so please check the course page for more information.

Can I finish the course faster than the duration? icon

Absolutely! Go for it. The sooner you finish your course, the sooner you can get into your exciting new career.

What if I dont finish the course in time, can I extend the duration? Is there a fee? icon

We recognise that our students may, due to personal circumstances, require additional time to complete their course. If a student requires more time to complete their course, then prior to the expiry of the Maximum Duration, they can apply for an extension to their Maximum Duration, for up to a maximum of 6 months (Course Extension).
For more information, please read our Extension & Deferral Policy.

Are there any prerequisites for my course? icon

Many of our courses have no formal education entry requirements, other than English language, literacy and numeracy skills. Check your to see if the course you are interested in has any additional requirements or required equipment etc. in order to be successful with your studies.

If I don't like the course I am studying, can I transfer to another course instead? icon

Within the first 3 months of your studies, you are able to transfer to a different course for a fee of $150. If you decide to transfer within the first 7 days of your course, we will waive the transfer fee.
Please note, if the course fee is higher than your original course, you will need to pay the difference.

Does Open Colleges offer Government Funding? icon

Some Open Colleges courses are approved for Austudy/Abstudy assistance, provided you are eligible to receive these payments. Our Enrolment Consultants will be able to give you further general information. Call them today on 1300 853 033. We also recommend you make enquiries with Centrelink about your specific circumstances.

What is Vocational Training

What is Vocational Education and Training (VET)? icon

VET courses teach you targeted and practical skills, offering a faster job-focused pathway to a career.

What's the difference between Vocational Education and Training (VET) and University? icon

Where university degrees tend to focus more on theory, giving you a large general knowledge base in your chosen field, VET courses teach you job-ready skills. VET courses will offer a work-placement component as part of your studies, where you get to go into the workforce and learn by doing.

What's the difference between Open Colleges and TAFE? icon

Technical and Further Education (TAFE) is a government-owned college system that provides education and official diplomas and certificates. They also tend to specialise in classroom delivery rather than online. Registered Training Organisations (RTO), on the other hand, (like Open Colleges) are private colleges that provide nationally recognised training services. One of the benefits of studying with OC, is that we don’t have set schedules like a TAFE. We offer nationally recognised online courses so you can study anywhere, anytime

Why should I choose a VET course? icon

VET courses are designed to prepare you for an ever-changing workforce, as you learn job-ready skills.

VET graduates have a higher employment rate than university graduates and can even earn more as a starting salary, upon graduating, as well as teaching real-life skills. 

If you’re interested in a career that combines theory and practical work, and a rewarding career that will help you make a difference, VET is the right choice for you.

What sort of career can a VET course offer me? icon

VET courses are unique in that they are designed to provide you with the exact skills you need to do a specific job. For example, a Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy could see you walk straight into work as a beauty therapist; a Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care will give you the skills you need to work as an educator in a childcare centre or family day care centre. So you’ll be ready to start a new career, go for that promotion or re-enter the workforce as soon as you complete your course.

How long does it take to complete a VET course? icon

VET courses generally range in duration from 12 months to 2 years, depending on the type of course you choose to study. In comparison, a standard undergraduate Bachelor degree at university is at least 3 years, full-time study.

Payment options

Do you offer payment plans? icon

Yes, we do! By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges' payment plans are interest-free.

If I pay in full upfront, will I save on course fees? icon

Yes! If choose to pay your course fees in full upon enrolment, you'll receive a discount.

What is the cooling off period? icon

We offer a 7-day cooling off period. This starts on the date when the following enrolment conditions are all met: (a) the student has signed the Student Agreement; (b) the student has paid their deposit (as a minimum); (c) OC has sent the student’s OpenSpace log in details. If a student submits a cancellation request during the cooling off period, then OC will refund any course fees the student has paid, less the applicable administrative fee.
For more information, please read our Cancellation and Refunds Policy.

Studying online

How is online learning different from classroom-based courses offered by other education institutions? icon

Firstly, with online study there is no need to be present on campus so you can study anywhere you want! All you need to do is simply log on to our online campus OpenSpace to get access to all your learning materials and assessment tasks.
Secondly, there are no set deadlines! Our courses are structured so that you’re able to build your knowledge and skills at your own pace, provided you finish by your course expiry date.

I haven’t studied in a long time. How do I know if online is right for me? icon

If you’re new to study, or haven’t studied in a long time, then it’s understandable that online study might seem a bit daunting.

But there’s no need to worry – studying online is suitable for almost everyone. All you need is access to a computer and an internet connection.

We provide all of your learning materials and assessments via our online campus, OpenSpace, so everything is ready for you in one place.

If you have any administrative questions, need some help with managing your time or want some study tips, you can contact our helpful Student support team.

Do I need a laptop for this course or can i do it on my tablet? icon

With the introduction of our custom-designed learning platform, OpenSpace provides you with a user-friendly interface, that is mobile responsive. This means that you can complete your coursework using your laptop, iPad/tablet, or mobile device.
All coursework is automatically saved, providing you with the flexibility you need to complete your studies anywhere, anytime. OpenSpace is a fun and engaging platform designed with you, the student, in mind.
It also offers text to speech capability, so you can have your study materials read out loud while you go about your daily business.
*Some courses do have specific technical requirements, so please check your course page for further information.

Do I have to attend Zoom/interactive classes? icon

Nope! Here's why:
We allow our students to be fully in charge of their studies, without the pressure of attending surprise Zoom meetings. So, if you don’t like speaking during crowded video meetings, you’re in luck. Although, we do offer webinars on some of our courses. These online seminars provide you with expert advice, training, and the direction you need to fully engage with your learning content.

Will I receive the same accreditation from Open Colleges that I would get through other education providers like TAFE or OTEN? icon

Yes. Open Colleges is a Registered Training Organisation (or RTO) under the Australian Training Framework. We are registered with the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA), which means that our accredited courses provide you with exactly the same qualification you would receive if you studied a course at a TAFE or any other RTO in Australia.

TAFEs are government funded training providers, whereas RTO like Open Colleges are privately owned training providers.

Work placement

What is work placement? icon

Many of our courses involve work placement (Structured Workplace Learning). This means that during your course you will complete some of your learning activities (and be assessed) in a real-world setting, giving you the chance to develop and demonstrate the skills and knowledge you have been learning in your course. Work placement helps you develop contacts that could assist you on your future job search. Many students tell us that work placement is the most fulfilling aspect of their course.

How does it work? icon

Students are responsible for finding their own placement, but we're here to make sure you have a great experience.

First, you need to find a workplace in Australia that has been approved by Open Colleges and has a suitably qualified supervisor. You can do this by searching our database of approved workplaces, or by reaching out to your network of family, friends, and colleagues.

Once you've found a placement, we'll help you work on a series of tasks and activities under the guidance of your supervisor. You'll also need to keep a logbook and attendance report. We'll check on your progress and may also ask you to create a workplace portfolio.

We know that finding a work placement can be a bit daunting, but we're here to help every step of the way.

Can I do my work placement with my existing employer? icon

If you are already in an aligned role in your industry, your work placement component may be able to be completed with your employer (with their agreement).  This will be dependent on whether the full requirements of Structured Workplace Learning can be completed there.  If they cannot then you would need to complete some hours elsewhere. Whether you can complete your work placement there will also depend on whether a suitably qualified supervisor is available.  All supervisors must be approved by Open Colleges.

Where can I find more information about work placement before committing to a course? icon

The course guide contains specific details about the work placement requirements for the relevant particular course. You can download these documents by going to the particular course page and filling in your contact details - this will give you immediate access to your guide.

You can also read our Work Placement Policy, located under the Student Information page of our website.

You can also call our friendly enrolment consultants on 1300 853 033. They can help you with any questions you may have about work placement (prior to enrolment) or studying with Open Colleges.

Are there any checks or vaccinations I need to get before I start my work placement? icon

We recommend checking with your host organisation first. Here are a few standard ones you might come across:

  • National Police Checks:  All students will need to undergo a Police Records Check (National Police Check) before applying for a work placement.
  • Working with Children Checks:  You need this check if you are going to be working with children during your placement. The requirements for getting this check are different for each state.
  • Screenings and Vaccinations:  If you’re planning to do your placement in a healthcare organisation, you will need to be screened and vaccinated before you start any work.

The requirements that you’ll need to meet will be set by your individual host organisation, and you’ll be responsible for ensuring these are all in place before the start of your work placement. Not having these in place may delay your work placement or impact your ability to secure a work placement.

We recommend that you consider the general requirements early in your course, so you have time to obtain any necessary checks and vaccinations.

Will Open Colleges organise my work placement? icon

We encourage our students to source their own placement, as a part of the learning process. But we are here to provide support and guidance before, during and after your placement.

Assessments & Qualifications

What are the assessments like? icon

We strive to provide a superior learning experience. So, depending on the course you choose to study, your learning will be assessed through a combination of activities designed to enhance your knowledge. You will also receive support from our dedicated trainers who can assist with all your educational needs via phone or email.

What should I do if I don't understand the assignment requirements? icon

If you get stuck with an assessment or have a question related to the learning material, your Trainers and Assessors are available to give you guidance and feedback. Contact our Student Support team and they'll help you set up an appointment to discuss your questions or concerns. 

If I complete the qualification early, what happens if I still have money owing? icon

Firstly, congratulations if you complete your qualification early!

As an OC student, your course fees need to be paid in full before we can issue your certificate/transcript. Then you can begin your exciting new career.

If I need to resubmit an assessment, will I need to pay a fee? icon

No, we don’t charge our students for the resubmission of assessments. For the third (and each subsequent) submission of any assessment (including portfolios) where a student has been graded as ‘Not Yet Satisfactory’ students will have 1 resubmission attempt after the initial submission. But don’t worry, this does not apply to multiple choice assessments/ quizzes! We take pride in ensuring you aren’t alone during your studies. If you require some clarification or feedback on your course materials or assessments, please reach out to your Trainer who is ready to help guide you through. Please check the schedule of administrative fees for more details.

What do I get when I complete my course? icon

If you have studied for a nationally recognised qualification, you will receive a digital Certificate, an Academic Transcript, and a Student Assessment Record showing your grades for all assessment tasks.

If you did not study for a nationally recognised qualification, you will receive an Open Colleges certificate.

International Students

I am an international student. Can I study with Open Colleges? icon

You can only study with OC if you are an Australian citizen, a permanent resident of Australia, or a New Zealand citizen (but NOT a New Zealand permanent resident).

If I'm an Australian who is currently living overseas, can I study with Open Colleges? icon

Yes, you can study the online component, but your work placement must be completed in Australia.

Can I study with Open Colleges if I am in Australia on a student visa? icon

Unfortunately, no.

I'm a New Zealand citizen living in Australia, can i study at Open Colleges? icon

Kia ora! Yes, you can!

I'm a New Zealander still living in New Zealand, can i study with Open Colleges? icon

Kia ora! Yes, but your work-placement needs to be completed in Australia.

Note: you must be an NZ citizen (not a permanent resident of NZ).

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

What is your credit transfer and RPL process? icon

We recognise that our students may have studied previously or have significant work experience in a particular field. If so, you may be eligible for credit towards a new course, allowing you to finish your study sooner.
Please read our Credit Transfer & Recognition of Prior Learning Policy for more information.

What documents do I need to apply for Recognised Prior Learning (RPL)? icon

You can use a variety of documentation to apply for RPL.

This includes, but is not limited to: records of completed training, assessment items, assessment records, declarations from your employer, and/or a copy of your student records provided by ASQA.

You can download the complete Recognition of Prior Learning policy from our Student Information page. Contact our Student Recruitment Support team on 1300 650 011 for a personalised RPL kit and fee schedule.

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